President Trump has told allies he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn before leaving office, a source close to the deliberations said.
Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about the conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He later tried to withdraw that plea ahead of sentencing, claiming he did not intentionally lie.
The charges alleged that Flynn falsely denied that during the Trump transition in December 2016, when the Obama administration announced new sanctions and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats over Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election, Flynn privately asked Kislyak to refrain from escalating the situation by retaliating.
Trump could decide to not go through with the potential pardon, which was first reported Tuesday by Axios, though he began floating the idea publicly back in March.
In late April, the 45th commander-in-chief argued that Flynn had been “essentially exonerated” of lying to the FBI after documents were released as part of a re-examination of his case, which showed the then-counterintelligence director of the bureau openly questioned whether the agency’s “goal” was to “get [Flynn] to lie.”
“He’s in the process of being exonerated if you looked at those notes from yesterday. That was total exoneration,” Trump said of the documents at the time, “These were dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI, and you know the names better than I do. And they were dishonest people.”
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the possibility of a Flynn pardon.
Also on the potential pardon list for the outgoing president are former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, whose prison sentence Trump already commuted.
He has also publicly mused about pardoning figures ranging from anti-surveillance NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to “Tiger King” Joe Exotic.
With Post wires