04:22 GMT17 January 2021
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    On 25 November, Donald Trump announced that he was honoured to issue a full pardon to General Michael Flynn, his former aide, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the content of his sit-downs with the then-Russian envoy to the US in 2016. The White House has since referred to the pardon as one for "an innocent man".

    Former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn has commented on his recent full pardon. The remarks came during a Thursday broadcast hosted by Fox Business' Lou Dobbs, with Flynn blasting his case as "political persecution of the highest order".

    He went on to note that he hardly expected the current justice system to "work properly", arguing the moment for Trump's move was just "right in time".

    "As my family and I, particularly my wife and I talked about it and honestly prayed over it, we came to the conclusion that this was the right moment in time to do this - that the justice system that we were facing was just not going to function properly", he said.

    "And it was very, very obvious that that was going to be the case".

    While expressing his team's gratitude to POTUS, the general went on to note the charges he faced were in no way impartial or evidence-based:

    "… We also know that this was a political persecution of the highest order and not something that any American should ever have to go through", he told Fox News.

    Flynn says he blames the former administration, not President Trump.

    "I think at the end of the day, people want me to say something or, you know, for years, you know, do you — are you upset with President Trump? Are you upset with the White House? And the answer is no — and the reason why [is] because this was a setup from the beginning, and it really — where accountability lies is it lies in the previous administration".

    Trump pardoned Flynn last week, just ahead of Thanksgiving Day, after his attorney, Sidney Powell, had asked the president to do so.

    The White House later that day sent out a statement saying that Flynn "should never have been prosecuted" and that the pardon ends "the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man".

    Legal Saga Ushered in by Mueller Investigation

    Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump's inauguration in January 2017.

    The former national security aide said during his interview with the FBI that he and Kislyak had not discussed sanctions recently imposed on Russia over the emerging allegation of election interference by the outgoing Obama administration. 

    Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, leaves the federal court with his lawyer Sidney Powell, left, following a status conference with Judge Emmet Sullivan, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019
    © AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta
    Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, leaves the federal court with his lawyer Sidney Powell, left, following a status conference with Judge Emmet Sullivan, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019

    According to the case materials, during that conversation, Flynn urged Kislyak for Russia to be "even-keeled" in response to the punitive measures and assured him "we can have a better conversation" about relations between the two countries after Trump was sworn in.

    Despite White House officials stating publicly that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed the sanctions, the conversation landed in the FBI's crosshairs at the time, which coincided with a probe into the allegations of the Trump team "coordinating" its efforts with Russia to sway the outcome of the election.

    In January 2020, Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that the bargain came in violation of his constitutional rights, and accusing US agents of tricking him into lying.

    Flynn's prosecution, which the Justice Department moved to halt this year citing an insufficient "legitimate investigative basis", came under scrutiny after the release of FBI documents suggesting a plot to get him to lie. "What is our goal?", read one of the FBI's published notes. "Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?", it went on.

    On top of this, according to documents released in July and provided to Flynn's legal team by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI knew that Trump's former aide was not a Russian agent, and they believed that he did not deliberately lie to them during his 2017 interview.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as released on Thursday, April 18, 2019, is photographed in Washington.
    © AP Photo / Jon Elswick
    Special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as released on Thursday, April 18, 2019, is photographed in Washington.

    The legal proceedings against Flynn, a retired army general, came amid a two-year investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into  the earlier alleged "collusion" between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 campaign - something disproven as a result of the lengthy inquiry, which POTUS repeatedly slammed the Democrats for, pejoratively calling it a "witch hunt".

     

    Related:

    Trump Bashed by Top Democrats for 'Abuse of Power' Over Pardoning Flynn
    Manafort or Bannon? Media Speculates Who Could be Pardoned Next by Trump After Flynn's Case
    DoJ Moves to Dismiss General Flynn Case as Moot Following Trump Pardon
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    national security, aide, Michael Flynn
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