United States’ incumbent President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who pled guilty to lying to the country’s Federal Bureau of Investigation during the inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, reported Reuters.
In a tweet on Thursday, Trump announced the decision, saying it was “great honour” for him to grant Flynn a full pardon.
Earlier this week, Trump had reportedly told his aides that he was planning to pardon Flynn and that it was “one of a string of pardons” he planned to issue before leaving office, according to The New York Times.
A retired Army general, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about interactions he had had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks leading up to Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. He has since sought to withdraw the plea, arguing that prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement. His sentencing has been deferred several times.
Flynn served as Trump’s first national security adviser but was sacked after only 24 days for lying to Vice President Mike Pence as a controversy erupted over his contact with then Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
Trump’s decision grant the pardon has drawn criticism from various quarters.
“This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy,” House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi termed the decision “an act of grave corruon and a brazen abuse of power.”