Nine of Spades: Trump-pardoned Michael Flynn: Advocated martial law & seizing voting machines to overturn 2020 election

 

 

 

 

Big Picture?

There’s no Jan. 6 justice while Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon walk free

Evidence linking Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon has been out there since Jan. 6, 2021. Why no criminal charges?

 

Inside the Election Denial Groups Planning to Disrupt November

Groups like True the Vote and Michael Flynn’s America Project want to mobilize thousands of Trump supporters by pushing baseless claims about election fraud – and are rolling out technology to fast track their efforts

By David Gilbert

April 8, 2024

https://www.wired/com/catergory/politics

 

Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, president of The Center for Renewing America, part of a conservative consortium preparing for Trump’s return to power.

An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and has remained close to him.

Vought, who is frequently cited as a potential chief of staff in a second Trump White House, is president of The Center for Renewing America [CRA] think tank, a leading group in a conservative consortium preparing for a second Trump term.

Christian nationalists in America believe that the country was founded as a Christian nation and that Christian values should be prioritized throughout government and public life. As the country has become less religious and more diverse, Vought has embraced the idea that Christians are under assault and has spoken of policies he might pursue in response.

One document drafted by CRA staff and fellows includes a list of top priorities for CRA in a second Trump term. “Christian nationalism” is one of the bullet points. Others include invoking the Insurrection Act on Day One to quash protests and refusing to spend authorized congressional funds on unwanted projects, a practice banned by lawmakers in the Nixon era.

CRA’s work fits into a broader effort by conservative, MAGA-leaning organizations to influence a future Trump White House. Two people familiar with the plans, who were granted anonymity to discuss internal matters, said that Vought hopes his proximity and regular contact with the former president — he and Trump speak at least once a month, according to one of the people — will elevate Christian nationalism as a focal point in a second Trump term.

The documents obtained by POLITICO do not outline specific Christian nationalist policies. But Vought has promoted a restrictionist immigration agenda, saying a person’s background doesn’t define who can enter the U.S., but rather, citing Biblical teachings, whether that person “accept[ed] Israel’s God, laws and understanding of history.”

Vought has a close affiliation with Christian nationalist William Wolfe, a former Trump administration official who has advocated for overturning same-sex marriage, ending abortion and reducing access to contraceptives.

Vought, who declined to comment, is advising Project 2025, a governing agenda that would usher in one of the most conservative executive branches in modern American history. The effort is made up of a constellation of conservative groups run by Trump allies who’ve constructed a detailed plan to dismantle or overhaul key agencies in a second term. Among other principles, the project’s “Mandate for Leadership” states that “freedom is defined by God, not man.”

The Trump campaign has said repeatedly that it alone is responsible for assembling a policy platform and staffing for a future administration. In response to various news articles about how conservatives are preparing for a second Trump term, campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said in a memo late last year: “Despite our being crystal clear, some ‘allies’ haven’t gotten the hint, and the media, in their anti-Trump zeal, has been all-too-willing to continue using anonymous sourcing and speculation about a second Trump administration in an effort to prevent a second Trump administration.”

Trump’s campaign declined to comment for this story.

Rachel Cauley, CRA’s communication director, said “the so-called reporting from POLITICO in this story is false and we told them so on multiple occasions.”

Trump is not a devout man of faith. But Christian Nationalists have been among his most reliable campaign activists and voting blocs. Trump formed a political alliance with evangelicals during his first run for office, delivered them a six to three conservative majority on the Supreme Court and is now espousing the Christian right’s long-running argument that Christians are so severely persecuted that it necessitates a federal response.

In a December campaign speech in Iowa, he said “Marxists and fascists” are “going hard” against Catholics. “Upon taking office, I will create a new federal task force on fighting anti-Christian bias to be led by a fully reformed Department of Justice that’s fair and equitable” and that will “investigate all forms of illegal discrimination.”

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Trump promoted on his social media a video that suggests his campaign is, actually, a divine mission from God.

In 2019, Trump’s then-secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, set up a federal commission to define human rights based on the precepts Vought describes, specifically “natural law and natural rights.” Natural law is the belief that there are universal rules derived from God that can’t be superseded by government or judges. While it is a core pillar of Catholicism, in recent decades it’s been used to oppose abortion, LGBTQ+ rights and contraception.

Vought sees his and his organization’s mission as “renew[ing] a consensus of America as a nation under God,” per a statement on CRA’s website, and reshaping the government’s contract with the governed. Freedom of religion would remain a protected right, but Vought and his ideological brethren would not shy from using their administration positions to promote Christian doctrine and imbue public policy with it, according to both people familiar with the matter, granted anonymity to avoid retaliation. He makes clear reference to human rights being defined by God, not man.

America should be recognized as a Christian nation “where our rights and duties are understood to come from God,” Vought wrote two years ago in Newsweek.

“It is a commitment to an institutional separation between church and state, but not the separation of Christianity from its influence on government and society,” he continued, noting such a framework “can lead to beneficial outcomes for our own communities, as well as individuals of all faiths.”

He went on to accuse detractors of Christian nationalism of invoking the term to try to scare people. “’Christian nationalism’ is actually a rather benign and useful description for those who believe in both preserving our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and making public policy decisions that are best for this country,” he wrote. “The term need not be subjected to such intense scorn due to misunderstanding or slander.”

To ingratiate himself in conservative circles — and Christian conservative ones — Trump has often turned to operatives from them. Among those who helped was Vought.

As OMB director in the Trump administration, Vought became a disciple of the “America First” movement. He has been a steadfast proponent of keeping the U.S. out of foreign wars and slashing federal spending.

CRA is already wielding influence on Trump’s positions. His thinking on withdrawing the U.S. from NATO and using military force against Mexican drug cartels is partly inspired by separate CRA papers, according to reports by Rolling Stone.

“Russell Vought did a fabulous job in my administration, and I have no doubt he will do a great job in continuing our quest to make America great again,” reads a Trump quote prominently placed on CRA’s website.

Trump will have a major platform to convey his vision for Christian policy in a second term when, on Feb. 22, he addresses a National Religious Broadcasters forum in Nashville. The group is the world’s largest association of Christian communicators.

Trump is also talking about bringing his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a vocal proponent of Christian nationalism, back into office. Flynn is currently focused on recruiting what he calls an “Army of God” — as he barnstorms the country promoting his vision of putting Christianity at the center of American life.

Vought’s beliefs over time have been informed by his relationship with Wolfe. The two spent time together at Heritage Action, a conservative policy advocacy group. And Vought has praised their yearslong partnership. “I’m proud to work with @William_E_Wolfe on scoping out a sound Christian Nationalism,” he posted on X, then Twitter, in January 2023.

Vought often echoes Wolfe’s principles, including on immigration. “Jesus Christ wasn’t an open-borders socialist,” Wolfe wrote for The Daily Caller in April while a visiting CRA fellow. “The Bible unapologetically upholds the concept of sovereign nations.”

While speaking in September at American Moment’s “ Theology of American Statecraft: The Christian Case for Immigration Restriction” on Capitol Hill in September, Vought defended the widely-criticized practice of family separation at the border during the Trump years, telling the audience “the decision to defend the rule of law necessitates the separation of families.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 offers more visibility into what policy agenda a future Trump administration might pursue. It says policies that support LGBTQ+ rights, subsidize “single-motherhood” and penalize marriage should be repealed because subjective notions of “gender identity” threaten “Americans’ fundamental liberties.”

