Op-Ed: Great start, Mr. President. Bring on more mass pardons, and then maybe more, and then even more. That is how the country can be made whole.
By now, most people will remember that, in early January, President Donald Trump called for a commutation of the 10-year prison sentences of four of his closest advisers.
On Friday, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that Trump has now commuted the sentences of one of those men, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The decision to free Flynn was not unexpected, given his cooperation with the Mueller probe.
Flynn had been a subject of the Mueller inquiry and, the day before his commutation, he was sentenced to prison for lying to the FBI. There was also another person who would take a pardon. His name was Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who had also pled guilty to tax evasion, campaign finance violations and bank fraud.
But the pardons were unexpected, for the reasons given by the president, and for their timing: they came on the day that Barr informed Congress of the Mueller report and its conclusions.
“You know, the president was talking to me about it today and said, I know that you know exactly what my heart wants to do, and that’s to take care of a lot of people, and I said, that’s a wonderful idea, and he said, ‘Well, the Justice Department has already recommended that.’ So we’ll just go ahead with it,” Barr told reporters on Thursday.
The plan has been in the works for months.
I have heard all kinds of reasons why Barr couldn’t recommend a pardon, but one of the best was from a former senior federal prosecutor: he was working on the defense for the Trump administration, and, in one of the memos that he wrote, he expressed frustration with how the department was treating Flynn. The memo went on to blame the former national security adviser for the investigation, writing that “it is clear that the only reason Flynn was not interviewed more than twice, and only after being specifically told of the special counsel’s interest in his communications and meetings with the Russian government, was because he cooperated fully with the special counsel,” the New York Times reported. ”
“It’s hard to believe that President Trump didn’t know about this report,” tweeted former federal