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Trump Is Said to Plan Pardon of Flynn

President Trump has told aides that he plans to issue a pardon to his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and that it is one of a string of pardons he plans to issue before leaving office, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The person cautioned that nothing is final until Mr. Trump does it.

Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with a Russian diplomat during the presidential transition in late 2016. Mr. Trump’s plans were reported earlier by Axios.

In May, the Justice Department sought to withdraw its charges against Mr. Flynn. That move has been tied up in federal court, challenged by the judge who presided over Mr. Flynn’s case, Emmet G. Sullivan.

Mr. Flynn changed his legal team last year and began seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he never lied to investigators. He has since become a hero figure on the pro-Trump right, cast as a decorated patriot victimized by a politically motivated Russia “hoax” investigation of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump himself has called Mr. Flynn “an innocent man,” saying he was targeted by Obama administration officials trying to “take down a president.”

In late September, a lawyer for Mr. Flynn told a judge that she had recently spoken to Mr. Trump, and asked him not to pardon her client.

The lawyer, Sidney Powell, has appeared alongside lawyers for Mr. Trump, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, who are pressing their unfounded case that widespread voting fraud cost Mr. Trump the presidential election. After Ms. Powell floated particularly wild theories about supposed election plots, on Sunday Mr. Giuliani and another lawyer representing the Trump campaign, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement that Ms. Powell “is not a member of the Trump legal team.”

Past departing presidents have issued pardons and commutations near the end of their terms. Former President Bill Clinton drew harsh criticism for pardoning a wealthy Democratic donor in his final White House hours. But Democrats and legal experts fear that Mr. Trump will exercise his pardon power with a brazenness that shatters past precedent.

Mr. Trump has already commuted the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr., another associate ensnared in the Russia investigation who was convicted on seven felony counts and was to begin a 40-month term in federal prison.

Word of Mr. Trump’s intentions comes on a day when Mr. Trump presided over the annual White House turkey pardon. Mr. Trump ignored shouted questions from reporters at the Rose Garden about whether he plans actual pardons before leaving office.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Source : New York Times

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