Michael Flynn

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump, October 2016.
A guide to
U.S. Politics
Icon politics USA.svg
Hail to the Chief?
Persons of interest
Flynn dining with Putin and Jill Stein in 2015
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 tasked 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 AlptekinWikipedia 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" (a felony) 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 asking for more information about it, 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 KianWikipedia and Kamil Ekim Alptekin for illegally acting as foreign agents of Turkey and conspiring to have Fethullah Gülen deported from the US to his native Turkey.[12]

On November 25th, 2020, Flynn was pardoned by Trump during his lame duck period.[13]

Flynn publicly suggested that Trump declare martial law so that the latter could force a 'redo' of the 2020 election, which Trump lost.[14] The idea later involved his brother, active duty Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn, during the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.

Flynn has become a central figure in QAnon and has espoused QAnon messaging,[14] and members of his family are 'enmeshed' in QAnon, having sworn the "digital soldier oath".[15][16]:10

On May 30th 2021, during a QAnon conference in Dallas, Texas, Flynn was asked by a member of the audience if "what happened in Minamar (sic)" could happen in the United States. This, of course, was referencing the military coup that happened in Myanmar on February 2021. As QAnon believers were already participants in a much more amateurish attempted coup on January 6th 2021, predictably the audience erupted in cheers at this question. Flynn's response to this seditious wish was "No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That's right."[17][18] Flynn quickly backtracked from these statements the next Monday, complaining that the "media" was "manipulating my words" and tried to weakly retconWikipedia the above quote into something less seditious.[19]

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.
  13. Michael Flynn: Trump pardons ex-national security adviser
  14. 14.0 14.1 Army falsely denied Flynn’s brother was involved in key part of military response to Capitol riot by Dan Lamothe et al. (Jan. 20, 2021 at 5:24 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
  15. Michael Flynn’s relatives deny using QAnon gesture and claim it was a family ‘statement of support’ in CNN lawsuit by Nathan Place ( 08 July 2021 18:29) The Independent.
  16. The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything by Mike Rothschild (2021) Melville House. ISBN 1612199291.
  17. "Echoing QAnon forums, Michael Flynn appears to suggest a Myanmar-style coup should happen in the United States" by Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, 2021 May 31
  18. "US should have coup like Myanmar, former Trump advisor Michael Flynn tells QAnon conference in Texas" by Stuti Mishra, Independent, 2021 May 31
  19. "Michael Flynn denies suggesting a Myanmar-style military coup should happen in the US" by Connor Perret, Business Insider, 2021 May 31