It also proposes increasing surveillance of abortion and maternal mortality reporting in the states, compelling the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of “chemical abortion drugs” and protecting “religious and moral” objections for employers who decline contraception coverage for employees. One of the groups that partners with Project 2025, Turning Point USA, is among conservative influencers that health professionals have criticized for targeting young women with misleading health concerns about hormonal birth control. Another priority is defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care to low-income women.

Wolfe, who has deleted several posts on X that detail his views, has a more extreme outlook of what a government led by Christian nationalists should propose. In a December post, he called for ending sex education in schools, surrogacy and no-fault divorce throughout the country, as well as forcing men “to provide for their children as soon as it’s determined the child is theirs” — a clear incursion by the government into Americans’ private lives.

“Christians should reject a Christ-less ‘conservatism,’” he expanded in another X missive, “and demand the political movement we are most closely associated with make a return to Christ-centered foundations. Because it’s either Christ or chaos, even on the ‘Right.’”

Wolfe declined to comment.

The effort to imbue laws with biblical principles is already underway in some states. In Texas, Christian conservative supporters have pressured the legislature to require public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom; targeted prohibitions on churches against direct policy advocacy and organized campaigns around “culture war” issues, including curbing LGBTQ+ rights, banning books and opposing gun safety laws.

“There’s been a tectonic shift in how the leadership of the religious right operates,” said Matthew Taylor, a scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, who grew up evangelical. “These folks aren’t as interested in democracy or working through democratic systems as in the old religious right because their theology is one of Christian warfare.”

A MILITARY LOYAL TO TRUMP

In 2020, the armed forces were a bulwark against Donald Trump’s antidemocratic designs. Changing that would be a high priority in a second term.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2024/01/trump-defense-department-military-loyalty/676140/

 

 

Trump pardoned them. Now they’re helping him return to power.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2023/trump-pardon-power-2024-benefit/

 

What Sidney Powell’s Deal Could Mean for the Fulton County Case Against Trump

“I think there are a lot of people who are in more trouble than they were before.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/10/sidney-powell-guilty-plea-trump-fulton-county-case

Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Daysha Young read aloud in court the facts prosecutors would have presented against Powell at trial, describing how Powell entered into a conspiracy with several co-defendants in the case. The purpose of the conspiracy, Young said, was to unlawfully access election machines in Coffee County. At the center of the conspiracy, Young argued, was Powell’s move to retain Sullivan Strickler, an Atlanta-based cyber-forensics firm — an effort that was first publicly revealed by the Post.

Her testimony could reveal whether others in Trump’s orbit were involved with or aware of the scheme. There are some clues about ways Powell may be able to link members of Trump’s inner circle to the far-fetched effort. In a December 2020 email — which was read aloud during a deposition taken by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack — Powell seems to have kept Meadows — another defendant in the Georgia case — apprised of efforts to access voting software in various states.

“Georgia machine access promised in meeting Friday night,” part of the email read. A lawyer for Meadows did not respond to a request for comment.

[Boldface added]

 

Prosecutors drop charges against Bijan Kian, a onetime business partner of Michael Flynn

BY MATTHEW BARAKAT

https://apnews.com/article/russia-bijan-kian-turkey-flynn-dropped-charges

[Excerpts:]

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Federal prosecutors on Monday dropped charges against Bijan Kian, a onetime business partner of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who had been accused of acting as an unregistered agent of the Turkish government.

Monday’s decision ends a five-year legal saga for Kian, whose case received significant attention when he was charged in 2018 as a spinoff from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference.

Prosecutors alleged that Kian and Flynn, who were partners in an entity called the Flynn Intel Group, were acting at Turkey’s behest when they undertook a project to discredit exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen has been sought for extradition from the U.S. by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who blames Gulen for an attempted coup in that country.

The government’s case had been thrown into disarray at the outset of trial when it decided not to call Flynn, who was expected to be prosecutors’ star witness. Flynn acknowledged in a separate case that he made false statements about work he performed that benefited Turkey; he had hoped at one point that cooperating with prosecutors in Kian’s case would help him receive a lighter sentence in his own case. But he later sought to rescind his guilty plea and stopped cooperating.

Last year Trenga issued a 51-page ruling ordering that new trial. Among other factors, he cited evidence that an actual conspiracy involved Flynn and Alptekin, with Kian excluded from the arrangement.

Flynn, who received a presidential pardon in 2020, became a chief promoter of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

 

Georgia panel urged criminal charges against Lindsey Graham, Michael Flynn and other Trump allies

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney Cleta Mitchell, and former Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were also among those who were recommended for indictments.

Sen. Lindsey Graham came under scrutiny for his efforts to contact Georgia election officials after the 2020 election and press them on vote-counting procedures while in the middle of an ongoing recount. | Francis Chung/POLITICO

A special grand jury convened by Georgia prosecutors recommended criminal indictments of Sen. Lindsey Graham and a slew of other allies of Donald Trump who have not been charged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, according to a report unsealed Friday.

The special grand jury, which led a year-long investigation of efforts to subvert the 2020 election in Georgia, helped Willis compile a massive trove of evidence that she used to secure a sprawling indictment last month against Trump and 18 alleged co-conspirators, including Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and others.

But the special grand jury report, which was filed in December but had been largely kept confidential until Friday, shows that a majority of the panel urged her to indict a much wider array of figures linked to the effort.

They include:

  • Graham, the South Carolina senator who came under scrutiny for his efforts to contact Georgia election officials after the election
  • Former senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia
  • Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn
  • Former national security adviser Michael Flynn
  • Attorney Cleta Mitchell

There’s no Jan. 6 justice while Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon walk free

Evidence linking Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon has been out there since Jan. 6, 2021. Why no criminal charges?

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Roger Stone — the major GOP fixer dating back to the Richard Nixon era — was a major player in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when an insurrection roiled Capitol Hill. Heck, Inspector Clouseau or Mall Cop’s Paul Blart could probably find this connection.

“This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light, between the godly and the godless, between good and evil,” Stone told a throng of Donald Trump supporters at a chilly evening rally on Jan. 5, less than 24 hours before several thousand stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power to President Joe Biden. As Stone spoke, he was surrounded by members of the Proud Boys, the group whose leaders would later be convicted of sedition for their role in the insurrection. He added that “I will be with you tomorrow, shoulder-to-shoulder” — even though his exact whereabouts on Jan. 6 are unknown.

Stone was spotted the morning of the storming of the Capitol on the front steps of Washington’s famed Willard Hotel, this time surrounded by members of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group, which has also been taken down in the Jan. 6 probe. Inside the hotel, as the attempted coup unfolded, was a rogues’ gallery of Trump World that included two disgraced former top aides to the 45th president, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon, and two lawyers who were recently indicted in Georgia along with Trump, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

While Trump, front-runner for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, prepares to defend himself in four separate criminal cases, Stone burst back into the headlines last week with the release of documentary footage showing that the convicted-and-pardoned Trump adviser was discussing a version of the so-called fake electors scheme on Nov. 5, 2020 — even before TV networks had called the race for Biden.

