UPDATED, 4:15 PM with White House statement on Flynn: The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s executive grant of clemency granting a full pardon to Michael Flynn came because Flynn “should never have been prosecuted.” Read the full statement below this story.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:26 PM: In what is expected to be the first of many parting shots, President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a full pardon to his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Although the matter continues to be fought over in the courts, the twice guilty pleading retired general was convicted of lying to the FBI in its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
Meanwhile, on the eve of Thanksgiving, Joe Biden was taking a far less sordid approach to events, asking Americans to remember “we’re at a war with a virus — not with each other” as part of the President-elect’s speech in Wilmington, DE.
“Faith, courage, sacrifice, service to country, service to each other, and gratitude even in the face of suffering, have long been part of what Thanksgiving means in America,” Biden said as the country saw COVID-19 cases and deaths soar again.
“Now, we find ourselves again facing a long, hard winter,” Biden continued in an address deep on empathy and promises to combat the coronavirus as well as systemic racism, global warming, “cancer and Alzheimer’s and diabetes.”
Biden has long sought to differentiate himself from Trump in both style and substance. Today was certainly a sartorial flex, by any other name.
In a case of a split-screen that never really happened, the former Celebrity Apprentice host also called in Wednesday to a Pennsylvania GOP meeting just as Biden was delivering his holiday address.
“This election was lost by the Democrats,” Trump told the gathering at Gettysburg’s Wyndham Hotel as lawyer Jenna Ellis held her iPhone up to the microphone. “We won this election by a lot, we got 74 million votes,” Trump added, not noting that the Biden-Harris ticket has received more than 80 million votes.
“They cheated,” Trump went on to rant from the White House two days after the General Services Administration sign-off on the Biden transition. “It was a fraudulent election.”
The results of that election are that the Biden-Harris transition team has finally started meeting with administration officials and getting their hands on much-needed data and funding heading towards the inauguration on January 20, 2021.
CNN, MSNBC and BBC America all cut live to Biden’s anticipated address, but Fox News first stayed with Dana Perino chatting with Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy about Thanksgiving delicacies. FNC went to Biden about three minutes after he started his remarks. BBCA weaved in and out of the speech after covering the first bit. Of the broadcast nets, only ABC carried Biden’s remarks live today.
Nobody but hard-core conservative outlet One America News covered the unofficial Pennsylvania hearing, though it was livestreamed. Everyone on God’s green Earth reported on the Flynn pardon.
Jumping back to the substandard drama in PA: the Keystone State and its 20 electoral votes was called for the Pennsylvania-born Biden on November 7, assuring his overall victory. After various legal challenges by Team Trump were tossed, the state certified the win Tuesday, ending the question for everyone but Trump.
At one point last night, there were reports that Trump would join Ellis and Rudy Giuliani at the Gettysburg gathering. But, like Trump’s reelection, clearly that never happened.
On the other hand, Biden was rooted in facts and a better tomorrow.
“On this Thanksgiving, and in anticipation of all the Thanksgivings to come, let us dream again,” the upcoming 46th POTUS said today. “Let us commit ourselves to thinking not only of ourselves but of others. For if we care for one another — if we open our arms rather than brandish our fists — we can, with God’s help, heal.”
Here’s the full White House statement:
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency granting a Full Pardon to General Michael T. Flynn. The President has pardoned General Flynn because he should never have been prosecuted. An independent review of General Flynn’s case by the Department of Justice—conducted by respected career professionals—supports this conclusion. 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.
General Flynn should not require a pardon. He is an innocent man. Even the FBI agents who interviewed General Flynn did not think he was lying. Multiple investigations have produced evidence establishing that General Flynn was the victim of partisan government officials engaged in a coordinated attempt to subvert the election of 2016. These individuals sought to prevent Donald Trump from being elected to the Presidency, to block him from assuming that office upon his election, to remove him from office after his inauguration, and to undermine his Administration at every turn.
The prosecution of General Flynn is yet another reminder of something that has long been clear: After the 2016 election, individuals within the outgoing administration refused to accept the choice the American people had made at the ballot box and worked to undermine the peaceful transition of power. These efforts were enabled by a complicit media that willingly published falsehoods and hid inconvenient facts from public view, including with respect to General Flynn. They amounted to a brazen assault on our democracy and a direct attack on our fundamental political values.
While today’s action sets right an injustice against an innocent man and an American hero, it should also serve as a reminder to all of us that we must remain vigilant over those in whom we place our trust and confidence. The people who sit atop our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have tremendous power to affect the lives of their fellow citizens. The American people must always take care to scrutinize their actions, to hold them accountable, and to ensure that they use their immense power to uphold the rule of law rather than to harass, persecute, and jail their political opponents in pursuit of partisan political agendas.
Happy Thanksgiving to General Flynn and his family, and thank you all for your great service to our Nation!