(CNN) — Vice President Mike Pence said he would be “happy” to see President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn back in the administration years after Trump fired him for lying about his contacts with Russia.
Flynn admitted before two separate judges that he lied to the FBI about his interactions with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and subsequently, special counsel Robert Mueller flipped Flynn to cooperate during the course of the Russia investigation. Flynn also admitted to lying to Pence about the matter. However, the Justice Department announced on Thursday they were moving to drop the criminal case against Flynn.
During a pre-taped interview with Axios published Sunday, Pence was asked about bringing Flynn back into the Trump administration. The President said in April that he would consider bringing back Flynn.
“I think Gen. Michael Flynn is an American patriot, he served this country with great distinction,” Pence said in an excerpt of the interview. “And for my part, I’d be happy to see Michael Flynn again.”
Pence said in the interview that the decision by the Justice Department to drop the criminal case against Flynn “lays bare what was clearly prosecutorial abuse.”
In a 2017 telephone conversation before Trump took office, Flynn misled Pence over his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, in which the two discussed election-related sanctions imposed on Russia. After Flynn left the administration, Pence said he was “disappointed” by Flynn’s actions and supported Trump’s decision to ask for his resignation.
Pence told CBS News in December of 2017, “What I can tell you is that I knew that he lied to me. And I know the President made the right decision with regard to him.”
In its filing on Thursday, the Justice Department condemned the FBI’s work when it interviewed Flynn in the West Wing in the first weeks of the Trump presidency. The FBI’s Flynn investigation was already going to be closed, the filing stated, when the FBI learned of Flynn’s calls with Kislyak before deciding it wanted to interview him. The filing drew swift criticism from former top FBI officials who had been involved in the case.
A judge has to sign off on the Justice Department request to drop the charges. A lawyer for Flynn, Sidney Powell, told Fox News that she is hopeful that the judge will do so sometime early this week.