White House Statement Suggests Flynn Has Been Pardoned ONLY For the Charge He Pled Guilty To

The White House statement on the Flynn pardon tells a lot of lies (which I’ll return to). But the important detail is its reference to a “full pardon” only references the charges Flynn pled guilty to and only his prosecution.

In fact, the Department of Justice has firmly concluded that the charges against General Flynn should be dropped.  This Full Pardon achieves that objective, finally bringing to an end the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man.

If that’s right, then Flynn is still at risk of charges for both secretly working as an agent of Turkey and his lies to Judge Sullivan.

In which case, Judge Sullivan’s job is very much not over, and the DC Circuit’s order that he proceed with dispatch about the existing charges presumably no longer applies.

98 replies
  1. Chetnolian says:

    I have just heard the statement. I really can’t wait for your next post. On first quick read I spotted six whopping lies.

  2. Desider says:

    Presumably Sullivan has some space clear on the docket for Jan 21.
    Which is less than 2 months away at this point. More popcorn?

      • J R in WV says:

        Hell, even I am extremely interested in the full text of the “pardon” — as well as hoping Rudy drew it up, so that it would have holes a good prosecutor could drive a Grand Jury through at their leisure. But I expect they won’t release the actual text of the pardon until they absolutely have to, so as to delay the actual penetration of the pardon by a Prosecution team until after Trump hits the high road out of town.

        And of course, as others more experienced than I in the law [ that would be nearly any lawyer, including Marcy who isn’t a lawyer, technically ] have said, even if the Pardon is well executed, Flynn will probably have committed more crimes before the Inauguration takes place. At this point in his life, he can’t help himself, apparently.

        I’m sure emptywheel will publish the Flynn Pardon as soon as possible… I wait with bated breath!

        • bmaz says:

          They should have to release it because you generally have to file and affirmatively assert it to kill a charge in open court. Who knows with these crackpots, but I bet Emmet Sullivan would demand that.

  3. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy. Judge Sullivan’s exchange with Flynn on December 18, 2018.

    Judge: Do you wish to challenge the circumstances on which you were interviewed by the FBI?
    Flynn: No, Your Honor.
    Judge: Do you understand that by maintaining your guilty plea and continuing with sentencing, you will give up your right forever to challenge the circumstances under which you were interviewed?
    Flynn: Yes, Your Honor.
    Judge: Do you have any concerns that you entered your guilty plea before you or your attorneys were able to review information that could have been helpful to your defense?
    Flynn: No, Your Honor.
    Judge: At the time of your January 24th, 2017 interview with the FBI, were you not aware that lying to FBI investigators was a federal crime?
    Flynn: I was not — I was aware.
    Judge: You were aware?
    Flynn: Yeah.

  4. Spencer Dawkins says:

    I suppose everyone is weary of the characterization of Flynn as an “innocent man” who only pled guilty twice in front of a judge. That’s an “interesting” strategy.

    If you were trying to convince people you were innocent, that’s not the way I would have suggested …

    • Peterr says:

      This is why you do not work in the White House of the most successful, most beloved, and most unjustly persecuted President ever!


  5. Eureka says:

    “DOJ: “The President cannot pardon himself” “chyron on MSNBC.

    I cannot find a source for this, seems a big deal…

    • Eureka says:

      It was described as “Breaking”, suggesting some new thing…. ?

      Perhaps they were rehashing the 1974 OLC opinion, but if so the “Breaking” was very misleading. Plus who knows what OLC has cooked up in that long interim, made longer by the accelerated pace of Late Capitalism Middle Trumpism.

      • bmaz says:

        Heh, no there is nothing breaking. But there is nothing determinative legally. Irrespective of any self serving Trump “opinion”, most folks think the answer is no. But it is not clear, and we shall see.

        • Eureka says:

          I hate it when they do that — leaving the “BREAKING NEWS” header for everything. Graphics dept needs to get less lazy! For realz.

        • Ralph H white says:

          If we’re gonna find out with Trump if he can pardon himself, why not go ahead and indict him for the Stormy Daniels case and let’s settle that bit of unsettled “law” as well for posterity.

          • jplm says:

            The idea of a self pardon may exist in terms of psychology – learning to forgive oneself – it surely is a legal absurdity that should carry as much weight as presenting a judge with the Monopoly ‘get out of jail free’ card when charged with an offence.
            I’m sure if it was a thing, that Nixon would have done it for himself rather than rely on Ford. So OLC ruling preventing them being charged whilst in office and a self pardon preventing a charge thereafter.
            Will it take a supreme court decision as to the legitimacy of a self pardon? If it is the case then can they also raise the issue that pardons ought not to be pre-emptive, that is couldn’t be granted until a finding or admission of guilt has been legally recorded?

