Chief Justice John Marshall once described the presidential pardon as “an act of grace.” In the case of Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s pardon was something more. It was a requirement of justice.
Mr. Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday that he’d granted Mr. Flynn a full pardon. Liberals and the media are (as per their tedious usual) claiming the president stepped in to aid a corrupt crony. This has it exactly backward. The Flynn pardon was necessary—to correct a corrupt Federal Bureau of Investigation, a rogue special counsel, an unprincipled federal judge, and an embarrassingly complicit media.
This story dripped out over years, so it took until recently to get a full accounting of the government’s Trump-by-proxy takedown of Mr. Flynn. A decorated veteran, Mr. Flynn advised the Trump campaign and in November 2016 was named national security adviser. The FBI had spent months monitoring him as part of its Russia-collusion fantasy, yet by Jan. 4, 2017, it had found nothing and moved to close its case.
In rushed Peter Strzok—the now-disgraced then-FBI agent—to keep the investigation open. The FBI had snooped on a Flynn call to the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. This is perfectly legal; ask Joe Biden’s team, which is making such calls now. The FBI nonetheless debated a ludicrous Logan Act charge, before settling on a simpler course. As former FBI counterintelligence head Bill Priestap put it in handwritten notes, one FBI option was “to get [Mr. Flynn] to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
The FBI didn’t need to interview the National Security Agency about his conversation; it had the transcript. Yet the bureau’s then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sandbagged Mr. Flynn, arranging for him to meet with FBI agents without a lawyer. Former FBI Director Jim Comey later gloated over the setup. The FBI also chose not to provide Mr. Flynn a standard warning against lying, to keep him comfortable. Despite all this, the agents reported—according to government notes—that they “believe that F. believes that what he said was true.” He didn’t intentionally lie.