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Michael Flynn – once indicted for communicating with Russia – voices support for Russia ahead of possible invasion of Ukraine

Topline

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who resigned and pleaded guilty to misleading authorities about his ties to the Russian government – before being later pardoned by former President Donald Trump – has Monday attacked the Biden administration for its support for Ukraine in an opinion piece on a right-wing site criticized for spreading false information, appearing to repeat the views of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Highlights

Flynn alleged in his Western Journal column that the White House had “sold an illusion” that the possible Russian invasion of Ukraine was not justified, believing that an increased NATO presence in Europe from the East would pose an “existential threat” to Russia.

The editorial comes the same day the Pentagon said the United States had ordered up to 8,500 that the troops are in “increased readiness” for potential deployment to NATO countries in response to the increase in Russian forces on the Ukrainian border.

Permanently banned from Twitter last January for spreading the QAnon conspiracy theory, Flynn has relied on right-wing media as a platform and writes a recurring column on Western Journal, a far-right website described by the New York Times as a “misinformation mill” that fuels dangerous conspiracy theories.

According to Flynn, the reinforcement of NATO resources and reinforcements in countries close to Ukraine would be the “main cause of a devastating war”, echoing what Putin suggested, although the measures of the NATO are in response to Russia’s military build-up on the border.

Flynn likened the White House message on Ukraine to the “hoax about Russia electing President Donald Trump in 2016.”

All US intelligence evidence, including a 2020 report by the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee written by US intelligence officials, indicates that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help Russia win. Trump, although Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate the case, did not. find evidence that the Trump campaign was actively colluding with Russia.

Key context

Flynn, a former US Army lieutenant general, resigned as national security adviser in 2017 for lying to the FBI about his relationship with the Russian ambassador, later pleading guilty to related charges before resigning. receive a pardon from Trump in 2020. In December 2016, Flynn encouraged Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in phone calls not to respond to sanctions imposed by then-President Barack Obama for alleged Russian interference in the US election, according to declassified investigation documents, and lied to FBI investigators in January 2017 about the nature of his communication with Kislyak. Flynn was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in November for his role in the events leading up to the attack, and a federal judge blocked Flynn’s request in December to prevent the panel from obtaining Flynn’s phone records. Western Journal has been heavily criticized as a major hotbed of right-wing misinformation, and Flynn appears on the Western Journal’s YouTube channel and promotes his op-eds on his own website.

Tangent

US intelligence found evidence that Russia was planning a military offensive against Ukraine last month, but the imminent threat of a Russian invasion appears to be increasingly real, with the US State Department ordering families of American diplomats to leave Ukraine on Sunday. President Joe Biden and Putin held a virtual meeting in which Biden warned Putin of “strong economic and other measures” the United States would take against Russia in the event of an invasion. The United States plans to soon increase the presence of its troops in NATO countries close to Ukraine, according to several media.

Surprising fact

Flynn received more than $45,000 in 2015 to speak at a party in Moscow for Russia Today, a Russian government-sponsored television station, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee in 2017. At the banquet , Flynn sat next to none other than Putin, according to an NBC News investigation.

Further reading

Families of American diplomats have been ordered to leave Ukraine as fears of a Russian invasion grow (Forbes)

Biden administration identifies troops for possible deployment to Eastern Europe amid tensions with Russia (CNN)