In their Oval Office meeting two days after the 2016 election, President Obama warned then-President-elect Trump about including Michael Flynn in his new administration. New Jersey Governor Chis Christie also lobbied against hiring him.
But while initially considering those red-flag warnings, the new president decided instead to reward Flynn for his loyalty and hard work on the campaign by naming him National Security Advisor. It must have been too hard to resist rewarding the former 3-star Lieutenant General, especially for the constant “lock her up” chants he liked to lead at MAGA cult rallies.
His tenure as Trump’s top national security guy, as we now know, was short-lived. Soon, Flynn was fired after it came out that he lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about the nature and content of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
And it was within that context that Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI. He eventually pled guilty and agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
As part of his agreement cooperation, he also admitted to giving false statements to the FBI about being paid for lobbying on behalf of Turkey’s government. You may recall that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted the United States to extradite a political opponent living in Pennsylvania. Turkey paid Flynn’s lobbying group $600,000 to try and influence the government to make that occur.
At one time, Flynn was an outspoken critic of the Turkish government. The $600,000 contract turned him from being a critic — to a full-fledged backer of Erdogan and his policies, which included denigrating our long-time allies in the Iraq War, the Kurds.
The saga of Michael Flynn is a long and sordid affair, including his up and down relationship with the current president of the United States. For a more detailed account, you can read Carol Lee’s outstanding piece for NBC News here.
Last week, the current president pardoned Flynn – announcing it on Twitter, of course – and quickly became a rallying cry for the radical right. For some reason, the crazies seem to think Flynn is a hero who’s been badly mistreated by the “deep state.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Michael Flynn is no hero. He’s nothing more than an honorary member of the Trump swamp. The list is long and dubious, but it’s Flynn’s fall from grace that’s perhaps the most disappointing. After all, he served 33 years in the United States Army, including stints in Afghanistan and Iraq. We should commend him for that.
But something went wrong – terribly wrong, at some point in his life. Perhaps it’s nothing more than wanting to cash in on his long military career, as we see from the Turkish lobbying stint, as well as doing work for RT (Russia Today). By the way, the Russian speaking gig was another boondoggle for Flynn, earning him well over $30,000. Still, it also drew scrutiny from Congress as to whether he followed proper military protocols and procedures.
Shady dealings and questionable contacts are what Flynn is all about. In other words, he’s a perfect person to receive a pardon from the current president. However, it’s not just that he’s gone rogue in recent years. Now, as we see from this tweet, he’s become an official member of the crazy train of loonies and whack jobs we see daily from the radical right.
He is retweeting a press release from a group that calls itself the We the People Convention. They’re calling on the current president to invoke limited martial law to temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of federal elections to have the military conduct a national re-vote. That’s right. A life-long military guy and ‘hero’ of the radical right, is advocating for a coup in the United States of America. You can’t make this stuff up.
Hell, if you look at many of his recent tweets, he’s all-in on the bogus claims of election fraud, praising Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the clown car of “attorneys” who keep perpetuating the ridiculous scheme. There’s also a lot of patriotic imagery and bible verses referenced, which, of course, are prerequisites for membership in Crazy Town, USA.
But if that’s not enough to convince you of Flynn’s escape to la-la land, here he is on July 4, reciting the oath of, you guessed it, Q’Anon. That’s the conspiracy theory group that thought Hillary Clinton was part of a child sex trafficking ring in a pizza parlor basement.
The tragedy that is Michael Flynn epitomizes what we’ve all born witness to these past four years. There’s something about this president – this con man – that forces people to abandon all principles and morality to serve him.
In Flynn’s case, when forced with jail time, he abandoned the Mad King and cooperated with Mueller’s office to the degree at which they recommended he receive no jail time. The judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, however, was having none of it. He even questioned whether Flynn’s actions bordered on being treasonous, or, at the very least, a betrayal to the country.
Soon after, though, Flynn began to change his tune. He eventually wanted to change his plea to not guilty, and then Attorney General Bill Barr intervened, stating that the Justice Department wanted to withdraw the entire case against him.
And now Flynn’s come full circle. He’s back in good graces with the current president, and, in turn, the current president is back in good graces with him. His membership in the cult — renewed and solidified. His full embrace of nut jobs and conspiracy theorists replaces what was once considered a long and dedicated career in the United States military.
What a precipitous fall from grace it’s been for him. But that’s nothing new to those who’ve found themselves trapped inside the Mad King’s orbit. Once you’re inside, it’s hard to escape. Michael Flynn tried to leave, but he decided life on the outside wasn’t worth it.
We’ll probably never know the real reasons for what drove Michael Flynn to such disappointing and treasonous-like behavior. Was it all about the money? Or, is he one of those tragic figures in life who possessed considerable skills and intellect but lacked a moral center, which led him down the current Trumpian rabbit hole he now finds himself in.
When the loser Mad King exits the White House on January 20, 2021, he’ll take with him a long and dubious group of sycophants, conspiracy theorists, criminals, traitors, and other losers. They will soon become permanent members of the four-year ‘asterisk’ presidency.
But none will compare to the devastating fall from grace we all witnessed by Michael T. Flynn. That’s what he gets, though, for hanging out in MAGA world. At least he got a pardon.