“Any legislative body may decide on the basis of overwhelming evidence of fraud to send electors to the Electoral College who accurately reflect the president’s legitimate victory in their state which was illegally denied him through fraud,” Stone dictated to an aide, as captured on video by filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen. The never-before-seen footage proves that at least one key Trump adviser was pushing to overturn Biden victories in key states two days before the election was even called for Biden. Analysts say the tape seriously undercuts Trump’s potential defense that he truly believed he had won the 2020 election.

To me, the new video is merely more proof of what we’ve already known for more than two years: Stone was up to his eyeballs in involvement in the two-month campaign to overturn the legitimate election results that led to the violence on Jan. 6. But it also points to one of the biggest remaining mysteries around Trump’s attempted coup.

With more than 1,100 people criminally charged in connection with Jan. 6 or the events leading up to it — from the foot soldiers who breached the Capitol to the leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to Trump and his legal advisers — how has Stone gone untouched?

And what about the others who comprised what could be called the political wing of the attempted coup? That includes Flynn — the former general and short-time national security adviser to Trump — who joined Stone in urging on the January protesters and who offered strategic advice to Trump and his team during the key December run-up. And also Bannon, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and former White House aide, who was also part of the Willard Hotel “war room” during insurrection week and who warned his podcast listeners that “all hell is going to break loose.”

The fate of these three major insiders says a lot about whether there can truly be justice for Jan. 6. Certainly, the recent indictment of Trump by special counsel Jack Smith around the schemes to prevent the certification of Biden’s victory is a major, unprecedented step. That said, what was arguably the most serious crime in American history — in essence, an attempted overthrow of democracy — demands legal accountability for everyone involved.

And there’s another bit of urgency around proving the extent of the Jan. 6 insurrection plot and the direct involvement of Trump — who was in contact with Stone, Flynn, and Bannon during this critical period. Legal scholars have suggested that Trump could be disqualified from seeking the presidency in 2024 under the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who took part in an insurrection against the United States.

 

Trump tells former adviser Michael Flynn: ‘We’re going to bring you back’

May 15, 2023
[Excerpt:]

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump called into an event hosted by his former national security adviser Michael Flynn over the weekend, telling his ex-adviser, “We’re going to bring you back.”

After scrubbing a rally in Iowa on Saturday night because of bad weather, Trump spoke via telephone at an event for Flynn’s “ReAwaken America Tour” held at the former president’s Miami resort. The retired lieutenant general, a top figure in the far-right movement, has been one of the leading proponents of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

‘It’s Not a Short List’: Trump Probe Grand Jury to Recommend Slew of Indictments

“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” the forewoman said when asked if they’ll ask for the former president to be charged

A Georgia grand jury investigating whether Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies meddled in the state’s 2020 presidential election will recommend a series of indictments on various charges, according to a report from The New York Times. “It’s not a short list,” jury forewoman Emily Kohrs said of the list of indictment recommendations, which remains sealed.“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” Kohrs added when asked if the jury would be recommending an indictment against Trump.

The names and specific charges being recommended by the grand jury have yet to be made public, but Kohrs indicated to the Times that “if the judge releases the recommendations, it is not going to be some giant plot twist.”The grand jury previously indicated that it suspected several witnesses of having committed perjury throughout the course of their investigation. Since Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened the grand jury last year, it has subpoenaed several Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

[Boldface added]

The grand jury also subpoenaed the “fake electors” who participated in the scheme to overturn the election results. Willis informed all 16 of them last year that they are also targets in the investigation. Trump is also a target The former president pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary to flip the state to him. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said just days before the election was certified.

The grand jury’s recommendations are only that, however. It does not possess the power to directly indict individuals. Willis will make the final determination about whom to charge.

 

 

Inside the secretive effort by Trump allies to access voting machines

How rural Coffee County, Ga., became an early target in the multistate search for purported evidence of fraud after the 2020 election

By Emma Brown and Jon Swaine

October 28, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2022/10/28/coffee-county-georgia-voting-trump/

[Excerpts:]

The Post examination shows how unfounded suspicions in Coffee County spiraled into an alleged breach that was organized in part by pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and paid for by her nonprofit, which at the time counted former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn among its directors. This account is based on interviews and documents obtained through public-records requests as well as surveillance video, text messages, and depositions and other records that were gathered by the plaintiffs in the long-running lawsuit, who contend that Georgia’s elections are not secure.

In response to a request for comment, Powell referred The Post to her testimony before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. That testimony is not public. Flynn did not respond to similar inquiries.

In a statement, Dominion said, “No credible evidence has ever been presented to any court or authority that voting machines did anything other than count votes accurately and reliably in all states.”

Coffee County’s refusal to certify was also cited in one of the most extreme measures proposed by Trump allies after the election: a Dec. 16 draft executive order authorizing the Defense Department to seize voting machines. At a now-infamous meeting at the White House two days later, Powell and Flynn tried to persuade Trump to seize machines and empower Powell to investigate. 

[Boldface added]

 

The Desecrations of Michael Flynn

The former national security adviser is fusing deranged political ideas with a mangled version of the Christian faith.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/michael-flynn-maga-christian-trump/671852

 

Prayer at Pro-Trump Rally Blasts ‘RINO Trash’ and ‘Deep State’

https://www.newsweek.com/prayer-pro-trump-rally-blasts-rino-trash-deep-state-1754088

A speaker at a pro-Trump rally in Pennsylvania blasted the “deep state” and “RINOs,” which is the acronym for Republicans in name only, to kick off its second day of events on Saturday.

The “ReAwaken America Tour” rally began on Friday, and includes speakers who have backed QAnon conspiracy theories and spread falsehoods about how the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump in favor of Joe Biden.

“Opening prayer today at Eric Trump and Michael Flynn’s QAnon event,” tweeted Ron Filipkowski, a former federal prosecutor who posted the video to Twitter, which has now been viewed more than 700,000 times as of Saturday afternoon.

In the video, the speaker can be heard saying: “Father god, we come to you in the name of Jesus. We’re asking you to open the eyes of President Trump’s understanding. That he will know the time of divine intervention.”

“He will know how to implement divine intervention. And you will surround him father with none of this deep state trash, none of this RINO trash. You’ll surround him with people that you pick with your own mighty hand,” the speaker continued.

Representative Adam Zinger, an Illinois Republican, retweeted the video on Saturday and wrote: “Psychosis.”

During the first day of the rally, another speaker named Bo Polny, warned high profile U.S. politicians that the “Angel of Death is coming for them” by the end of the year. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, President Joe BidenSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP Georgia Governor Brian Kemp are among the politicians singled out at the event.

Speakers at the two-day rally include Trump ally Roger Stone, former Trump adviser and retired U.S. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and Eric Trump. Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, is scheduled to be the event’s final speaker.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Kinzinger for comment.

Trump has frequently taken aim at those he declares to be “RINOs” in the Republican Party. In July, he slammed Paul Ryan, former Speaker of the House, who he called a “RINO,” and blamed him for declining quality of Fox News coverage.

“Did anyone notice that Fox News went lame (bad!) when weak RINO Paul Ryan, who is despised in the Great State of Wisconsin for being ‘a pathetic loser,’ went on the Fox Board,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Last December, Trump spoke with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo about the importance of having strong candidates run in the primaries in this year’s midterms.

