Donald Trump won't say that he won't pardon Michael Flynn — and that's worrying people

Trump is sending a sign that he may not care about the rule of law

By Jeremy Binckes

Published December 15, 2017 11:17AM (EST)

 (AP/Evan Vucci)
(AP/Evan Vucci)

On Friday, President Donald Trump spoke to reporters before going to Quantico, Virginia, to speak to the FBI National Academy. During the question-and-answer session — before the president spoke to the nation's top law enforcement officers — Trump hinted that he'd throw out the rule of law for one of his friends who pleaded guilty to a federal crime.

"I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet," Trump said when asked if he'd pardon Flynn. "We'll see what happens. Let's see. I can say this: When you look at what's gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry."

The remarks raised eyebrows, considering that Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors. If Flynn knew that Trump would pardon him, he would have no reason to continue cooperating. Flynn is, right now, one of the key witnesses in Robert Mueller's investigation — he's one of the few people who have acted as a go-between for the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, and is in a position to tell the special prosecutor's office who else might be connected to Russia.

Of course, Trump's reluctance to acknowledge the seriousness of the investigation into his campaign and Russia's influence in the 2016 election has been a feature of his presidency. He fired former FBI Director James Comey over the "Russia stuff."

Trump told reporters Friday that there was "absolutely no collusion" and the investigation was a "scam," essentially telling the world that he's the one who's going to make the decisions about what's worthy of investigation and what's not — not the federal law enforcement agency.

Below are the full remarks, via the White House press office:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's a shame what's happened with the FBI. But we're going to rebuild the FBI. It will be bigger and better than ever. But it is very sad when you look at those documents. And how they've done that is really, really disgraceful, and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it. It's a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that.

And I'm going today, on behalf of the FBI, their new building. But when everybody -- not me -- when everybody -- the level of anger at what they've been witnessing with respect to the FBI is certainly very sad.

Q Should Roy Moore concede?

THE PRESIDENT: I think he should. He tried. I want to support -- always, I want to support the person running. We need the seat. We'd like to have the seat. I think we're doing very well on the tax. We'll see what happens. But I think we're doing very well. It's something that's going to be monumental. It will be the biggest tax decrease, or tax cut, in the history of our country.

But as far as Roy Moore, yeah, it's certainly -- I would certainly say he should.

Q Is the special counsel biased?

THE PRESIDENT: You'll have to make that determination. We're hoping for a very -- let's put it this way: There is absolutely no collusion. That has been proven. When you look at the committees, whether it's the Senate or the House, everybody -- my worst enemies, they walk out, they say, "There is no collusion but we'll continue to look." They're spending millions and millions of dollars.

There is absolutely no collusion. I didn’t make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it. That was a Democrat hoax. It was an excuse for losing the election, and it should have never been this way, where they spent all these millions of dollars.

So now even the Democrats admit there's no collusion. There is no collusion -- that's it. And we got to get back to running a country.

What we have found, and what they have found after looking at this, really, scam, is they found tremendous -- whatever you want to call it; you're going to have to make up your own determination -- but they found tremendous things on the other side. When you look at the Hillary Clinton investigation, it was -- I've been saying for a long time -- that was a rigged system, folks. That was a rigged system.

When you look at what they did with respect to the Hillary Clinton investigation, it was rigged. And there's never been anything like it in this country that we've ever found before. It's very, very sad. Very, very sad.

Q Mr. President, when did you find out that Michael Flynn lied to the FBI? When did you find out?

THE PRESIDENT: What else is there? You know the answer. How many times has that question been asked?

Go ahead.

Q Have you seen the final tax bill?

THE PRESIDENT: I have. I have seen it. I think it's going to do very, very well. I think that we are going to be in a position to pass something as early as next week, which will be monumental.

Q Marco Rubio, Mike Lee?

THE PRESIDENT: I think they'll be great. They're great people. They want to see it done. I know them very well. I know how they feel. These are great people and they want to see it done, and they want to see it done properly.

Go ahead.

Q Do you support talks with North Korea without preconditions?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're going to see what happens with North Korea. We have a lot of support. There are a lot of nations that agree with us -- almost everybody. We can't let that happen. And we're going to see what happens with North Korea. We hope it works out.

Q (Inaudible) child tax credit?

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I think we will. I think we will. The child tax credit, just so you understand, the Democrats have done nothing in terms of children, in terms of child tax credit. We're putting in a tremendous child tax credit, and it is increasing on a daily basis.

Q How was your call with Vladimir Putin?

THE PRESIDENT: It was great. He said very nice things about what I've done for this country in terms of the economy, and then he said also some negative things in terms of what's going on elsewhere. But the primary point was to talk about North Korea, because we would love to have his help on North Korea. China is helping. Russia is not helping. We'd like to have Russia's help -- very important.

Q About Michael Flynn -- would you consider a pardon for Michael Flynn?

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens. Let's see. I can say this: When you look at what's gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Jeremy Binckes

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Donald Trump Fbi Michael Flynn Trump-russia Investigation