Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn admitted his guilt to Judge Emmett Sullivan, but President Donald Trump announced that the former director of national intelligence would never see jail time. After issuing a pardon to Flynn the day before Thanksgiving, MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace attacked the manner in which Trump announced the pardon: by tweet.
"Of all the sordid tales of Trump's presidency, this one might take the cake," said Wallace. "We knew this might be coming. We know Donald Trump likes the power to pardon. There's some reporting he's looking at a pardon for lots of other people. I wonder what your sense is about what else Donald Trump has up his sleeve?"
Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire called it both "stunning" but in many ways "not surprising at all."
He noted the irony of someone like Flynn starting the "lock her up" chants against Hillary Clinton and then so openly breaking the law, pleading guilty and then getting out of having any consequences.
"Donald Trump pardoning Michael Flynn, who was convicted of lying to the FBI about, what else, conversations with the Russians. It was never sussed out, even as he pleaded guilty twice in front of Judge Sullivan, who told him to lie or why he lied, one of the enduring mysteries of the Trump era," Wallace continued, welcoming former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi.
"While this doesn't surprise anybody, here's the deal," Figliuzzi began, "within the Trump orbit, pardons go and will continue to go to the guilty and the silent. And Michael Flynn has been both. Pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and silent about what he knows, particularly about Russia engagement with the campaign and with Trump. It also serves the Trump narrative to keep doing this and to pardon Flynn, because Trump has been saying all along that the system is rigged against him. The justice system has it in for him. So, the more he can do to subvert the justice system, show that he thinks there are fallacies to be -- and flaws to be exposed, the more he'll do it."
He anticipated that the Flynn pardoning is just the beginning, and Trump will justify it by saying that the system is "rigged."
"You know, and Frank, if you pair the pardon of Mike Flynn with the commutation of Roger Stone's sentence, and we understand that a full pardon for Roger Stone is also a possibility for Trump's final days in office. What you have, it seems to me, and I wonder what your thoughts are, are two of the key figures who did the dirty work, if you will, in terms of coordinating with and being in contact with Russia. What does that look like if we weren't talking about that, you are sort of beating the dead horse that is Donald Trump and his never disclosed explanation for his affinity for Vladimir Putin?" Wallace asked.
Figliuzzi explained that it's about Trump still having things to hide and that pardons, for him, are further ways of obstructing justice.
"Donald Trump, who, in his own mind, is great at television production, is producing himself to look like a two-bit criminal," said Wallace. "I mean, as Robert Gibbs just said, he's calling in on a phone in this horrifically produced stunt, and all of his lawyers, public events, have been total losers, they've been panned by Tucker Carlson, for Pete's sake. And he doesn't even -- he's really proud of what he's doing! If he really thinks Mike Flynn is a good guy, have him over to the Rose Garden, put up the flags yourself, light yourself so, you know, you look your best, if you will, and do it in the light of day. Instead, he sends out a skeevy tweet at 4:00 on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving!"
See Wallace bashing Trump's pardon in the videos below: