After Trump pardon, Flynn says he can 'breathe freedom and liberty' for the first time in years

WASHINGTON — Michael Flynn said Thursday that he can “breathe freedom and liberty” for the first time in four years after President Donald Trump granted him a full pardon a day earlier.

“I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. For the first time in more than four years and because of my fearless attorney, Sidney Powell, the Guardian Angel of American Justice, and thousands of good people with endless energy rallying together on my behalf, I breathe freedom and liberty today,” Flynn said in a lengthy personal statement released on the afternoon of Thanksgiving.

Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who twice pleaded guilty to the FBI, did not explicitly thank Trump for the pardon. He did, however, denounce critics of the president.

“Never again should any family or individual be so viciously targeted, maligned, smeared, and threatened such has been the experience of my family and I. Not you and your loved ones, not me nor President Trump, our First Lady, and the Trump children,” he said.

“Stand with me today in renouncing this betrayal of trust that has burdened our nation and proclaim with one united voice across this land that we will never again allow the rightful power of the citizens of this country to be uprooted, undercut, usurped, or held hostage by a coup against our nation, a duly elected President or any future president of these United States.”

Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with with then-Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016. The Justice Department, however, stepped in in May and took action to dismiss the criminal charges against Flynn.

The pardon made by Trump on Wednesday afternoon had been expected for a while.