Donald Trump plans to apologize to his embarrassed national security adviser Michael Flynn, Axios reported on Tuesday.
Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about dealings with Russia's ambassador before Trump took office, but has yet to be convicted.
He tried to withdraw his guilty plea in January on the grounds that prosecutors had violated his rights and induced him to give consent.
The president reportedly told confidants that he plans to apologize to Flynn and others before leaving office. Sources said CNN Trump could still change his mind.
Donald Trump plans to apologize to his embarrassed national security adviser Michael Flynn, Axios reported on Tuesday. Flynn is pictured in 2018
Trump hasn't been shy about using his pardon power to aid political allies and those he believes have been hurt by a runaway judicial system.
Trump said in March he was strongly considering a full pardon for Flynn. He said the FBI and the Justice Department "destroyed" Flynn's and his family's life.
He tweeted in April: "What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never happen again to a citizen of the United States!"
If Trump gives Flynn a respite, it would be the highest pardon the president has given since he took office.
The president reversed associate Roger Stone's verdict earlier this year, saying he was the victim of a political witch hunt after he was also indicted in the Mueller investigation.
Flynn, a retired Army Lieutenant General, was indicted under the investigation by former Special Adviser Robert Mueller, which detailed Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his talks before Trump took office with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the United States, about US sanctions against Russia under President Barack Obama.
Trump, left, jokes with retired General Michael Flynn at a 2016 rally. Trump hasn't been shy about using his pardon to aid political allies and those he believes have been hurt by a runaway justice system
In September, Flynn's lead attorney Sidney Powell, who appeared last week with Rudy Giuliani at a press conference on election fraud, told a federal judge that she had discussed the case with the president and asked him not to apologize to Flynn.
At the same hearing, US Department of Justice lawyers denied any corruption or political motivation to end the federal criminal case against Flynn.
In May, Attorney General William Barr stunned many in the legal community by ordering prosecutors to drop the case. That decision came after Trump repeatedly complained that Flynn was treated unfairly.
Critics have accused Barr of granting special treatment to Trump allies like Flynn and Trump's longtime friend and supporter Stone.
Powell downplayed a letter she sent to Barr and Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in June 2019 complaining that the FBI had attempted to lock in her client and asking the department to appoint new government attorneys to handle the case conduct.
When Sullivan asked if her letter to Barr was ethical, Powell replied, "Perfect."
The Trump administration tried to distance itself from Powell on Thursday, insisting she was not a member of their legal team after spreading a series of wild and baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud.
Michael Flynn, former American security advisor and attorney Sidney Powell, left federal court on Monday, June 24, 2019 in Washington, DC, the United States
Flynn has proven to be a kind of celebre to Trump supporters, while critics of Barr's actions – including former FBI and Justice Department officials – have condemned what they see as politicizing law enforcement in an effort to drop the case .
He has pleaded guilty twice of lying to the FBI about talking to the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period in December 2016 when he encouraged the diplomat to raise tensions over sanctions just imposed by the Obama administration for influencing the election were not to escalate.
At the time, the FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to tip the election in Trump's favor.
However, the Justice Department moved in May for the case to be dismissed, stating that there was insufficient evidence to interrogate Flynn and that the interrogation of Flynn and the statements he made contributed to the fuller FBI counterintelligence investigation into the campaign and Russia are not relevant.
Trump and Flynn stroll through the atrium of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC in September 2016. Flynn has become a celebre for Trump supporters
Powell added her own criticism in September, calling the case and the way it was handled a "heinous abuse of power that has continued to this minute."
"This is the most egregious injustice I have ever seen in my 30+ years of practice," she said.
Federal government attorneys had cited internal uncertainty within the FBI as to whether Flynn had even committed a crime, as well as questions about the credibility of law enforcement officers in the case.
Attorney Ken Kohl referred to the actions of Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who interviewed Flynn but was later fired from office for derogatory texts about Trump, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired on charges of The Department of Justice misled the Inspector General about a disclosure in the news media.