President Trump has pardoned Michael Flynn, bringing an end to a drawn-out legal fight over the actions of his former national security advisor.
The president tweeted the news Wednesday afternoon.
Trump has previously said he was "strongly considering" pardoning Flynn, who pleaded guilty two times to lying to investigators about connections with Russia’s ambassador during the presidential campaign in 2016. U.S. Attorney General William Barr, acting under reported pressure from the president, controversially dropped the case against Flynn last spring, a move met with widespread uproar.
Senior members of the administration, led by Trump himself, have long denied any contact with Russia during the campaign.
Flynn, a decorated lieutenant general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was an early supporter of the president’s campaign. He served as Trump’s national security advisor for less than a month before resigning under intense pressure as investigations proceeded over his contact with foreign agents.
Southern California Congressman Adam Schiff reacted to the news on Wednesday and told KCBS Radio that it's a "terrible blow against the rule of law" and a "terrible embarrassment to our democracy," saying it is "all about him rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies."
Rep. Schiff added that he would not be surprised if, on Trump's last day in office, he tries to pardon himself, which he added would be unconstitutional. It is this kind of act that Schiff is attempting to curb with a bill he has introduced that would include a series of reforms on the abuse of pardon power.
"They would say in a pardon like this, where the president is pardoning someone in a case in which the president is a witness, a subject or a target, that the entire investigative files will be turned over to the Congress so we can determine just how deep the corruption may go," he said. "It would make clear that a president cannot pardon himself...and would also make clear that the president can be prosecuted for giving a pardon as part of a bribe of some kind."
Schiff said that would makes this pardoning, as well as Roger Stone's, unprecedented compared to other cases is that "these are people who engaged in criminal activity, often to cover up for the president."
Speculation about possible presidential pardons from President Trump has swirled since it became apparent that Joe Biden had won the White House.