U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a fresh wave of criticism against U.S. law enforcement agents as lawyers for his former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, disclosed internal FBI documents in their attempt to have Flynn’s criminal conviction overturned.
Flynn was among the first individuals swept up in the U.S. investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump election campaign team in 2016.
He was fired by Trump in February 2017, having served as national-security adviser for only 24 days, after it emerged that he’d lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty on charges of lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
But Trump says the FBI documents disclosed by Flynn's lawyers have led him to believe that Flynn should be cleared in court.
If that doesn't happen, Trump suggested he could use his presidential powers to pardon Flynn.
“It looks to me like Michael Flynn would be exonerated based on everything I see,” Trump told reporters in Washington on April 30. "I’m not the judge, but I have a different type of power. But I don’t know that anybody would have to use that power. I think he’s exonerated.”
Trump has long said he is considering a presidential pardon for Flynn.
On April 29-30, Trump retweeted a series of supportive statements about Flynn and condemned the FBI's investigation of his former adviser.
“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again,” Trump tweeted.
Pence said on April 30 that he was now “inclined to believe” that the false statements Flynn had made to him were “unintentional.”
Flynn’s lawyers on April 30 accused the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department of misconduct during their investigation.
The lawyers cited newly unsealed documents that they claim show the FBI tried to “intentionally frame” Flynn during their investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.