After his pardon, Michael Flynn appears to be deepening his ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory

Image
President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images
  • Michael Flynn appears to be capitalising on attention from the QAnon conspiracy-theory community.
  • Flynn, the former national security advisor whom Trump recently pardoned, is seen as a martyr and celebrity in the QAnon universe.
  • In interviews after the pardon, Flynn referenced QAnon-linked conspiracy theories and celebrated the work of QAnon-supporting lawyers Lin Wood and Sidney Powell.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In his first interviews after being pardoned by President Donald Trump, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn repeated voter-fraud conspiracy theories that have been pushed by QAnon followers and alleged that a vague unnamed group of people was “after” him.

Flynn, who served as national security advisor for the Trump administration’s first 22 days before resigning, pleaded guilty in 2017 on a charge that he lied to the FBI about his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the US. He later withdrew his guilty plea. Trump pardoned Flynn on November 25.

Flynn has emerged as both a martyr and celebrity in the universe of QAnon, the baseless far-right conspiracy theory that alleges Trump is fighting to destroy a “deep state” cabal of pedophiles. Many QAnon believers think that Flynn himself is the anonymous “Q” figure, according to The Daily Beast, though there is little if any evidence of that.

Flynn’s pardon by Trump was actually not celebrated by followers of the conspiracy-theory movement, as Vice reported, because a pardon implies guilt, as opposed to an exoneration, which does not.

Now, the former official appears to be capitalising on attention from the QAnon community and aligning himself with the movement’s figureheads.

GettyImages 1227969300
A cyclist carries a sign in support of General Michael Flynn as motorcyclists ride on Main Street during the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 8, 2020 in Sturgis, South Dakota. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

“I gotta make sure I’m a moving target, because these son-of-a-guns, they’re after me, in a literal and a figurative sense,” Flynn said during a December 2 episode of the Matrixxx Groove Show, a podcast that’s popular in the QAnon community and that’s hosted by a QAnon influencer. As Will Sommer of The Daily Beast reported, the paranoid comments evoked the QAnon movement’s focus on a fictional “deep state.”

In a separate interview on November 27 with WVW-TV, a far-right online talk show, Flynn repeated Trump’s false claims that the president won the election in a “landslide” and said he believed the president would be inaugurated again in January. “There is no doubt in my mind that he won this election,” Flynn said.

Though Trump lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden, he and his supporters have continued baselessly alleging that widespread voter fraud impacted the election results. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the 2020 election the “most secure in American history.”

Flynn did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Flynn referenced the Dominion conspiracy theory which has been pushed by QAnon followers

In his interview with WVW-TV, Flynn referenced the Dominion conspiracy theory, which baselessly alleges that Dominion Voting Systems, one of several voting-software companies utilised nationwide in the election, somehow rigged the election in Biden’s favour. The former official made the suggestion that because Dominion is a private company, it should be not be trusted to facilitate American elections, despite private contracts fulfilling numerous crucial state and federal functions.

Both Dominion and election-security experts have categorically denied such claims. QAnon influencers have played a huge role in spreading the Dominion theory, including Ron Watkins, the former administrator of 8kun, the message board that hosts the anonymous “Q” figure, whose messages lead QAnon.

Flynn said that with the help of “American patriots who love this country and are fighting like warriors on the legal battleground,” he believed Trump will be re-elected, despite the fact that results of the election have already been certified by battleground states and Rudy Giuliani’s legal cases challenging the results have continued to fail.

Flynn referenced the unsuccessful legal battles put forth by two lawyers who have spread QAnon beliefs: Sidney Powell, who was ousted by Trump’s legal team for reportedly being too conspiratorial in her thinking, and Lin Wood, who assisted in representing the Kenosha shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse.

“We’re going to straighten this out,” Flynn said. “It’s gonna be done with American patriots who love this country and who are fighting like warriors on the legal battleground for sure with people like Sidney Powell, like Rudy Giuliani and his team, like people like Lin Wood who’s fighting tooth and nail.” Both Powell and Wood have frequently used QAnon rhetoric on Twitter.

His post-pardon media appearances are the latest developments in Flynn’s connection with the QAnon movement. In July, he posted a video on Twitter in which he said, “Where we go one, we go all,” the conspiracy-theory movement’s main slogan.