“We have candidates that are not strong, they’re RINOs, and they’re not strong,” Trump said without revealing names. “We need tougher people. We need people that are going to be able to win for our country. Not win for me, by the way, [but] win for our country, and we have some great candidates.”

He also ripped Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a “disaster” and said that “Republicans have to get a new leader.”

Former Trump adviser Michael Flynn ‘at the center’ of new movement based on conspiracies and Christian nationalism

 

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/former-trump-adviser-michael-flynn-at-the-center-of-new-movement-based-on-conspiracies-and-christian-nationalism

BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — The crowd swayed on its feet, arms pumping, the beat of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” thumping in their chests. The people under the revival tent hooted as Michael Flynn strode across the stage, bopping and laughing, singing the refrain into his microphone and encouraging the audience to sing along to the transgressive rock anthem.

“We’ll fight the powers that be just/Don’t pick our destiny ’cause/You don’t know us, you don’t belong!”

The emcee introduced him as “America’s General,” but to those in the audience, Flynn is far more than that: martyr, hero, leader, patriot, warrior.

The retired lieutenant general, former national security adviser, onetime anti-terrorism fighter, is now focused on his next task: building a movement centered on Christian nationalist ideas, where Christianity is at the center of American life and institutions.

Flynn brought his fight — a struggle he calls both spiritual and political — last month to a church in Batavia, New York, where thousands of people paid anywhere from a few dollars to up to $500 to hear and absorb his message that the United States is facing an existential threat, and that to save the nation, his supporters must act.

Flynn, 63, has used public appearances to energize voters, along with political endorsements to build alliances and a network of nonprofit groups — one of which has projected spending $50 million — to advance the movement, an investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” has found. He has drawn together election deniers, mask and vaccine opponents, insurrectionists, Proud Boys, and elected officials and leaders in state and local Republican parties. Along the way, the AP and “Frontline” documented, Flynn and his companies have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his efforts.

READ MORE: Twitter bans Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell in QAnon purge

The AP and “Frontline” spoke with more than 60 people, including Flynn’s family, friends, opponents, and current and former colleagues, for this story. The news organizations also reviewed campaign finance records, corporate and charity filings, social media posts and similar open-source information, and attended several public events where Flynn appeared. Reporters examined dozens of Flynn’s speeches, interviews and public appearances. Flynn himself sat down for a rare on-camera interview with what he calls the mainstream media.

“I don’t even know why I’m talking to you, honestly,” Flynn said as the interview got underway.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, Flynn made more than 60 in-person speeches in 24 states, according to a count by the AP and “Frontline.” When he speaks, the former top adviser to then-President Donald Trump spreads baseless conspiracy theories, stoking fear and fueling anger and division and grievance.

Flynn is “one of the most dangerous individuals in America today,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian and expert on authoritarianism and fascism who wrote the book “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.”

“He is spearheading the attack on our democracy, which is coming from many quarters, and he is affiliated with many of these sectors, from the military to Christian nationalism to election denial to extremist groups,” she said. “All of this comes together to present a very live threat. And he’s at the center.”

Flynn has, with mixed success, supported like-minded candidates around the country, and has said his immediate goal is to influence this year’s elections. In Sarasota, Florida, where he lives, he has worked in concert with members of the extremist group the Proud Boys to influence local politics. Their favored candidates in August won control of the county school board.

“Local action has a national impact” is his mantra.

“We need to take this country back one town at a time, one county at a time, one state at a time, if that’s what it takes,” he told a crowd in Salt Lake City.

The ultimate insider

Flynn’s advocacy of falsehoods and conspiracy theories hardly makes him unique in a fact-challenged America, but his pedigree, military career and high-powered Washington contacts set him apart. He’s a retired three-star general who less than two decades ago developed wartime strategies for countering insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His selection as Trump’s first national security adviser made him the ultimate insider, giving him nominal control — if only for a matter of weeks — of the administration’s national security strategy. When he later found himself in legal trouble on suspicion that he had lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, he cooperated with the same government establishment he now crusades against.

In the weeks after the November 2020 presidential election, Flynn picked up a presidential pardon — granted to forgive his guilty plea to lying to the FBI. He immediately became a chief promoter of the “Stop the Steal” effort and championed bogus claims about foreign interference and ballot tampering that weren’t supported by credible evidence. But for some voters, Flynn’s status as a retired general and top intelligence officer gave weight to the empty theories.

He falsely said Trump won, called the election outcome part of “a coup in progress,” suggested Trump should seize voting machines and said Trump could order up the military in some states and rerun the election. In December 2020 he even made his way into the Oval Office to push his ideas directly to Trump.

Called before a congressional committee investigating the Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, Flynn refused to say whether he believed the violence was justified or even whether he believed in the peaceful transition of power. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

WATCH: How new technologies could accelerate the spread of conspiracy theories

Retired Brig. Gen. Steven M. Anderson, who served with Flynn in Iraq, called Flynn’s ideas antithetical to core values of the American military and the nation itself.

Anderson worries that Flynn is “a role model for thousands and thousands and thousands of soldiers and former soldiers,” and that his ideas can empower them to take actions that hurt the country.

“We’ve got a retired three-star, former NSA, who says we can overthrow the election, use our military,” Anderson said. The thinking goes, he said, “Well, then yes, sign me up for the Proud Boys.”

Flynn uses the three stars he earned in the military as his symbol, a shorthand that reminds people he came from the highest levels of the nation’s power structure — and that suggests he has a special knowledge of how things work in the shadowy world of Washington and global affairs.

“It’s a crying shame that essentially he has evolved into the person he is now,” said Anderson, who described his former colleague as a “subservient buffoon that unfortunately has forsaken his oath of office.”

Doug Wise, a former CIA and military officer who knew Flynn for decades and briefly served as Flynn’s deputy at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said even in the military, Flynn often pushed the envelope of what was permissible and demonstrated “extreme thinking.” He believes Flynn hasn’t transformed, he’s just become more comfortable acting on the anger that burns inside him.

“I understand the reasons why he gravitated to the right wing because as his behavior and beliefs became more bizarre, I think they were very welcoming. Because who wouldn’t want a highly respected Army three-star to join your group?” Wise said.

“I think he believed, post-government, and he was right in this … that he was too well-connected to fail,” Wise said. “And he got pardoned.”

Flynn sees conspiracies in just about every corner of American life.

He’s repeated falsehoods about Black Lives Matter and said that so-called globalists created COVID-19. He tells the tens of thousands of people who have paid to see him speak that there are 75 members of the Socialist Party in Congress, and has said the left and Democrats are trying to destroy the country. He asserts, above all else, that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values. The bedrock, he warns, is crumbling.

The country, Flynn often says in speeches and interviews, is in the midst of a “spiritual war,” and he goes after many of the institutions and ideas that stand as pillars of American democracy.

He has told audiences he doesn’t trust the U.S. government or government institutions that oversee the rule of law. He called the media “the No. 1 enemy” and said it has done a “horrible, horrible disservice to the country by just constantly lying and trying to deceive us.” He says elementary schools are teaching “filth” and “pornography.” He continues to assert, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, that elections can’t be trusted. He says, over and over, that some of his fellow Americans are “evil.”

“They dress like us and they talk like us, but they don’t think and act like us,” he told a podcaster recently. “And they definitely do not want what it is that we want.”

