Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn defended himself on Thursday, telling Fox Business host Lou Dobbs that President Trump granted him a “pardon of innocence” after he faced a “political persecution of the highest order.”
Trump pardoned Flynn last month after his attorney, Sidney Powell, had askedsd the president not do that. While appearing on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Flynn described overcoming his reticence to accepting a pardon.
“As my family and I, particularly my wife and I talked about it and honestly prayed over it, we came to the conclusion that this was the right moment in time to do this — that the justice system that we were facing was just not going to function properly,” he said. “And it was very, very obvious that that was going to be the case.
Flynn’s pardon came amid a prolonged court battle in which his legal team fought for a district court judge to heed a Justice Department request to drop its prosecution of him. Although Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia, his defenders have held him up as an example of politicized law enforcement run amok.
“So, you know, we went and made the decision that this was the direction that we wanted to go and good enough for President Donald Trump for coming through, and we’re certainly grateful to him,” Flynn said. “But at the same time, we also know that this was a political persecution of the highest order and not something that any American should ever have to go through.”
Flynn’s prosecution came under scrutiny in particular after the release of FBI documents that suggested a plot to get him to lie.
“What is our goal?” read one of the FBI’s notes. “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
After years of expensive legal fees and public criticism, Flynn says he places blame on the former administration, not President Trump.
“I think at the end of the day, people want me to say something or, you know, for years, you know, do you — are you upset with President Trump? Are you upset with the White House? And the answer is no — and the reason why [is] because this was a setup from the beginning, and it really — where accountability lies is it lies in the previous administration.”