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Trump pardons ex-adviser convicted in 'Russian case'

US President Donald Trump announced the pardon of his former security adviser Michael Flynn, who in 2017 confessed to perjury to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak. Writes about it Air force.

Photo: Shutterstock

The President of the United States traditionally announced the decision to release the former adviser from criminal liability on Twitter.

“I am honored to announce the full pardon of General Michael Flynn. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family. I know you will now have a fantastic Thanksgiving, ”wrote Trump.

Photo: twitter.com/realDonaldTrump

Flynn responded with a Bible reference and also on Twitter: "Jeremiah 1:19." This passage reads like this: "They will fight against you, but they will not prevail, because I am with you and will save you," declares the Lord.

In recent years, Trump has repeatedly hinted that he could exercise the right granted him by the constitution and announce a pardon for his ex-national security adviser.

Admitted guilt

In 2017, retired U.S. military intelligence general Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to perjury FBI agents about their negotiations with the Russian ambassador to Washington (then this post was held by Sergei Kislyak).

Flynn has agreed to work with investigators from Special Attorney Robert Mueller's team to investigate Russian interference in the US elections. Prior to this, the American intelligence services already suspected the general of possible cooperation with Moscow, and in the summer of 2016 the FBI even launched a separate investigation - checking information about Flynn's contacts with Russian military intelligence.

In addition, Flynn pleaded guilty to not registering as a foreign agent after signing a contract with representatives of the Turkish authorities in 2016.

Later, the general retracted the confessions he had already given and tried to challenge the charges brought before the court.

Who is Flynn

The retired US military intelligence lieutenant general made history as the only person to serve as the president's national security adviser for less than four weeks, from January 22 to February 13, 2017.

Michael Flynn served in the armed forces for 33 years, managed to take part in hostilities in Grenada, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2011, he was promoted to lieutenant general and a year later he was appointed director of the military intelligence agency (DIA), at the same time taking the position of chairman of the Pentagon's intelligence council.

Flynn later signed a $ 530 contract with the Turkish company Inovo BV, close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. One of the tasks assigned to the retired general was the deportation of opposition politician and preacher Fethullah Gulen to the United States.

On December 10, 2015, Flynn became the guest of honor at the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Russian state-run television channel RT in Moscow. The general was seated at the same table with President Vladimir Putin, asked to give a speech on international relations and paid 45 thousand dollars for participation.

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Trump's advisor

In February 2016, the Trump campaign hired Flynn to serve as its national security adviser. A few months later, the general was asked to think about running for vice president, he even submitted the necessary documents for registration.

As a result, Trump chose Indiana Governor Mike Pence as Vice President, and Flynn became only one of the main speakers at the meetings of the future president with his supporters. Flynn harshly criticized Barack Obama and called for the arrest of Hillary Clinton - he said that as a result of the Democratic rule, America became less secure.

In August 2016, less than four months before the presidential election, suspecting him of collaboration with Russian intelligence agencies, the FBI launched an investigation into Flynn. No evidence of this has been found.

On November 18, 2016, the retired general officially accepted the offer of the President-elect of the United States to take the position of the national security adviser to the head of state. A week earlier, during a meeting in the Oval Office, Obama advised Trump not to consider Flynn's candidacy, as his possible appointment causes him "deep concern."

Conversations with the Ambassador

Flynn first met with Kislyak back in 2013 - the ambassador then helped organize the general's visit to Moscow.

In November 2016, Flynn met Kislyak again at the Trump Tower in New York. The conversation was attended by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and it was about the possibility of organizing negotiations on actions in Syria between the Russian Ministry of Defense and Trump's transition team. Kushner suggested using the capabilities of the Russian embassy in Washington for secret negotiations, but Flynn did not approve of this idea.

After that, the retired general contacted the Russian ambassador several times, discussing, among other things, the UN recognition of the legality of Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Flynn's troubles began after President Obama announced retaliatory measures on December 29, 2016, in response to Russian interference in the elections, including the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. According to Washington, they were all employees of the Russian special services.

Trump's advisers believed the move could further complicate bilateral relations, and Flynn held several telephone conversations with Ambassador Kislyak, asking Moscow to refrain from retaliating.

On December 31, Ambassador Kislyak called Flynn back and said: Putin accepted his offer - Russia will not answer "in a mirror". Another topic for negotiations was the possible lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia after Trump's inauguration.

US intelligence agencies tracking the ambassador's phone calls informed the White House of this, but Flynn himself denied ever discussing with Kislyak the lifting of the sanctions and the consequences of the expulsion of diplomats.

He said this during a conversation with two FBI agents in January 2017. Flynn's account was then publicly echoed by Vice President Pence and several senior officials of the new administration.

In early February, the Washington Post was the first to publish an article detailing the negotiations between Flynn and Kislyak. The presidential adviser tried again to refute this information, but on February 13 he was still forced to voluntarily resign.

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Investigation

10 months after his resignation, Flynn voluntarily pleaded guilty to perjury. He also signed a confession that he violated the law when he did not inform the authorities about his work for the Turkish government.

At the same time, the former presidential adviser agreed to cooperate with Special Prosecutor Mueller's group and held a total of 19 meetings with investigators. Among other things, he talked about the attempts of the US President to interfere with the course of the investigation.

In December 2018, the special prosecutor filed a motion with the court, in which he asked to sentence Flynn to a minimum sentence for perjury and not to sentence him to prison. In support of the request, it was emphasized that the general was a valuable witness and actively cooperated with the investigation.

After that, the final verdict was postponed several times, and Flynn retracted his own confessions and tried to challenge the evidence of the prosecution.

In the spring of this year, the US Department of Justice also asked the court to dismiss the case of the former presidential adviser. Flynn himself has made loud public statements in recent years in which he supported Trump's position.

The judge has yet to respond to requests from the Department of Justice. In September, the court asked for more time to make a final decision on the retired general's case.

Trump's intervention put an end to a long process.

When the US president announced his decision to pardon Flynn, the heads of the intelligence and legal committees of the US House of Representatives, Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler, issued a statement accusing the US president of gross violation of the law.

The White House commented on the news of Flynn's pardon with optimism.

“This is a well-deserved holiday for a true American patriot,” said Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

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