‘Heavy armaments’

Survey data shows many Americans believe what Flynn says — that the 2020 election was stolen — and have bought into COVID-19 misinformation and other conspiracy theories that he spreads, said Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a professor of history at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who studies the evangelical movement.

“Any of these factors alone could be considered dangerous. But all of them together and the distrust it is sowing in our democracy,” Du Mez said. “I think it’s extremely dangerous in this moment.”

She points to Flynn’s role as headliner of a multicity roadshow known as the ReAwaken America tour, an event that is a potent mix of politics, religion and commerce that has become a prime example of the Christian nationalist movement.

Flynn helped found the tour in 2021 with Clay Clark, an entrepreneur from Oklahoma who had been running business conferences before the pandemic. In his interview with the AP and “Frontline” in February, Flynn said he considered himself a “senior leader” of the team that’s running it.

The thread of Christian nationalism runs through many of Flynn’s events. At one fundraiser, a preacher prayed over him saying that America would stay a Christian nation and that Flynn was “heavy armaments” in the Lord’s quiver. At the Christian Patriot’s Rally at a church in Northern California, Flynn was presented with an assault-style rifle on stage. In Virginia in July, he said pastors “need to be talking about the Constitution from the pulpit as much as the Bible.” In Texas last November, Flynn told a crowd “this is a moment in time where this is good versus evil.”

WATCH: Examining the crisis in America’s democracy and the polarization of its politics

“If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God, right?” he said.

Christian nationalism seeks to merge the identity of Christians and Americans, so that to be a “true” American is to be Christian — and a certain type of Christian. The ideology pushes the idea that the United States was founded on biblical principles and has a favored relationship with a Christian God, said Samuel Perry, a sociologist at the University of Oklahoma who studies conservative Christianity and politics.

It is distinct from the practice of Christianity, and Perry’s research has found that many Americans who are inclined toward Christian nationalism don’t go to church.

“This has nothing to do with Christian orthodoxy. It has nothing to do with loving Jesus or wanting to be a good disciple or loving your neighbor or self-sacrifice or anything like that,” Perry said. “It has everything to do with Christian ethno-culture and specifically white Christian ethno-culture.”

Flynn casts himself as a victim of “the deep state” who paid a steep price for supporting Trump. Besides Trump, his supporters say, no one has been persecuted more than Flynn.

Flynn’s rhetoric — us versus them, good versus evil, the idea that God is on “our” side — has been a staple among conservative Christians for decades, and is mainstream in conservative evangelicalism, Du Mez said.

The thinking, she said, can fuel violence.

“They’re out to get us. Therefore, we need to strike first. And the threat is always dire,” Du Mez says the thinking goes. “And if the threat is dire, then the ends justify the means.”

“These values are not unconnected from the violence that we saw on Jan. 6,” she added.

(When the AP and “Frontline” asked Flynn in February if he is ascribes to Christian nationalist views, he dodged. He first asked what the term meant, then said he was “an Irish Catholic” then a “follower of Jesus,” before criticizing the reporter: “That was a stupid question to ask me,” he said, “because that means that you really have not studied Mike Flynn.”)

Last October, Flynn was the star attraction at the WeCANAct Liberty Conference, a gathering in Salt Lake City for Utah’s Platform Republicans PAC.

The program included dozens of speakers and exhibitors talking about a grab bag of ideas and causes that have seized and panicked the right — about vaccines, human trafficking, elections and the QAnon conspiracy theory.

WATCH: Their loved ones are ‘obsessed’ with QAnon conspiracies. It’s tearing their families apart

Among the sponsors and exhibitors were the John Birch Society; businesses selling everything from texting services for political campaigns to food dehydrators; Ammon Bundy’s anti-government People’s Rights group; and America’s Frontline Doctors, which has spread false information about COVID-19 and promoted unproven treatments such as ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasitic infections. State lawmakers from Arizona and Utah spoke, and members of the Utah Republican Party’s governing committee were among the organizers.

The program kicked off with an invocation by a preacher who brought the crowd to its feet as he described a “prophecy” of a “Great Awakening” where “Americans are going to rise up and defeat the cabal.”

“We are in a spiritual war, and you can’t win a war without attacking,” he said.

The preacher ended by leading the crowd in what he called a “new version of the Lord’s Prayer that fits the Great Awakening.” The crowd repeated after him as he said: “Deliver us from the cabal, and from Satan’s influence. For yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory. Forever and ever and ever. Amen.”

Flynn appeared a few times throughout the day, at one point sitting in the audience. Across the Salt Palace Convention Center, people jostled their seatmates to point him out and craned their necks to see him.

That evening, he gave a meandering speech that he referred to as “an ass-chewing from a general.” He falsely declared once again that Trump had won the 2020 election, said “our government is corrupt,” and called for the FBI to be abolished, a surprising applause line in October 2021 that has now being taken up more broadly by some Republicans.

He called the left “our enemies” and said they are “godless” and “soulless.”

One of Flynn’s companies, Resilient Patriot LLC, was paid $58,000 by the conference. An AP and “Frontline” review of state and federal campaign finance filings documented nearly $300,000 in payments to Flynn and his businesses from candidates and political action committees since 2021, for things such as speaking fees, travel, book sales and campaign consulting. (Florida congressional candidate Laura Loomer reported paying his company $1,100 in May for public relations services.)

After Flynn’s keynote concluded, a podcaster helping to wrap things up for the evening came onstage and called him “one of the new founding fathers of this republic.”

99 endorsements

As Flynn speaks and stumps to persuade people to join his movement, he has also been busy building a network of political candidates at the federal, state and local levels.

The AP and “Frontline” found that Flynn has endorsed 99 candidates for the 2022 election cycle. (He subsequently withdrew a handful.)

The country’s most influential Republican is paying attention. Flynn’s brother Joseph told an interviewer in May that during a visit the Flynns made to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate this spring, Trump himself produced a list comparing the success of his endorsed candidates with Flynn’s.

At least 80 percent of Flynn’s chosen candidates have publicly spread lies or sown doubt about Trump’s 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden, or even participated in efforts to overthrow the election, the AP and “Frontline” found. Several have suggested they would use their power if elected to change the way elections are run and how people are allowed to cast their vote.

About two dozen were at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5-6, 2021.

One-third have served in the military.

At least 38 have used Christian nationalist rhetoric. Keith Self, a congressional candidate in Texas, has said he’s running for Congress “ to defend the Judeo-Christian foundations of this nation.” Christine Villaverde, a congressional candidate in North Carolina, has vowed to fight to keep America “a Christian nation.” Anthony Sabatini, a Florida state lawmaker who just lost a bid for Congress, recently posted on Facebook, “Only when Christians stand up & get loud, will we take this country back.”

READ MORE: Trump should not run for president in 2024, majority of Americans say

Flynn’s support can be a sought-after prize. An AP and “Frontline” analysis of Facebook and Instagram ad data found ads from more than 20 candidates promoting their endorsements. Jackson Lahmeyer, an Oklahoma pastor who was defeated in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate by Sen. James Lankford, mentioned Flynn in 48 Facebook and Instagram ads, more than one-quarter of his total buy on the platforms.

Pastor Leon Benjamin, a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia who denounced homosexuality and called gay marriages illegal in an August speech, said in an interview that Flynn’s endorsement represents “that affirmation and that understanding that we’ve got to have the right candidates in, and it’s not always popular, not always goes along with the grain.”

