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Trump Bashes FBI Russia Probe, Leaves Open Possible Flynn Pardon

  • Peter Heinlein

President Donald Trump speaks during the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony, Dec. 15, 2017, in Quantico, Va.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday bashed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Russia probe and left open the possibility of a presidential pardon for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents.

"I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet," Trump told reporters outside the White House before departing for the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in nearby Quantico, Virginia. He added: "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."

Later Friday, however, White House lawyer Ty Cobb said, "No— there is no consideration at the White House of pardoning Michael Flynn."

FILE - Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn departs U.S. District Court, where he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States, in Washington, Dec. 1, 2017.
FILE - Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn departs U.S. District Court, where he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States, in Washington, Dec. 1, 2017.

Earlier this month, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel investigators examining allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

The 59-year-old retired army general pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI about a series of private conversations he had in December 2016 with Russia's then-ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak.

Special counsel appointed

Following Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the agency's Russia probe, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to lead a special counsel probe into the matter.

FILE - Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connection to the Trump campaign, at the Capitol in Washington, June 21, 2017.
FILE - Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connection to the Trump campaign, at the Capitol in Washington, June 21, 2017.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department disclosed hundreds of text messages between two FBI officials on Mueller's team of investigators that revealed an anti-Trump bias, prompting some, particularly Republicans, to question the nonpartisan nature of the law enforcement agency and its investigation into Russia.

Trump criticized the Justice Department and FBI's handling of the probe, calling it "disgraceful."

wATCH: Trump Reasserts No Collusion with Russia

Trump Reasserts No Collusion with Russia
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The No. 2 person at the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, defended Mueller in testimony Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee and said he had no reason to dismiss him.

The president has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a "witch hunt" being used by Democrats to explain their 2016 election loss. "There is absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it," Trump asserted.

Earlier this year, the U.S. intelligence community released a report that stated Russia had meddled in the election, showing a preference for Trump over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

VOA's Wayne Lee and Mary Alice Salinas contributed to this report.

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