Progressive commentator David Pakman suggested on Wednesday that Donald Trump only issued his controversial pardon of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because he knows he won’t be in the White House after January.
“If Trump really thought he’d still be President after January 20th, he’d not have pardoned Flynn today, right?” Pakman tweeted.
Many people appeared to agree with Pakman’s sentiments.
“This was a concession, yes,” one user tweeted.
“Makes sense. If he thought he had time, he would have kept the DOJ running interference,” another wrote on Twitter.
Others were not as convinced that the play had anything to do with Trump’s electoral defeat.
“He knows he’s done, but this pardon was going to happen regardless. He’s really only concerned about keeping his cronies that have dirt on him quiet,” a third user’s tweet read.
As reported by NBC News, Flynn’s charge stemmed from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference. The intelligence official pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI twice about his conversations with the former Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. However, Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice attempted to dismiss criminal charges against Flynn in May. Per CNN, the criminal charge against Flynn was stuck in an appeals court when Trump issued the lobbyist a pardon.
The Justice Department defended Flynn and argued that he should never have been questioned by the FBI, and the lobbyist — who CNN claimed has become a martyr in fringe conservative circles — later recanted his admissions of guilt.
Flynn addressed the pardon in a statement released on Thursday.
“Never again should any family or individual be so viciously targeted, maligned, smeared, and threatened such has been the experience of my family and I.”
While Republicans rejoiced at Flynn’s pardon, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff likened it to an abuse of power and claimed it was intended to “insulate” Trump and his allies from criminal investigation.
Although Flynn has been pardoned, Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in D.C., the judge who presided over the case, could continue with legal inquires linked to the investigation. Throughout the inquiry, Sullivan asked questions about the lawyering linked to the case. In addition, Flynn revealed that he lied about his lobbying for Turkey — although he was not charged with a crime for doing so.
With Joe Biden expected to take the White House in January, Trump has faced increased pressure to offer presidential pardons. Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Ross Ulbricht are among the other figures that the head of state has been pressed to offer clemency.