It’s unusual for a president to pardon someone who pleaded guilty before they are sentenced, but pardoning General Michael Flynn on Tuesday may be the least bizarre and destructive thing Trump did in relation to this investigation.

Flynn resigned in 2017 just 24 days after he was named Trump’s first National Security Advisor, and four days after public reports that he discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian Ambassador despite repeated denials from the Trump Administration that he had done so. Months later, Trump tweeted that he “fired” Flynn because he “lied to the Vice President and the FBI.”

Yet a day after Flynn resigned, Trump met with FBI Director James Comey and several other officials in the Oval Office. Trump excused all of them from the meeting except for Comey, stating repeatedly that he wanted to speak to Comey alone. When the others left, Trump told Comey that Flynn was “a good guy” and urged him to “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Comey did not do so, and less than three months later, Trump fired him.