    • BeingThere says:

      If perchance Trump did write himself a pardon, what would he have to admit to as a federal crime/misdemeanor in his pardon? From explanations of the pardon process it can’t just be a vague pardon of any bad things in general. This then opens him up to committing a further crime by pardoning himself for obstructing justice or giving false statements, etc.

      • bmaz says:

        Actually it can be vague. “…for any and all offenses against the United States” would suffice. See the Nixon pardon. I don’t know why people keep saying it must be specific.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      LOL. The NYT is mentally stuck in the lead type-setting era, forgiving all political sins and normalizing any that slip through.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          One of the things I loved about Spielberg’s “The Post” was the nifty little sequence close to the end showing the story going down to the typesetters, and then following the way the linotype machine grabbed the letters, dropped them into the form and on to the final paper coming off the printer.

        • Colm says:

          My grandfather was a Linotype operator—he worked nearly his whole career on a model 14. As a consequence of working with words all day, every day from when he returned from France in 1919 until he retired in 1962, he was spooky fast at solving crossword puzzles.

        • J R in WV says:

          I used to operate a Linotype machine, both in a tape-driven automated mode and by hand setting corrections and late-breaking news at midnight. Amazing complex machines, tons of cast iron and machined steel. pot of molten typesetting metal (mostly lead) cams, nearly 700 of them, controlling what was basically an analog computer.

          It was at the very end of the hot-type era, and in fact the composing room was photo type a couple of years later, which was why I wanted the job. Perhaps the most useless skill I could have acquired at the time, but there it was, so I grabbed it. Both hands!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not exactly. Unless badly mangled, the pardon of Mike Flynn will be a lawful act. But Trump might still be committing a separate unlawful act, such as obstruction of justice.

        • Hika says:

          That was my little joke in putting the prefix in brackets, as the single act has a dual character. Undoubtedly, presidents can issue pardons. Just as surely, to issue a pardon to fulfil a corrupt bargain is a crime.

  6. Rugger9 says:

    I do not trust this WH to be truthful about this so-called “Full Pardon” which is a rather meaningless description. So, the actual pardoning document needs to be put into the public record because like many other things the devil is very much in the details and as noted above will affect how Flynn can be held accountable. At the very least there is Flynn’s wildly inconsistent statements EW already documented in a prior post, plus the attorney shenanigans.

    Let us also remember that even though the statute of limitations may run out sooner than later, there is the matter of Flynn trying to help kidnap Gulen and render him to Erdogan. Was that part of the pardon?

    This why “Full Pardon” is meaningless, because a blanket pardon like Nixon’s or a specific one like Arpaio’s will describe the scope.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect that’s Harvard Law McEnany filling a void with legal noise, because they’re not done with it yet.

      • Raven Eye says:

        They can drag their feet a little and let the huddled masses out here act like a pro bono “murder board”…Just in case they left something out.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Still no text of the pardon. That’s usually the basis of an announcement. Are they still drafting it, debating how far to go with it? Does Trump think he’s waived his magic twtr wand and that’s the end of it? Or, as his wont, did he send out the twtr first – in a rit of fealous jage – and make his surprised staff rush into the needless void?

    • Peterr says:

      I suspect the person who got caught most off guard is Barr. “I told you to wait until I give you the papers! I know how coverup pardons are done, so that there’s no significant blowback later – just look at Iran-Contra. Now I’ve got to work overtime to clean this up before it was ready . . .”

      • BroD says:

        Good point. I’d be nervous about needing Trump to help me out of a fix. Whatever his intentions, there’s a pretty good chance he’d screw it up and make matters worse for me..

        • Peterr says:

          If you need Trump to help you out of a fix, you’re in a world of hurt.

          Unless, of course, helping you out somehow results in him getting paid. Then you’re just fine.

    • FL Resister says:

      Interesting. So you think it may have been another one of those, ‘I hereby decree…’ tweets which caught everyone off-guard. Could be in reaction to President-elect Biden behaving like a real president today and warning everyone to be careful over the Thanksgiving Holiday, so Trump had to upstage him with another mess that his caretakers have to clean up and create content for is within the realm of possibility.

