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President Trump with Michael Flynn in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped Tuesday night.

What they're saying: "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!" Trump tweeted.

  • Roughly an hour before Trump announced the pardon over Twitter, Flynn tweeted a Bible verse.
  • "This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy," House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) responded in a statement on Wednesday.
  • House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter: "What happened to @GenFlynn was a national disgrace. ... President @realDonaldTrump is right to pardon the respected three-star general."
  • House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) accused Trump of abusing the pardon power "to reward his friends and political allies" in a statement.

The big picture: Flynn's pardon is the culmination of a four-year political and legal saga that began with the FBI's probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian government in the 2016 election.

Between the lines: In his final weeks in office, Trump has the potential to expunge his friends and supporters of all federal criminal convictions, Axios' Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu report.

This is a breaking story. Come back for more details.

Go deeper

Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as FBI director

FBI Director Christopher Wray at a virtual DOJ news briefing on Oct. 28. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as director of the FBI and has "confidence in the job he is doing," White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a tweet Thursday.

The big picture: Wray, who was nominated by former President Trump in 2017 after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, came under heavy criticism from Trump and his allies over the past year.

Trump ally Matt Schlapp got $750k in unsuccessful pardon push

Matt Schlapp. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The lobbying firm run by Trump ally Matt Schlapp brought in $750,000 in the final two weeks of 2020 from a former top Trump fundraiser and convicted fraudster who retained Schlapp to lobby — unsuccessfully — for a presidential pardon.

Why it matters: The substantial sum that the former fundraiser, Georgia's Parker "Pete" Petit, paid to Schlapp's Cove Strategies shows how valuable connections to Donald Trump were in his final days in office for wealthy felons seeking clemency from the outgoing president.

Off the Rails

A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

President Trump was almost shouting. He directed his son-in-law and his senior strategist from his private quarters at the White House late on election night. He barked out the names of top Fox News executives and talent he expected to answer to him.