Michael Flynn, a once highly respected Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army, is in big trouble. Fired by President Donald Trump as National Security Adviser after less than a month on the job, Flynn is under a huge federal magnifying glass mainly for his connections to the Russian government. And essentially, he stands at the very heart of multiple high-stakes investigations involving links to Russia by the Trump administration.
What’s going on?
Subpoenas are flying Flynn’s way as the Justice Department and Congress look deeply into his involvement with the Russian government and its meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He has floated the idea of immunity past investigators and even threatened to stand behind his 5th amendment rights by not cooperating. So far though, with the pressure increasing daily, immunity doesn’t seem likely and it appears as if the general might eventually appear before congress.
A question that some ask, but will most likely never be fully answered, however, is this: How could a man who rose to such high rank and with such high-profile assignments to his credit fall so far and so quickly? Obviously, Flynn’s intelligence, together with extraordinary skill and dedication to his country had to have made him a valued asset to the military. So how in the world did he end up at the epicenter of so much DC intrigue? A look at the general’s background might shed a little light on these questions and no matter what, will surely be of interest.
Flynn: the quick version
He is 58-years-old, married with two adult sons. Born in Middleton, RI, he was 1 of 9 children. His father was a World War II veteran and his mother was heavily involved in Democratic party politics. A life-long Democrat himself before meeting Donald Trump, Flynn served in the U.S. Army for 33 years before retiring in 2014.
Key assignments in his U.S. Army career
- Joined the military in 1981.
- Was a platoon leader in the 1983 U.S. invasion of Granada.
- Served as Director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)
in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Served as Director of Intelligence for the U.S. Central Command.
- Served as Director of Intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
- Served as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama.
As Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
It was this last assignment from 2012 to 2014 that ended Michael Flynn’s military career. When President Obama fired him from that post, he retired. People familiar with the situation said that the general was terminated because he didn’t listen to his staff and abused them, undermined administration policies and generally managed the agency badly.
It has been suggested that this bad performance was the result of Flynn’s being restive in that position since he preferred being where the action was taking place. But his judgment was being questioned under multiple circumstances, including his decision to accept a speaking engagement in Russia before officers of the GRU, that country’s military intelligence service.
After the DIA termination
From all accounts, Flynn was bitter about being fired by President Obama and proceeded to be very critical of him and his administration. That harshness apparently mixed with an increasing interest in right-wing conspiracy theories that boiled over into the public domain as well as into his decision-making.
The general established an intelligence security firm called, Flynn Intel Group. There he began a freelance consulting and public speaking career, much of which was very controversial. It looks as if he might well have literally become an agent of the Turkish government and he once gave a speech to RT, Russia’s government controlled news agency. At that talk, he sat and dined with none other than Vladimir Putin himself.
The Flynn-Trump Connection
As part of his freelance consulting efforts, the general advised multiple Republican candidates vying for their party’s presidential nomination, including Donald Trump. The two men took a liking to each other and when Trump became the nominee, he asked Flynn to appear at the 2016 Republican convention. It was there that Flynn made his “Lock her up” speech when referring to Hillary Clinton. He also had conversations with the Russian ambassador, mirroring the actions of others in the Trump campaign.
Trump had considered Flynn for vice president but eventually passed him over for that position, offering him instead, the job of National Security Adviser. This he did despite warnings from President Obama and the Justice Department about the general’s highly questionable connections to Russia.
And as of the completion of this article. General could possibly be found in contempt of Congress if he ends up refusing to fully cooperate with those ongoing Russia investigations. From a life of commendable service to his country, the former, and short-term, National Security Adviser continues his downward trek and the end is nowhere in sight.
Sources for further information
Videos + articles
Flynn – everything u needed to know (ABC News.com 1:06)
Flynn, the White House and Russia (CNN.com 1:20)
Michael Flynn foreign payments investigation (CNN.com 2:22)
Michael Flynn leads chants of “Lock her up” Republican Convention(Washington Post.com 2:05)
Michael Flynn’s Russia/Turkey income (Time.com 1:04)
Flynn’s Links to Russia (Wall Street Journal.com)
Michael Flynn: General Chaos (The New Yorker.com)
The firing of Flynn’s son (NY Times.com)
What Flynn Did for Turkey (The New Yorker.com)