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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Thursday that following the release of new FBI documents, he is "more inclined to believe" that former national security adviser Michael Flynn unintentionally lied to him in 2017 about the nature of his conversation with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Why it matters: Flynn was forced to resign for misleading Pence and later pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about speaking to Kislyak about Russian sanctions, which the Obama administration had imposed for election interference.

The big picture: Flynn is now seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that prosecutors acted in "bad faith" and sought to entrap him.

  • As part of that process, prosecutors have turned over documents from the FBI, including a new batch on Wednesday that show officials discussing whether their "goal" was "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired."
  • President Trump has said he "strongly considering" a full pardon for Flynn, and spent much of Wednesday night and Thursday morning raging on Twitter about the treatment that Flynn has received.
  • On Thursday, Trump said that he would consider bringing Flynn back into the administration, claiming his former national security adviser is "essentially exonerated."

What they're saying: Pence told reporters that he will leave the decision on whether to pardon Flynn up to the president.

“I think Gen. Michael Flynn is a patriotic American who served with great distinction in the armed forces. ... I’m deeply troubled by the revelations of what appears to have been investigative abuse by officials in the Justice Department and we are going to continue to look into that very carefully.”"

Flashback: In December 2017, Pence told CBS News, "What I can tell you is that I knew that [Flynn] lied to me. And I know the president made the right decision with regard to him."

Go deeper

Pence calls Chief Justice John Roberts a "disappointment"

Combination images of Vice President Mike Pence and Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images/I Senate Television via Getty Images

Vice President Pence told the Christian Broadcast Network in an interview to be broadcast Thursday that Chief Justice John Roberts "has been a disappointment to conservatives."

The state of play: The conservative Roberts has this year sided with the Supreme Court's more liberal justices on abortion, LGBTQ discrimination and the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.

Updated 28 mins ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

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