Michael Flynn & Russia: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn Putin

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn at Trump Tower on November 14. (Getty)

Retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn was an adviser for Donald Trump during the campaign and was National Security Adviser to the President. However, the Rhode Island native has built questionable ties to Russia since he retired in 2014, even appearing on the Kremlin’s RT television network and a gala where he sat near Russian President Vladimir Putin. He resigned from his post after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the true nature of his phone call with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.

On November 16, NBC News reported that Flynn was being considered for the role of National Security Adviser, a role currently held by former Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. James Jones and Tom Donilon also served in the role under President Barack Obama. It’s one that is close to the Presidency and is based in the White House.

On December 29, the same day President Barack Obama announced more sanctions against Russia, Flynn was in contact with Kislyak to set up a phone conversation between Trump and Putin after Trump’s inauguration on January 20. Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed to reporters on January 13 that the contact took place, ABC News reports.

The conversation was “centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and the president-elect after he was sworn in,” Spicer said. “They exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call. That was it. Plain and simple.”

However, on February 9, The Washington Post reported that Flynn had discussed the planned sanctions and Flynn’s spokesman even walked away from the denials issued in January. Flyyn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up,” his spokesman said.

Now, Flynn is out of a job. He has resigned.

Here’s a look at Flynn’s ties to Russia.

1. Flynn Has Been a Contributor to RT, the Russian News Outlet Run by the Kremlin

On December 10, 2015, RT (which was previously known as Russia Today) celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala event. Flynn was there, just 18 months after he stepped down as the Director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, a role Obama nominated him for. He sat next to RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan and was just a few seats away from Putin.

Politico reports that Flynn has since made several appearances on the network, typically arguing that the U.S. and Russia need to work more closely together to fight the Islamic State and trying to find an end to the Syrian Civil War. Politico could not confirm if the job is paid or not, as Flynn would not comment on his role.

As you can see in the video above, Flynn’s appearance at the gala was preceded by a 40-minute Q&A session.

In a Washington Post interview, Flynn defended RT, claiming that it’s just like CNN.

“Why would you go on RT, they’re state run?” The Post asked Flynn. “Well, what’s CNN?” he replied.

When Flynn was corrected, since CNN is not run by the U.S. government, he said, “Well, what’s MSNBC? I mean, come on … what’s Al Jazeera? What’s Sky News Arabia? I have been asked by multiple organizations to be a [paid] contributor but I don’t want to be.”

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2. Flynn Has Said on RT That Russia & the U.S. Need to Work Together & Called for an End to the ‘Bully Game’

As noted above, Fylnn’s typical RT talking point is that the U.S. and Russia have to work together to end the civil war in Syria.

“When we play this sort of bully game against each other, between the United States and Russia and that’s going to achieve nothing,” Flynn says in the segment above. “I mean, it’s actually going to achieve more conflict.”

The reason why the U.S. and Russia haven’t seen eye-to-eye on Syria is because the U.S. believes that Russia is helping dictator Bashar al-Assad stay in power.

“Russia has its own national security strategy, and we have to respect that,” Flynn once said on RT. “And we have to try to figure out: How do we combine the United States’ national security strategy along with Russia’s national security strategy, despite all the challenges that we face?”

RT, citing a statement from the Kremlin, said that Trump spoke with Putin after Trump became president-elect and their conversation topics included Syria. They also talked about “constructive cooperation” between Moscow and Washington.

Trump’s own statement on the phone call was less specific, only noting that they “discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues and the historical U.S.-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years.”

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3. Flynn Said He Warned the Obama Administration of the Dangers of Toppling Assad

Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn Russia, Michael Flynn Trump adviser

Michael Flynn at the RNC. (Getty)

In the January 2016 London Review of Books issue, Seymour M. Hersh wrote that Flynn told him that he sent a “constant stream” of warnings to the Obama administration about how dangerous it would be to topple the Assad regime. He said that “jihadists” controlled the opposition and Turkey wasn’t stopping the smuggling of foreign fighters into Syria.

“If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,” Flynn said. “We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.”

Flynn claimed that the DIA intelligence “got enormous pushback” from Obama, adding, “I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.”

Patrick Lang, a retired army colonel, told Seymour that Flynn was “shoved out” by the Obama administration. Flynn himself said that the civilian leadership “did not want to hear the truth.”

After he left the Pentagon, Flynn began offering ideas for how to solve the crisis in Syria, and not just on RT. In a November 2015 interview with Der Spiegel, Flynn said:

We have to work constructively with Russia. Whether we like it or not, Russia made a decision to be there (in Syria) and to act militarily. They are there, and this has dramatically changed the dynamic. So you can’t say Russia is bad, they have to go home. It’s not going to happen. Get real.

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4. Flynn Thinks Putin is a ‘Totalitarian Dictator,’ but ‘Smart and Savvy’

Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn Russia, Michael Flynn Trump adviser

Vladimir Putin. (Getty)

In an interview with Politico in October 2016, Flynn said that he does think Putin is “a totalitarian dictator and a thug who does not have our interests in mind” and called Trump’s praise of Putin “overstated.”

However, he continued:

But Putin is smart and savvy, and he has taken actions in Ukraine and elsewhere that have limited our options, and the U.S. and NATO response has been timid. I think Trump’s strength lies in being a master negotiator, and he wants as many options as possible in dealing with Russia.

In his August 2016 Washington Post interview, Flynn said that he didn’t have a long conversation with Putin at that 10th anniversary RT gala. “Just introduction. That’s it,” Flynn said. He didn’t ask to be sat near Putin.

“I found it a great learning opportunity. One of the things I learned was that Putin has no respect for the United States leadership. Not for the United States, but the leadership,” Flynn said.