“If we keep doing the same things over and over again, that’s the definition of insanity,” he added. “So we got to do some different things to get different results.”

More than 40 of Flynn’s endorsements were for candidates seeking state or even local posts, the AP and “Frontline” found. Flynn endorsed two school board contenders in Camdenton, Missouri, candidates for sheriff in Florida, Nevada and Illinois and a city council candidate in North Carolina. He endorsed candidates for the state legislature in Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Missouri. In Arizona, Michigan, California and Colorado, he gave his approval to candidates for secretary of state, a position that typically involves the administration of elections.

A dozen gubernatorial candidates won Flynn’s backing, including Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee, Doug Mastriano, a state lawmaker whom Flynn introduced at his campaign launch. Mastriano, a retired U.S. Army colonel, floated a plan to undo Biden’s victory in his state, organized buses to the U.S. Capitol for Jan. 6 and was filmed walking past barricades and police lines that day. Mastriano has denied breaking the law and has not been charged with any crimes. Another Flynn endorsee, Dan Cox, who also organized buses for Jan. 6, won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Maryland.

Still, Flynn’s endorsement doesn’t guarantee a win. Josh Mandel, the Ohio U.S. Senate candidate, was defeated by JD Vance, who got a late endorsement from Trump. Some Flynn-backed candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Joey Gilbert in Nevada and Colorado secretary of state candidate Tina Peters, made baseless claims of election fraud after they lost.

Flynn and his allies have suggested he wants to get back into government, and the growing influence that flows from the network he’s building may help him get there, said Ron Filipkowski, a lawyer in Sarasota and longtime Republican activist who now tracks Flynn and other far-right figures online.

“He’s going to build this grassroots movement, local elected officials beholden to him, loyal to him,” Filipkowski said.

Financing election denial

Flynn has expanded his influence further through well-financed groups that advocate, among other things, changes to the way elections are run, based on the false premise that there is widespread voting fraud.

Flynn and Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com, last year launched The America Project, with Flynn’s brother Joseph as president. The group said it planned to spend $50 million in the 2021 budget year, according to a filing with North Carolina charity regulators. But Joseph Flynn and Byrne separately told AP that it had spent tens of millions less, though each gave different totals.

While Flynn himself is not listed among its officers, he is the face of the group, and it’s described as “General Flynn and Patrick Byrne’s America Project.” Byrne says Flynn is his closest adviser, telling the AP and “Frontline” that Flynn is his “Yoda” and “rabbi.”

In April 2021, Flynn was named chairman of America’s Future, one of the country’s oldest conservative nonprofit groups. The organization was founded in 1946 and was previously led by ultra-conservative stalwarts, including Phyllis Schlafly and retired Maj. Gen. John Singlaub. Since Flynn took over, the group hired his sister, Mary O’Neill, as executive director and appointed Joseph Flynn to its board of directors. The group had about $3 million in assets at the end of 2020, its most recent IRS filings show. Flynn told the AP and “Frontline” in February that he had raised an estimated $1.7 million for America’s Future since becoming chairman.

The two groups worked in close coordination last year, together donating more than $4.2 million for a widely criticized and misinformation-driven review of the 2020 presidential election results commissioned by Arizona Republicans.

The America Project has given about $5 million to “grassroots organizations” around the country, Joseph Flynn said in a July appearance on an online show.

NEWT GINGRICH, MICHAEL FLYNN ASKED TO TESTIFY IN GEORGIA ELECTION INTERFERENCE PROBE

The criminal investigation has reached a slew of Donald Trump loyalists, including Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/10/newt-gingrich-michael-flynn-asked-to-testify-in-georgia-election-interference-probe?

[Excerpts:]

Other Trump allies who have faced or could face the special grand jury include lawyers Rudy GiulianiSidney PowellJohn Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is currently challenging a subpoena in court.

The petition seeking Flynn’s testimony said the former national security adviser was at the infamous December 18, 2020 White House meeting—along with Powell, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump—to discuss the ideas of seizing voting machines and appointing Powell to lead the legal efforts to contest the presidential election results. “The meeting has been called unhinged, not normal, and the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said, describing the gathering during the January 6 hearings.

On November 25, 2020, then-president Trump pardoned Flynn, after he pleaded guilty—not once, but twice—to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with a Russian ambassador. (He was the only member of the Trump administration to be charged in the Mueller investigation.)

Georgia county validates thousands of voters challenged by Trump allies

September 22, 2022

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/georgia-county-validates-thousands-voters-challenged-by-trump-allies-2022-09-22/

[Excerpts:]

Sept 21 (Reuters) – A Georgia county has validated 15,000 to 20,000 registered voters whose status was challenged ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election, officials said on Wednesday, leaving another 16,000 pending cases to resolve, according to the group leading the challenge.

The voter challenge campaign in Gwinnett County, a suburb of Atlanta, is led by VoterGA, which backs Donald Trump’s false claims that widespread fraud cost him the 2020 election. 

Similar challenges are taking place in counties across Georgia, which has tight races for governor and U.S. senator on the ballot, and the queries have overwhelmed Gwinnett’s elections board.

Voting rights advocates contend the campaign disproportionately targets areas with a higher African-American population. 

The effort follows Trump’s false claims that widespread fraud allowed now-President Joe Biden to win the state and the country as a whole in 2020. Trump’s claims have been rejected by multiple courts, state reviews and members of his former administration. read more

This year’s voter role challenges are being filed under Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021, or SB 202, which made it easier for citizens to question the eligibility of registered voters.

The group is backed by the American Project, which was founded by former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Overstock.com Inc Chief Executive Patrick Byrne.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Heather Timmons and Edmund Klamann
[Boldface added]

 

 

Trump Allies Back Mass Challenge to Voter Eligibility in Georgia

  • Flynn, Overstock.com founder fund group targeting key county
  • County boards overwhelmed with just weeks until Election Day

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO MICHAEL FLYNN?

In military intelligence, he was renowned for his skill connecting the dots and finding terrorists. But somewhere along the way, his dot detector began spinning out of control.

 

 

[Excerpt:]

“General Flynn, do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified?” Representative Liz Cheney asked him in a video teleconference deposition for the January 6 committee.

Flynn’s lawyer pressed the mute button and switched off the camera. Ninety-six seconds passed. Flynn and the lawyer reappeared with a request for clarification. Did Cheney mean morally justified, or legally? Cheney obligingly asked each question in turn.

“Do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified morally?” she asked.

Flynn squinted, truculent.

“Take the Fifth,” he said.

“Do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified legally?” Cheney asked.

“Fifth,” he replied.

Cheney moved on to the ultimate question.

“General Flynn, do you believe in the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America?” she asked.

“The Fifth,” he repeated.

 

Enlistment Oath.— Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:

“I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same . . . .”

 

Trump’s legal exposure may be growing – and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing

Meadows was told of intelligence ahead of Jan. 6 that the day could get very violent. He shared that with Trump. But Meadows rarely had any reaction or seemed surprised at all and was equally unperturbed by the violence on the day of the insurrection, according to Hutchinson.

— Meadows also participated, by phone — though he wanted to go in person — for a briefing with Roger Stone and retired Gen. Michael Flynn in the “War Room” they had set up on Jan. 5 in the Willard Hotel.

