President Donald Trump’s pardon of former national security adviser Michael Flynn includes an extremely broad reprieve from any possible crimes he might have committed connected to Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Politico reports. The pardon’s formal language emerged in a Justice Department court filing on Monday seeking dismissal of the criminal case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. Flynn has since renounced his plea and accused prosecutors and investigators of framing him. The case has been pending before U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan for nearly three years. Sullivan has been considering the Justice Department’s effort to dismiss the case since the spring. An outside adviser urged him to reject the dismissal as a political effort to protect an ally of the president.
Trump’s pardon absolves Flynn of “any and all possible offenses” arising from Mueller’s investigation, as well as any related grand jury proceedings. The clemency grant uses sweeping language, immunizing Flynn from charges based on “facts and circumstances, known to, identified by, or in any manner related to the investigation of the Special Counsel.” One expert described Trump‘s move as perhaps the broadest act of clemency since President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974. “Pardons are typically directed at specific convictions or at a minimum at specific charges,” said Margy Love, former U.S. Pardon Attorney who now leads the Collateral Consequences Resource Center. “I can think of only one other pardon as broad as this one, extending as it does to conduct that has not yet been charged, and that is the one that President Ford granted to Richard Nixon.”