      What’s especially satisfying to me is that while we collectively will be rid of this ignorant bag of organs and corrosive hostility on January 20th, it looks like the Republican Party is going to be saddled with Trump for an indefinite future.
      A marriage made in hell, and I cannot think of a more deserving match.

    • Peterr says:

      I sense yet another Downfall parody.

      “Yes, it looks bad. Yes, it looks like we are surrounded. Prosecutors everywhere, investigators poking into everything, judges issuing orders that threaten everything. But I’ve got the pardon power! I can issue ‘get out of jail free’ cards that no one can question. Not prosecutors. Not investigators. Not judges. We will *still* triumph!”

      And meanwhile, the rest of the staff looks at each other uncomfortably, until one of them bravely says “Mr. President? It doesn’t work that way, Mr. President.” . . .

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Glenn Greenwald, libertarian anarchist and sole legitimate leftist. He’s beginning to remind me of that guy Tom Courtenay played in Doctor Zhivago:

    The Flynn prosecution was an abuse of FBI power, politically motivated, and a violation of the long-time liberal-left view, best expressed by RBG, that lying to FBI without more isn’t even a crime. But liberals cheered it because they’re authoritarians


  9. tinao says:

    Alright, if this is where we have to accept the exploitative nature of where the law stands at this point, can we hope to look for future legislation that says ” a president can not pardon an associate(to be legally defined), whether in the past, or presently working for them?

      • tinao says:

        All well, I try bmaz. Thanks for the response, although I had to pull out the old college dictionary for plenary. But that is my point, even if it takes a constitutional amendment, can we not reign in presidential pardons that leave us open to this type of corruption?

      • ThoughtMail says:

        Plenary, yes; non-justiciable. However, the point that Marcy is making about specificity is compelling and persuasive. There *are* incidents of laws and proclamations failing for lack of specificity, or for vagueness. A pardon is still a legal creature.

        • bmaz says:

          There is close to zero chance this pardon fails. Though it will be interesting to see how it is worded and how it is asserted viv a vis Sullivan. But lack of specificity will not be an issue.

          • ThoughtMail says:

            Interesting points, but presuming facts not in evidence. In particular, the capability of the drafter(s) of it to exercise competence and diligence, which are not evidenced by a past performance of crafting bulletproof statements, or presenting compelling evidence or argument.

            As you say, we will indeed see which way this lies. All of this comment, even mine, isn’t yet ripe. But it will be, at the proper time.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, there are already a ton of “facts in evidence”, and certainly enough to start having this discussion. Which is why Marcy initiated it, and why I jumped in. It turns out that a LOT of people read us here, not just the people who show up in comments, and it is good to get this out in the open. So, yes, the discussion is indeed “ripe”.

              As to the difficulty of drafting the pardon, no, it is simply not that hard. Any idiot could craft a general pardon in 20 minutes using the Nixon language as a template. Now is the proper time to start. Which is exactly why we have.

  10. Peterr says:

    The Flynn Family’s statement may be very interesting, should Marcy be right and Sullivan is still on the case, assuming the yet-to-be-release pardon document is as narrow as Marcy suggests. In part, they say this:

    . . . The perpetuation of this political persecution of General Flynn was further fermented [sic] by Judge Emmet Sullivan’s refusal to dismiss the fraudulent prosecution. Judge Sullivan’s inactions are an assault against the Constitution and will live in infamy the world over and is his legacy.

    If there is still something pending in Sullivan’s court to which Flynn is a party, I’d love to hear Sullivan ask Flynn — under oath and on the record — whether he shares this statement’s assessment that Sullivan has assaulted the constitution.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      I suppose it’s possible that the phrase “a crucible moment in our nation’s history” might be an ironic nod to the Miller play, but it seems doubtful. The whole text looks like an example of Orwell’s “prose [which] consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.”

      • Peterr says:

        That, along with a nod to Dr. Seuss with “perpetuation of political persecution of General Flynn was further fermented . . .” but without Seuss’s ability to sustain his poetry for more than a sentence.

        The obvious followup line of “Sullivan stubbornly shunned any actual attempt to punt the phony prosecution” was just begging to be written, but they couldn’t stick with their chosen stylistic approach.

        • Robin Hood says:

          I know that hen house well!
          (Mercy on me please – I can’t remember my original sign in name.)