Stone and Flynn were intimately involved in the “Stop the Steal” movement. There are pictures of Stone with white supremacist militia functioning as his bodyguards on Jan. 6.

Flynn has been linked to the QAnon conspiracy and pleaded the Fifth, the right not to incriminate yourself, on multiple occasions before the Jan. 6 committee, including when asked simply if he believed in the peaceful transfer of power in the United States.

— Trump knew of violent people in the crowd, knew they were armed, didn’t want their weapons taken away and didn’t feel threatened.

“I don’t care that they effing have weapons,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson. “They’re not here to hurt me. Let them in, take the mags away.” Trump noted they could march to the Capitol afterward.

Instead, he was more concerned that the crowd wouldn’t look as big as he wanted it to in pictures and was firing them up, encouraging them to go to the Capitol after his speech.

— Trump resisted calls to tamp down the violence, and Hutchinson quotes Meadows saying Trump thought Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged.

Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth — ProPublica

Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.

ProPublica has obtained a trove of internal emails and other documentation that, taken together, tell the inside story of a group of people who propagated a number of the most pervasive theories about how the election was stolen, especially that voting machines were to blame, and helped move them from the far-right fringe to the center of the Republican Party.

Those records, as well as interviews with key participants, show for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the stolen-election theory touted evidence that they knew to be disproven or that had been credibly disputed or dismissed as dubious by operatives within their own camp. Some members of the coalition presented this mix of unreliable witnesses, unconfirmed rumor and suspect analyses as fact in published reports, talking points and court documents. In several cases, their assertions became the basis for Trump’s claims that the election had been rigged.

Our examination of their actions from the 2020 election to the present day reveals a pattern. Many members of the coalition would advance a theory based on evidence that was never vetted or that they’d been told was flawed; then, when the theory was debunked, they’d move on to the next alternative and then the next.

The coalition includes several figures who have attracted national attention. Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who served briefly as national security adviser to Trump before pleading guilty to lying to law enforcement about his contacts with Russian officials, is the most well known. Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com who left his position after his romantic relationship with the convicted Russian agent Maria Butina became public, is the coalition’s chief financier and a frequent intermediary with the press. Powell, who represented Flynn in his attempt to reverse his guilty plea, spearheaded efforts in the courts.

Track Flynn’s persistent promotion of the Big Lie of voter fraud through these news accounts, past to present:

 

The day before the assault on the U.S. Capitol, Flynn,  whom Mr. Trump pardoned last month, thanked all of the “digital soldiers” — a clear-cut reference to the convoluted pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon — who were fighting to keep the president in office. Patrick Byrne, the founder of Overstock.com and a vocal Trump backer, spoke of a White House meeting that he and Mr. Flynn attended last month, suggesting that the idea of claiming foreign interference as a way to invalidate the election was discussed with the president. 

newyorktimes, Jan. 5, 2021

Flynn says he didn’t endorse Myanmar-style coup after he appears to back plan in video exchange

By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN

Updated June 1, 2021

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/31/politics/michael-flynn-qanon/index.html

[Excerpts follow.]

Lawyer Sidney Powell, who has represented Flynn in the past, said Monday that he had in no way encouraged “any act of violence or any military insurrection.” She claimed the media had “grossly distorted” Flynn’s comments. She did not explain why

Flynn had answered the question the way he did. 

Powell was present at an Oval Office meeting in the closing weeks of Trump’s presidency during which Flynn suggested that Trump could invoke martial law as part of his efforts to overturn the election, CNN has reported. It wasn’t clear whether Trump endorsed the idea, but others in the room forcefully pushed back and shot it down.

Some QAnon followers are obsessed with the idea that the US military will somehow put Trump back into office. Some believed and hoped Trump would declare martial law on Inauguration Day to stop Joe Biden from entering the White House. 

Speaking at the same event in Dallas, Flynn earlier in the weekend falsely claimed, “Trump won. He won the popular vote, and he won the Electoral College vote.”

 

Caesars Entertainment cancels a QAnon conference featuring Michael Flynn at its Las Vegas venue

Eliza Relman 

Sept. 1, 2021

[Excerpts:]

 Caesars Entertainment canceled a QAnon conference scheduled to be held in October at their conference space in Las Vegas, 8 News Now first reported on Tuesday. 

The event, called the For God & Country Patriot Double Down, was set to take place October 22-25 with tickets selling for between $650 and $3,000.  

“We can confirm that the Patriot Double Down will no longer be held at Caesars Entertainment properties,” a Caesars spokeswoman, Kate Whiteley, told Insider. She declined to say why the event was canceled. 

The group behind the event, the Patriot Voice, held a similar conference, called the Patriot Roundup in Dallas over Memorial Day weekend. Both events were organized by John Sabal, a Trump loyalist who goes by QAnon John, and center around a vast web of lies and baseless conspiracy theories. 

 

[Excerpts:]

In demanding records and testimony from the six Trump allies, the House panel is widening its scrutiny of the mob attack to encompass the former president’s attempt to enlist his own government, state legislators around the country and Congress in his push to overturn the election.

The panel’s latest move indicates that it is zeroing in on how — in the days and weeks before a throng of Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted Congress’s counting of votes — the former president’s closest associates were planning an effort stretching from the Oval Office, the House and Senate to state officials across the country.

Mr. Flynn discussed seizing voting machines and invoking certain national security emergency powers after the election. Mr. Eastman wrote a memo to Mr. Trump suggesting that Vice President Mike Pence could reject electors from certain states during Congress’s count of Electoral College votes to deny Joseph R. Biden Jr. a majority.

Mr. Flynn, who spent 33 years as an Army intelligence officer, has emerged as one of the most extreme voices in Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the election.

Mr. Flynn attended a meeting in the Oval Office on Dec. 18 in which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers and continuing to spread the false message that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud, the committee said. That meeting came after Mr. Flynn gave an interview to the right-wing site Newsmax in which he talked about the purported precedent for deploying military troops and declaring martial law to “rerun” the election.

 

At the Willard and the White House, the Jan. 6 Panel Widens Its Net

What went on at a five-star hotel near the White House the day before the riot could be a window into how a Trump-directed plot to upend the election ended in violence at the Capitol.

[Excerpts]

WASHINGTON — “We are essentially in a national emergency,” Michael T. Flynn declared on Jan. 5, during an interview with the internet conspiracy theorist Alex Jones recorded in a luxurious suite at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel near the White House.

“The truth is going to come out,” said Mr. Flynn, the former three-star general and national security adviser. “Donald Trump will continue to be president of the United States for the next four years.”

In another room of the five-star hotel, a phalanx of lawyers and political advisers for Mr. Trump — including Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer; Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner; and John Eastman, a scholar working feverishly on a legal strategy to prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from assuming the presidency — had set up a kind of command post. On the hotel’s grand front steps, Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime Trump adviser, was flashing his signature Nixon victory sign to fans as members of the Oath Keepers, a militant group, protected him.

What unfolded at the Willard Hotel in the hours before the Capitol riot has become a prime focus of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack as the panel intensifies its scrutiny into whether there was any coordination or tie between those pushing a legal strategy to overturn the election results and those who stormed the Capitol that day as Congress met to count the electoral votes to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory.

