Michael Flynn’s brother demands pardon, cites Trump’s attacks on FBI

"About time you pardoned General Flynn who has taken the biggest fall for all of you..."

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington on December 1. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington on December 1. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joseph Flynn — brother of former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI — demanded a pardon for his brother on Tuesday.

“About time you pardoned General Flynn who has taken the biggest fall for all of you given the illegitimacy of this confessed crime in the wake of all this corruption,” Flynn tweeted to President Donald Trump, in a post that was later deleted.

Flynn later reposted an edited version of the tweet that used more formal language. That tweet remains up as this is published.

Flynn’s tweet came in response to one from Trump in which he blasted the FBI for allegedly using a partially unverified dossier as the basis for launching an investigation into his campaign for possible collusion with Russia back in the summer of 2016. Despite Trump’s claim, there’s no evidence that the FBI in fact relied on the so-called “Steele dossier,” parts of which have been confirmed, as the basis for its investigation.

There’s also no indication that partisanship played any role in Flynn’s conviction. On the contrary, the underlying facts are clear-cut and incriminating.

About a month ago, Flynn pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI about the contents of his December 2016 phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. According to his plea agreement, Flynn advised Kislyak to refrain from escalating a feud with the Obama administration over sanctions the administration placed on the Putin regime for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But during an interview with investigators days after Trump’s inauguration, Flynn falsely claimed the topic of sanctions never came up during his communications with Kislyak.

As The Washington Post noted when news of Flynn’s plea broke, court documents show that Flynn “is cooperating in the ongoing probe of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.” The Post also reported that “court records and people familiar with the contacts indicated [Flynn] was acting in consultation with senior Trump transition officials, including President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in his dealings with the diplomat.”

Trump has acknowledged that Flynn lied. But as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has closed in on Flynn and other members of Trump’s inner circle in recent weeks, the president and his supporters in the media and in Congress have launched a campaign to discredit Mueller by smearing the FBI as biased.

House Judiciary Committee member Jim Jordan (R-OH) has gone as far as publicly making the case that FBI leadership was colluding with then-candidate Hillary Clinton to bring Trump down.

But what Jordan and other prominent Republicans who have advanced that conspiracy theory can’t explain is this: If the FBI was colluding with Clinton during the election, then why did FBI Director James Comey go out of his way to publicize the Clinton email investigation just days before the election? Prominent pollsters such as Nate Silver have concluded that the negative publicity Comey’s move generated for Clinton may have cost her the presidency.

While the campaign Trump, Fox News personalities, and Trump-supporting members of Congress like Jordan are waging against the FBI might seem like bad-faith conspiracy mongering, Joseph Flynn’s pardon demand indicates it is being taken very seriously by some.

Trump himself was asked about the possibility of pardoning Flynn during a press gaggle on December 15. Notably, the president didn’t deny that he has considered it.

“I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens, let’s see. I can say this — when you look at what’s gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.”

The word “yet” was particularly significant. By suggesting that he may eventually consider a pardon, Trump could be interpreted as indicating to Flynn that whether or not he gets one depends on the extent to which he protects Trump and his family. 

Flynn’s brother confirmed to Newsweek that he’s the author of the tweet and said of the president, “I said it, and maybe he’s listening.”