          [You’ve commented 4 times under “Robin Hood” and once under what I think may be your real name. I suggest sticking with the pseudonym. :-) /~Rayne]

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      More gaslighting from Mike Flynn, one of the high priests of Trumpism. Back to publicly fomenting violence against Judge Sullivan, a hallmark of the decades-long Trump/Ratf*cker Stone collaboration. How long is the media going to persist in letting this go on?

      A quote and a little string from Yale’s Bandy Lee, earlier today:
      Bandy X Lee, MD, MDiv | @BandyXLee1
      The dangers are not over. We might notice by now Donald Trump’s cycle of acquiescence and then aggression, depression and then revenge. These are the cycles of a violent person: violence arises out of a reaction against (one’s own) inactivity.

  11. Eureka says:

    OT (or is it ever, really):

    Steven Mazie: “BREAKING: Supreme Court votes 5-4 to grant Catholic Diocese and orthodox Jews’ request to block Gov. Cuomo’s attendance limits at houses of worship in New York. Chief Justice Roberts joins the three liberal justices in dissent.” [thread…]
    12:07 AM · Nov 26, 2020


    “From a quick read of the opinion, I get ACB vibes from the prose. It isn’t prolix like a Thomas opinion. It lacks all snark, which disqualifies it as an Alito opinion. It is straightforward, clear, sober, assertive—matching Barrett’s style from her writings on the 7th circuit.”

    • Bay State Librul says:

      The justices are playing God in a supporting 5-4 role.
      “My ways are not your ways, sayeth the Lord.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A Catholic court grants special dispensation to Catholics and, in a bid not to be seen discriminating, Jews, to violate public health rules – in the middle of a pandemic – because their adherents are thspecial: they are immune to Covid, never contagious, and never die from it. A starkly medieval opinion.

      The special pleading is cretinous. The “free exercise clause” of the Constitution does not make religions immune from law or regulation. It prohibits discriminating against people because of their religion. Generally applicable laws that apply regardless of religion apply. Churches as charitable institutions, for example, may not pay tax, but their adherents do.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The majority claimed that Cuomo didn’t impose the same restrictions on businesses that he did on houses of worship – hence, he was discriminating against them.

        One rational difference might be that businesses do not host thousands of people in a single room, standing close enough to touch earlobes, while they chant, sing, and praise.

        The moral majority here is just getting started in its holy war to remake America in its image and for its wealthy patrons. Reform.The.Court.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          As bmaz says, the Court is now divided 5-1-3, and Amy Covid Barrett commands that five-seat majority. Reform.The.Court.

          • Rugger9 says:

            This may become a situation where the long-term results are favorable. Unfortunately we’ll have to suffer for two years but by 2022 we will have enough rulings to pin on the GOP ramming through FedSoc judges that they’ll get thrown out of the Senate and court reform will have more support.

            That would also require the Ds to hammer home the message everywhere about who did this to America.

    • skua says:

      Your G Chrome browser prob is displaying the page that it has cached on your computer. You could if you wanted to get geeky try clearing the cache in the G Chrome browser settings. Or keep being happier and non-geeky and swap browsers for a while as you have done.

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    @Tinao/BMAZ, 10:39PM

    No ticket to heaven for Flynn.
    Did you say plenary.
    The term rings a bell in my inner childhood, as a former Catholic and Altar Boy.
    In lieu of a pardon, Trump should have granted Flynn a plenary indulgence?
    According to the Vatican in 2020, “Pope Francis said he will grant a plenary indulgence to the faithful who watch or listen to his extraordinary blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) at 6 p.m. Rome time (10 a.m. PT) March 27.
    Special indulgences have also been granted to those suffering from COVID-19, their caregivers, friends and family and those who help them with their prayers.
    But what is this ancient practice of offering indulgences through prayer and penance and what is needed to receive them?
    An indulgence is not a quick ticket to heaven, as St. John Paul II once said; rather, it is an aid for the real conversion that leads to eternal happiness.”.

      • Peterr says:

        More. Definitely more.

        Trump’s dream is an order that says “I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, pursuant to my powers under Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, have granted unto every person who has served in the Executive Branch of the government of the United States (except James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and some other losers listed in Appendix A of this order) between January 20, 2017 and this date, and every person who has worked with these persons to further the work of this administration, a full and unconditional pardon for any illegal acts that may have been committed, including those yet to have been charged, dating back to January 1, 2012.”

        Own the Libs!

  13. Valley girl says:

    irrc there is usually a “Thanksgiving” post up by this time. In case one doesn’t appear, I would like to give thanks to the mods for their tireless and sometimes unappreciated work.

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