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Flynn Pardon Would Be Unconstitutional, Harvard Law Professor Says


Michael Flynn will plead guilty Friday making to one count of making false statements to FBI agents about his conversations with a Russian ambassador, but a specter hangs over this deal. Would President Donald Trump pardon his former National Security Adviser? POTUS has already shown he’s all-too-glad to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a political ally. But if that happens, anti-Trump Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe argues such a move might be unconstitutional.

“Mueller could and should argue in federal court that the pardon is void because of the conflict of interest underlying it,” Tribe said.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing whether the Trump campaign illegally aided in Russia’s 2016 election interference. In a report declassified in January, U.S. intelligence officials said Moscow directed hacking efforts to help the president win the race. Based on what’s publicly known, there’s nothing to directly implicate him. But there is the claim that he asked former FBI Director James Comey in February to drop the FBI’s probe into Flynn. Trump fired Comey in May, ostensibly for doing a bad job, but he explicitly cited the FBI’s Russia probe, and this sparked arguments about whether the president committed obstruction of justice.

The newly released plea agreement shows that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller. It’s immediately unclear what this means. Tribe, who was writing before the plea agreement was publicized, suggested that the investigation could touch the president and some relatives.

Update – Dec. 1, 5:59 p.m.: The plea agreement was released after the publication of this article. It showed that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller. The article has been updated to reflect this.

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