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Michael Flynn

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Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump, October 2016.
A guide to
U.S. Politics
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Hail to the Chief?
Persons of interest
Arguably, you sold your country out.
—U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, during criminal sentencing hearings for Flynn[1]

Michael Thomas Flynn (1958–) is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General; he served from 1981-2014, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-2014 under President Barack Obama. After retirement in 2014, he established the lobbying company Flynn Intel Group (FIN), where his son (Michael G. Flynn) served as the chief of staff.[2][3]

During Donald Trump's 2016 campaign for president, Flynn served as one of his advisers, and was charged with improving relations with Russia.[4] Flynn served as the National Security Advisor under Donald Trump from January 20, 2017 – February 13, 2017, the shortest tenure in the history of that office.[5] Flynn also had a brief advisory role at Cambridge Analytica, which advised the Trump campaign and is alleged to have engaged in illegal behavior.[6]

FIN was accused in November 2016 by former-NSA agent John Schindler of receiving money from both Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan via intermediaries.[7] FIN received $530,000 from Inovo, a Dutch-based company owned by Kamil Ekim Alptekin who is close to Erdoğan; the money was paid for FIN to investigate Fethullah Gülen who was accused by Erdogan of being behind a coup attempt.[8]

On December 1, 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to the crime of making "materially false statements and omissions" to the FBI on January 24, 2017.[9] The false statements were with regard to:[9]

  • "Flynn's request to the Russian Ambassador [Sergey Kislyak] that Russia refrain from escalating the situation in response to U.S. sanctions against Russia"
  • "Flynn's request that foreign officials vote against or delay a United Nations Security Council Resolution"
  • "Flynn's contacts with foreign government" (specifically Turkey)

In exchange for this deal of pleading guilty to the single criminal charge and under continued threat of being charged with other crimes, Flynn agreed to fully cooperate with investigators.[10]

Following Flynn's guilty plea, and the judge in the case asked for more information about the plea, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, US Representative Darrel Issa, and Fox News's Jeanine Pirro all claimed that the judge would expose prosecutorial misconduct and throw out the plea (basically claiming that Flynn was innocent and duped).[11] Putting a kibosh on that idea however was the near simultaneous unsealing of an indictment against Flynn’s business partners Bijan Kian and Ekim Alptekin for illegally acting as a foreign agent of Turkey and conspiring to have Fethullah Gülen deported from the US to his native Turkey.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. 'I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain': Veteran judge upends hopes of Trump allies as he spotlights Flynn’s misdeeds by Carol D. Leonnig & Rosalind S. Helderman (December 18 at 7:42 PM) The Washington Post.
  2. Mike Flynn's Son Is Subject of Federal Russia Probe by Carol E. Lee et al. (Sep 13 2017, 5:00 pm ET) NBC News.
  3. How Michael Flynn’s Disdain for Limits Led to a Legal Quagmire by Nicholas Confessore (June 18, 2017) The New York Times.
  4. Flynn prepared to testify that Trump directed him to contact Russians about ISIS, confidant says by Brian Ross et al. (Dec 1, 2017, 11:06 AM ET) ABC News.
  5. See the Wikipedia article on National Security Advisor (United States).
  6. Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained: Why House investigators think this company might have gamed Facebook and helped Russia spread fake news. by Sean Illing (Updated Mar 17, 2018, 8:37am EDT) Vox.
  7. Donald Trump's national security chief 'took money from Putin and Erdogan', says former NSA employee: The former general will not require Senate approval to take up the senior security position by Andrew Buncombe (24 November 2016 16:07 GMT) The Independent.
  8. The mystery behind a Flynn associate’s quiet work for the Trump campaign by Matea Gold (May 4, 2017) The Washington Post.
  9. 9.0 9.1 United States of America v. Micheal T. Flynn Case 1:17-cr-00232-RC Document 4 Filed 12/01/17
  10. What probably led Michael Flynn to flip sides in the Russia investigation by Amber Phillips (December 1, 2017) The Washington Post.
  11. The ‘Michael Flynn is an innocent hero’ conspiracy theory suffers a major setback by Aaron Blake (December 17, 2018 at 1:22 PM) The Washington Post.
  12. Michael Flynn's business partner charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey by Rachel Weiner, Carol D. Leonnig & Matt Zapotosky (December 17, 2018 at 1:31 PM) The Washington Post.