President’s motive for pardoning Flynn was self-serving

Flynn belongs to a special category of abuse of presidential power: the kind meant to protect the president himself.

By

Opinion

November 30, 2020 - 9:20 AM

Michael Flynn

By the time he pardoned America’s shortest-serving national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lying to federal authorities about his contacts with Vladimir Putin’s regime, President Trump had already compiled an impressive list of dodgy dispensations. From a bigoted former Arizona sheriff to a corrupt ex-governor of Illinois to a onetime 49ers owner convicted in a bribery scandal, most of these figures are connected not by any miscarriage or excess of justice — the proper rationale for such an exercise of executive authority — but by having supported the president, his cronies and their particular prejudices.

Flynn, however, belongs to a special category of abuse of this presidential power: the kind meant to protect the president himself.

In that respect, Flynn was preceded only by Roger Stone, the veteran dirty trickster and Trump adviser who would have gone to prison — also for lying to and otherwise obstructing an investigation of his communications with Russia — if the president hadn’t commuted his sentence in July. Flynn’s pardon, announced on Twitter this week, means Trump has personally intervened to rescue the first man successfully prosecuted in what became Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as well as the last, Stone’s conviction having been the probe’s final act.

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