Presidents often use the waning days of their administration to try and slip some unpopular pardons in before it's too late. George H.W. Bush did it with the Iran-Contra crew; Bill Clinton did it with Mark Rich and his own brother, Roger; George W. Bush had the good sense to rescind his last-minute pardon for convicted real estate scammer Isaac Toussie, after learning that Toussie had — whoopsie — been a huge donor to the RNC.
My point is: There's precedent for these sort of shenanigans.
Still, given President Trump's penchant for pushing the envelope until it bursts, rumors of his latest plan to pardon former National Security Adviser-turned-QAnon conspiracist and admitted felon Michael Flynn are both wholly unsurprising and entirely shocking.
According to Axios, Trump has reportedly blabbed to several friends and confidants that he plans to pardon his onetime top official, bringing to a close a four-year legal saga that saw Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election, only to rescind his guilty plea earlier this year. The Justice Department then very conspicuously dropped its criminal case against Flynn, leaving the whole twisted affair in legal stasis, where it effectively remains today. Flynn had also been linked to a bizarre secret lobbying effort on behalf of Turkey, for whom he allegedly was approached to help with the kidnapping of a Turkish cleric living in the U.S.
Flynn has since become the MAGA world's poster child for a nexus of conspiracy theories, alleging among other things that he was collateral from the Obama administration's alleged efforts to damage the Trumps, and — following Flynn's QAnon-ification — a key figure among the nebulous deep state efforts to expose satanic child abuse at the highest levels of power.
Paradoxically, QAnon factions have reportedly since come out against a potential Flynn pardon, as it would connote guilt for a crime they simply refuse to accept as having occurred. That's why they're pushing for full exoneration instead.
If, as seems extremely likely, Flynn is ultimately pardoned, he will join the illustrious ranks of other notable Trump allies-turned-beneficiaries like Roger Stone, Bernie Kerik, and Joe Arpaio, each of whom was granted some sort of legal reprieve from the president over the course of his administration. And, of course, if Trump does pardon Flynn, he could still top that by following through on a plan he's reportedly discussed for years now: preemptively pardoning himself, too.
Update 4:10 p.m. ET: Shortly before the country wound down its work week and headed into the Thanksgiving break, Trump announced on Twitter that he had granted Flynn a "full pardon."
An hour before the president's announcement, Flynn himself had tweeted a reference to a passage from biblical book of Jeremiah, which reads: "'They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord."