President Trump announced Sunday that he is "strongly considering" a pardon for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators conducting the Russia investigation.
Flynn had been scheduled to be sentenced in late February, but Judge Emmet Sullivan postponed it indefinitely after prosecutors filed a rare motion to delay a number of approaching deadlines that would have made the Feb. 27 sentencing date unlikely. Flynn had also moved to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that federal prosecutors had acted in bad faith.
"So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has 'lost' the records of General Michael Flynn," Trump tweeted. "How convenient. I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!"
Trump's claim that the FBI said the "lost" records related to Flynn echoes a motion filed on Flynn's behalf in January that highlighted information that has come to light since Flynn's guilty plea -- including that no precise record of Flynn's statements to agents exists and that the original handwritten FD-302 witness report from the interview is "missing," with subsequent versions later "edited" in some undisclosed manner by anti-Trump FBI officials.
Flynn's case stemmed from a 2017 FBI interview, in which he was asked about his conversations with former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Flynn ultimately admitted to making false statements regarding those conversations during his interview, as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, but has since changed course.
In a court filing, Flynn's lawyers said the Justice Department was attempting to "rewrite history" by withdrawing its recommendation that he be sentenced to probation and by suggesting he had not been forthcoming or cooperative.
"It's just been one atrocity after the other," Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell told Fox News' Sean Hannity in January. "They breached the plea agreement when they tried to withdraw their motion to recommend that he was going to be given probation," she said.
The Justice Department, led by Attorney General Bill Barr, is now reviewing the handling of Flynn's case.
Trump has granted pardons or clemency to a number of people in recent weeks, including former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. and former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik. There had been speculation that the president could pardon Flynn, as well as former associate Roger Stone, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for charges including lying to Congress and witness tampering. That case had also spun out of the Russia probe.
Fox News' Gregg Re, Andrew O'Reilly, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.