Donald Trump is considering a full pardon for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about dealings with Russia’s ambassador before the president took office.
Mr Flynn attempted to withdraw the guilty plea in January, saying federal prosecutors had acted in “bad faith” and broke their end of the bargain when they sought prison time for him.
“I am strongly considering a Full Pardon,” President Trump tweeted.
So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has âlostâ the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient. I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2020
The president also cited an unspecified report that the Justice Department had lost records related to Mr Flynn’s case.
, but the relationship with the retired Army lieutenant general grew increasingly contentious after he hired a new set of lawyers.
Mr Flynn is one of six Trump aides and associates charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.
He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period and provided extensive cooperation to Mr Mueller’s team of investigators.
His attorneys raised repeated misconduct allegations against the government — which a judge has since rejected — and prosecutors have responded by calling into question whether Mr Flynn truly accepts guilt.
Last month, US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered Mr Flynn’s sentencing hearing to be cancelled “until further order of the court”.
He gave both Mr Flynn and the Justice Department more time to submit filings on Mr Flynn’s request to withdraw his guilty plea, including claims he received ineffective legal assistance from his former lawyers.
Following Mr Flynn’s attempt to withdraw his plea, the Justice Department abruptly offered a more lenient sentencing recommendation.
The latest sentencing filing still seeks a sentence of up six months, but unlike before, prosecutors explicitly state that probation would be a “reasonable” punishment and that they would not oppose it.