When asked about former Trump campaign strategist Paul Manafort and Carter Page‘s ties to Russia, Flynn deflected the question and brought up the Clinton Foundation.

“I don’t know what their business interests are. I’ve talked with Paul Manafort, met him, but if Carter Page walked in here, I wouldn’t know who he is … you know what?” Flynn said. “Look at the amount of money the Global Clinton Initiative is taking from countries right now.”

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5. Flynn Joined Trump for Security Briefings During the Campaign & Had a Security Clearance Before the Inauguration

Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn Russia, Michael Flynn Trump adviser

Flynn and Trump at a campaign rally. (Getty)

Flynn has been advising Trump since February 2016, Reuters reported at the time. In August, after Trump officially became the Republican party’s presidential nominee, Flynn was with Trump at his first classified briefing. On November 16, NBC News confirmed that Flynn already has security clearance to sit in on future briefings, now that Trump is president-elect.

Before the Republican National Convention, The Washington Post even reported that Flynn was being considered for Vice President. (A few days later, an op-ed in the Observer, the paper owned by Jared Kushner, suggested it was a bad idea.)

Trump went with Mike Pence instead, but Flynn has remained by Trump’s side. Flynn was seen at Trump Tower after the election.

“I just see us going in the wrong direction, and that’s really why I sort of jumped into the middle of the fray,” Flynn told the Intercept in July. “I don’t mind doing that. That’s kind of me.”

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  1. USA and Russia have to work together in many ways and the benefit not just for the two countries but for entire world peace and stability. hopefully, Trump will turn around the dangerous nuclear powers hostilities to peacefull cooperation and respect international agreements. Obama’s disasterous legacy on foreign policy , must be reconstructed to the right direction.

    • You make £27/h that’s great going girl good for you! My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online , seriously I couldn’t be happier I work when I want and where I want. And with a little effort I easily bring in £35/h and soometimes even as much as £88/h…

      Heres a good example of what I’m doing,,,,,,,,,,,,>>>> BuzzMom11.Tk

    • Russia is the big evil. USA should never work together with criminal Putin. Only traitors would work with him. A real patriot knows what Putin did with Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Nemtsov, the people of MH17, the people of Ukraine & Syria. Defend USA. Stop Putin’s Russia.

      • What are your proofs for saying that? Ukraine is a corrupted lazy ass country wanted to get benefit from US-Russia confrontation.

      • What are your proofs for saying that? Ukraine is a corrupted lazy ass country wanted to get benefit from US-Russia confrontation.

      • Putin need to leave Russia and then we can try again to improve relations. Putin has an anti-American agenda and he’ll say whatever lies are necessary to get back at USA, destroy it and divide it. Tramp is a good asset working for him. Flynn’s out, which Russian asset is next?

  2. Vodka ! barbecued ribs ! and potatoes !

    Cornbread with gravy ! Scrambled eggs with onions !

    Vladimir Putin we have a common problem .

    I believe you respect commitment .

    Family Values and grandchildren .

    We have fallen on both sides of our fences.

    As we move forward, I asked that we hold these values close in taking our first steps together in our common problem ,and maybe prosperity for both sides of the fence.

    • Lots of dead Ukrainian, nukes for Iran, more dictators like Assad in Syria, and weakened America all over the globe. Drink your vodka Sergei

    • Let us hope that our views of a dark Russia can be put aside ,so that we can move forward.

      We must move with respect for each other, also with caution from both sides !

      As we move through uncharted waters.

      • Only traitors would think of working together with Russia. Putin is playing a game of divide & conquer. He is not fooling Us! We are Semper Fi. We are ready to stop the killer of Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Nemtsov, the people of MH17, Ukraine & Syria. A real patriot will fight against Putin.

        • You can who Raw all you want to. Our commander in chief has splintered our military ,refuses to salute honor guards!

          Has given a billion in cash to our enemy !
          Has allowed an open door policy for terrorists to infiltrate our United States !

          Stand Down Soldier !

          Traitorous Acts by our government against the American people and America have been going on for too long !

          We have stood with Lincoln !

          We fought at Pearl and many others in between.

          And now we stand and fight against radical Islamic terrorists.

          Traitor !

          Who are you but just some words on a screen.

          Patriot !

          We have fought and died for over a hundred years for this country and now we fight again !

          Just because you wear the uniform of the few and the proud.

          Don’t mean shit !

          So you could take that non Patriot crap and blow it out your ass !!!

        • Stop smoking that shit and weak up from your daydream.Obama refusal to work with Russian federation over Syrians crisis created one of the worst evil creature on the earth called ISS. If you think war with Russia ,is going to be the 3rd WW and we have no grantee about existence of Human race after that. We can contain Russia with international agreements , not by flexing muscles and bullying. No one benefit from that.

  3. these pig skin honky neadrethal work together to opres the black and brown man these devils are going to be punish by the most high!!!!

  4. Commenting on Russia, talking on Russia media, and attending a Putin-attending gala don’t seem like “ties”.
    Putin is savvy and a dictator. And water is wet. Our media is pathetic…..

  5. Thank you for bringing more information to this topic for me. I’m truly grateful and really impressed. Really appreciate for your amazing article. Thank you for this valuable information.

  6. Surely you MUST be aware of what actually happened in Lower Manhattan Island on 11 September 2001 !?!

    So just what is going on here ? A ‘conspiracy of silence’ ?
    An enormous intimidation, able to instill such fear in just about everyone to stop the truth from being acknowledged and publicised ?

    cf, for instance, Christopher Bollyn, Solving 9/11-The Deception that Changed the World, 2012

    I’d very much appreciate your take on this.

    Thank you.

    FPA von Dreger​
    ​former Chair, Dept. of Pol Studies, UPEI, Canada – retired​