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Conservative explains why Trump’s primary motivation in pardoning Michael Flynn was to protect himself

November 26, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

When President Donald Trump announced, on Wednesday afternoon, November 25, that he was granting former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn a presidential pardon, many of Trump’s critics were appalled but not surprised. Trump also pardoned long-time ally and GOP operative Roger Stone, and many Trump critics believe that a pardon for his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort — who is now serving time in federal prison — is almost certain. One of Trump’s persistent critics on the right, Never Trump conservative David Frum, analyzes the Flynn pardon in an article for The Atlantic and stresses that Trump’s primary motivation was trying to save his own skin.

“Here’s the first and most important thing to understand about the crime for which President Trump just pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: Flynn did not lie to protect himself,” Frum argues. “He lied to protect Donald Trump.”

Flynn didn’t lie to just anyone — he lied to the FBI — and he lied about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, which was President Barack Obama’s last full month in office and the month before Trump was sworn in as president.

“In the first set of conversations,” Frum recalls, “Flynn urged Kislyak to oppose a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The second set occurred a week later, while Flynn was on holiday in the Dominican Republic. There, Flynn sought to convince Kislyak to persuade the Russian government not to retaliate against the United States, over a round of sanctions punishing Russia for intervening in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump.”

Frum goes on to say that in December 2016, Flynn “surely did not know what specifically he was protecting Trump against. But here’s what Flynn did know: Trump wanted to undo the sanctions President Obama had imposed on Russia. That mission would be made easier if Russia did not escalate in response to the Obama sanctions. Flynn sensed that Trump’s preferred Russia policy was based on motives that everybody around Trump recognized as dangerous, even if they could not quite define where the danger lay. So, when asked by the FBI about the conversation, Flynn acted like …read more


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