President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn has been “essentially exonerated” by newly unsealed documents in his criminal case and did not rule out pardoning him.

“He’s in the process of being exonerated. If you look at those notes from yesterday, that was total exoneration,” Trump told reporters. “These were dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI.”

“He is essentially exonerated,” Trump continued. “Now, that’s not official yet, but when you read the notes, how can you do anything else?”

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his contacts Russia’s ambassador to the US as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. He moved to withdraw his guilty plea in January of this year.


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The documents referenced by Trump were released by a federal judge late Wednesday and showed FBI agents discussing how to approach the 2017 interview with Flynn.

“What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” a handwritten note reads. “If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it.”

“If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious,” it continues. “Protect our institution by not playing games.”

Flynn’s attorneys argue that the note, along with other documents indicate that Flynn was a victim of entrapment.

Trump called Flynn a “fine man” who had been “tormented” by the case on Thursday, and while he did not rule out issuing a pardon, he said he would “like to stay out of it.”


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