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Trump pardons former national security adviser Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn

President Donald Trump has pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with a Russian official.

Trump announced the long-expected pardon in a tweet.

“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving,” Trump said. Trump is expected to offer pardons to a number of key aides before he leaves office on 20 January.

He has already commuted the sentence of longtime aide Roger Stone.

Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison, after being found guilty of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness intimidation. His conviction stands.

Flynn had not been sentenced.

The retired general was a trusted Trump surrogate on the campaign trail in 2016. But he served just 24 days in the White House before Trump fired him for lying to Vice-President Mike Pence about a conversation in which he told Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak Moscow should not respond to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

As part of a deal with Mueller, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. He became a cause célèbre among Trump supporters, who claimed he was victimized by the Obama administration and entrapped by the bureau.

In January this year Flynn sought to withdraw his guilty plea, and the Justice Department sought to drop all charges.