The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Don Owens,, c. (202) 934-1880
Lacy Crawford,, c. (252)-292-6088

Abusing Executive Power Again, Trump Pardons Close Friend Michael Flynn After He Twice Pleaded Guilty

Trump Gives Out Pardons to His Friends and Celebrities, Not the Americans Who Deserve Them


President Donald Trump pardoned his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about Russian connections in 2017. The Department of Justice sought to withdraw charges against Flynn earlier this year, but the move has been blocked by a federal court, leaving a presidential pardon as the only move left. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement:

"President Trump is on pace to have one of the lowest rates of pardons and commutations of any president in recent time. While he has pardoned convicted felons, including a sheriff notorious for terrorizing immigrant communities, a war criminal and two men whose release was sought by violent white extremists, he has failed to use his power to grant clemency to those who remain incarcerated for low-level, non-violent offenses. The pardon of Michael Flynn, just like the Justice Department's abrupt decision to abandon his prosecution, is another gross abuse of executive power."


Past presidents have pardoned significantly more Americans than Trump. Former president's George H.W. Bush pardoned 77, Bill Clinton pardoned 457, George W. Bush pardoned 200 and Barack Obama pardoned 1,927. Trump has only pardoned 38 Americans so far, many of which have been his friends or those connected to celebrities.

The Lawyers' Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today.

(202) 662-8600