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Dem leaders condemn Trump's pardon of Flynn as 'abuse of power'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 20, 2020. (AFP photo)

Democratic leaders have laid into President Donald Trump for pardoning his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, condemning his decision to do so as a "brazen" abuse of power.

On Wednesday, Trump pardoned Flynn who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over his Russian contacts.

Flynn, a key controversial figure in the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, pleaded guilty to making false statements in a charge brought by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Flynn left his White House position after just 24 days in office when he was found to have misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Russia's then-ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak. Trump announced in 2017 that he fired Flynn because he had lied to Pence and the FBI.

Pence, however, stated during a trip to Indiana in May that Flynn's actions may have been unintentional.

Since 2017, Flynn has sought to withdraw the plea, asserting prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement.

Following Trump's decision, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the move as an act of "grave corruption," saying Flynn "must be held accountable" for a "serious and dangerous breach of our national security."

“President Trump’s pardoning of Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his dealings with a foreign adversary, is an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power," Pelosi said in a statement. "Trump is again using the pardon power to protect those who lie to cover up his wrongdoing."

Also, Democratic House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff who played a key role in Trump's impeachment probe in the House last year, described the move as repeated abuse of the pardon power to "reward friends and protect those who covered up for him."

Donald Trump has repeatedly abused the pardon power to reward friends and protect those who covered up for him.

This time he pardons Michael Flynn, who lied to hide his dealings with the Russians.

It’s no surprise that Trump would go out as he came in —

Crooked to the end.

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 25, 2020

In addition, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has called Flynn's pardon "undeserved," and "unprincipled".

Nadler on Flynn:

"This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy."

— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) November 25, 2020

Following his pardon, Flynn said on Twitter that "this 'Pardon of Innocence' is historic, sincerely appreciated.”

This “Pardon of Innocence” is historic, sincerely appreciated & should never happen in our country again. I will issue a personal statement later today. My family issued one yesterday.

Thank you America 🇺🇸

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃 😀🇺🇸

1 Chronicles 16:32–34 💪🙏

— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 26, 2020

The pardon, which is among a number of pardons under consideration by the Republican president, is the highest-profile pardon issued by Trump since he took office.

In March, Trump said he was strongly considering a full pardon for Flynn, adding the FBI and Justice Department had "destroyed" Flynn's life and that of his family.

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