Mr. Flynn was also present at the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5 for a meeting that included about 15 people, where the discussion centered on “how to put pressure on more members of Congress to object to the Electoral College results,” according to one attendee, Charles Herbster, a Republican candidate for governor of Nebraska.

Among those in attendance, according to Mr. Herbster, were Mr. Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr.; Mr. Giuliani; Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama; the Trump advisers Peter Navarro, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie; and Mike Lindell, the MyPillow executive and conspiracy theorist.

This week, the committee issued subpoenas to several of Mr. Trump’s advisers who gathered there — including Mr. Flynn, Mr. Eastman and Mr. Kerik — and communications with Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Stone are among the materials investigators have demanded from the former president, who is stonewalling the inquiry.

On Tuesday, the committee announced 10 new subpoenas that seemed to expand the aperture of the inquiry even further, seeking information from top officials in Mr. Trump’s White House including Stephen Miller, his senior adviser; Keith Kellogg, the national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence; Johnny McEntee, the former president’s personnel chief; and others.

(boldface added)

What happens when the administration is hinged on the unhinged?

By Mary Ellen Curtin

November 26, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/what-happens-when-the-administration-is-hinged-on-the-unhinged/2021/11/23/2336f1e0-496a-11ec-b8d9-232f4afe4d9b_story.html

[Excerpts:]

[A]s ABC newsman Jonathan Karl explains in “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Trump chose to launch a violent insurrection that upended the peaceful transfer of power.

Karl argues that although the seeds of Jan. 6 were planted in 2020, the ultimate betrayal occurred between Dec. 14 and Jan. 6, when an erratic and angry president decided to stay in office, even at the cost of law, human life and physical damage to the United States Capitol. Karl details Trump’s multipronged attempts to subvert the outcome of the electoral vote. Trump met for hours with Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, who came up with a plan for the president to declare a national emergency and seize voting machines, but the acting secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, refused to comply. Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding that he “find” more votes, and asked Republican legislators in Michigan and Pennsylvania to turn in only his electoral votes. They refused. He threatened to oust acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen unless he agreed to pressure Georgia to overturn Biden’s victory in that state. Confronted with the opposition of his own lawyers and the DOJ, Trump backed down. But now he would do something even more reckless. [Boldface added].

 

QAnon Hero Michael Flynn Secretly Said QAnon Is ‘Total Nonsense’

Lin Wood released a recording of a call in which Flynn says QAnon is a CIA-created disinformation campaign.

Will Sommer, Political Reporter

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has embraced his position as a hero to QAnon conspiracy theorists. He took the QAnon oath, sold QAnon T-shirts, and even auctioned off a QAnon quilt. He appeared at a QAnon convention and signed books with a QAnon slogan. Some QAnon followers even believe that Flynn is “Q,” the mysterious figure behind QAnon.

But a recording released late Saturday night by a one-time Flynn ally suggests that the retired three-star general privately believes QAnon to be “total nonsense.”

On Saturday night, pro-Trump lawyer and QAnon booster Lin Wood released a recording of what purports to be a phone call between Wood and Flynn on Telegram. The audio’s publication comes amid a right-wing civil war pitting Wood against one-time allies like Flynn and other figures involved in the 2020 attempt to overturn the election.

In the call, Wood complains to Flynn that his QAnon supporters had attacked Wood online. But Flynn attempts to disown QAnon, claiming it’s a “disinformation campaign” created by the CIA.

“I think it’s a disinformation campaign,” Flynn said on the call. “I think it’s a disinformation campaign that the CIA created. That’s what I believe. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what I think it is. I think it’s a disinformation campaign.”

Later in the recording, Flynn called QAnon “total nonsense.”

“I find it total nonsense,” Flynn said. “And I think it’s a disinformation campaign created by the left.”

Flynn could not be reached for comment.

In the call, Flynn promises to send Wood an article about QAnon’s failure to come true. Based on text messages from Flynn that Wood also published on his Telegram account, the article Flynn referenced on the call was a Nov. 2 article by white supremacist radio host Hal Turner that endorsed the idea of mass violence.

In the blog post that Flynn apparently cited, Turner ridicules QAnon believers who traveled to Dallas believing the John F. Kennedy Jr. would appear. Turner wrote that Trump supporters would repeatedly look like fools “until something like a mass slaughter happens,” writing that the JFK Jr. debacle was caused because people were “too cowardly to stand up, pick up guns, and go kill the people” Turner falsely claimed stole the election.

Flynn’s private disavowal of QAnon would mark a blow to the conspiracy theory movement, which claims the world is run by a cabal of cannibal-pedophiles that can only be defeated by Trumpworld stars like Flynn. In May, Flynn was feted as a hero at a QAnon convention in Dallas, where he endorsed the idea of a Myanmar-style coup in the United States.

Wood’s publication of the audio comes as part of a growing feud between Wood and Flynn and other figures active in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The fight kicked off last week when recently acquitted Kenosha shooting defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, a former Wood client, accused Wood in a Fox News interview of deliberately keeping him in jail to raise money off of his case.

Suddenly under attack by Rittenhouse, Wood grew publicly furious that allies like Flynn and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell weren’t strenuously defending him. The ensuing clash has consumed QAnon and other far-right communities over the past week, while Wood grows increasingly hostile, even claiming at one point that a plane he was set to take a flight on was sabotaged in an attempt to kill him.

It’s not clear when the call between Wood and Flynn took place, though it appears to have come sometime in early November since Flynn mentioned Turner’s article. The Daily Beast couldn’t verify the audio’s authenticity, but Wood regularly records phone calls with his allies and reporters. Last week, Wood published a recording of a call with former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, a one-time Wood ally involved in the attempt to overturn the election. Byrne, who is caught on the call criticizing Powell, confirmed that recording’s authenticity in his own Telegram post.

 

Biden rejects executive privilege for ex-Trump advisers Flynn, Navarro

BY MORGAN CHALFANT 

03/01/22

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/596275-biden-rejects-executive-privilege-for-ex-trump-advisers-flynn-navarro?userid=747077

[Excerpts:]

The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Flynn along with a handful of other Trump associates in November.  

Flynn was subpoenaed about a December meeting at the White House where they discussed using national emergency power to seize voting equipment. 

Biden has previously rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege over White House documents the committee has requested from the former president’s tenure, most recently ordering the National Archives to turn over visitor logs to the Jan. 6 panel.  

Trump pursued legal action to block the committee’s access to the documents, but the Supreme Court declined his request to block the documents and turned away his appeal last month.  

Rebecca Beitsch contributed.

Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and the criminal conspiracy case of U.S. v. Donald Trump

New evidence shows Stone and Flynn repaid their Trump pardons by conspiring to block the 2020 vote count. Will the feds charge them?

Will Bunch

Feb. 7, 2021

https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/roger-stone-michael-flynn-trump-january-6-capitol-insurrection-20210207.html

“Now what about the rhetoric directed toward the Athenian people and the other peoples of free men in cities – what in the world is it, in our view?  Do the rhetoricians in your opinion always speak with a view to the best, aiming at this, that because of their speeches the citizens shall be as good as possible? Or do these men too strive for gratifying the citizens and, for the sake of their own private interest, make light of the the common interest, and associate with the peoples as if with children, trying only to gratify them, and giving no heed to whether they will be better or worse because of these things?” 

— Socrates, Plato’s “Gorgias”