Ending days of speculation, President Donald Trump granted full pardon to his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was accused of lying to the FBI during the probe against Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections. Flynn was fired within 24 days of becoming part of Trump's administration following a controversy over his contacts with the then Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
Flynn's was the highest pardon granted by the US President besides being the second presidential act of clemency related to prosecutions of advisers of the President. As previously reported, Flynn allegedly had requested former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak over phone not to escalate in response to the Obama administration imposing sanctions on Russia for election interference.
Justice Department Was Not Consulted Before Granting Pardon to Flynn
On being exposed, Flynn had initially denied the allegations. He further lied about not discussing sanctions to Vice President Mike Pence who repeated that denial to the media. This raised concerns among Justice Department officials that Flynn's lies could make him a victim of blackmail from Russia. However, later in 2017, Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI as part of a plea deal with Mueller.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump announced that he has granted full pardon to Flynn. "It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!" read the tweet.
Speaking to CNN, a Justice Department official confirmed that they were not consulted about a pardon and instead were notified in advance of the President exercising his pardon power for Flynn. "The Department would have preferred to have seen the case resolved with a dismissal in court," the official added.
Social Media Compares Flynn with Turkey Pardoned on Thanksgiving
Soon after Trump announced full pardon to his former General, netizens slammed him while comparing Flynn with the turkey pardoned on Thanksgiving.
"No matter what happens in the future, Michael Flynn will always be the person who was pardoned the day AFTER the Turkey got a pardon," wrote a user.
"Is it possible the turkey's name is Michael Flynn, and we've all got it wrong?" wrote another.
"What have Corn and Michael Flynn got in common? Turkey. There's symmetry in pardoning both on the same day," quipped another.