According to a deep dive into the activities of former Donald Trump administration official Michael Flynn after the ex-president pardoned him, the HuffPost reports that the cash-strapped ex-military officer fully embraced QAnon conspiracy theories in speeches and in online chats that helped inspire the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
As the report notes, Flynn was $4.6 million in debt from his legal problems when he jumped into the QAnon fray, likely as a way to fundraise to pay off his debts.
Accompanied by his then-attorney Sidney Powell, "... the two began claiming that he was the victim of injustice and 'deep state' plots. Flynn's new martyr status helped gain him the affection of QAnon believers, whom he increasingly encouraged."
That, in turn, appealed to QAnon believers who felt his connection to Trump meant he was privy to secret maneuverings that would keep the president in power.
"On the Fourth of July last year, Flynn posted video of himself performing an apparent 'oath' to QAnon and using one of its most notorious slogans. 'Where we go one, we go all,' he said, standing in front of a backyard fire pit with five others who repeated after him," the report states before adding, "Trump pardoned Flynn on Nov. 25, by which time Flynn was a full-fledged MAGA star and a central part of QAnon's apocalyptic myth-making."
"QAnon supporters dubbed themselves 'Digital Soldiers' after a line in one of his speeches, they held signs proclaiming his innocence at rallies, and a QAnon influencer released an album 'inspired by General Mike Flynn' with songs like 'ThanQ for the Pain.' Each development in his legal troubles also became part of the movement's constantly shifting lore, more moves in the chess game that believers saw Trump and Flynn secretly playing," HuffPost's Nick Robins-Early wrote.
Flynn's participation in a Dec. 12 rally protesting the election results set in motion a plan by the Three Percenters militia who declared days later, "We are ready to enter into battle with General Flynn leading the charge."
"Trump's pardon freed Flynn to capitalize on his celebrity status among extremists, including selling QAnon merchandise and launching a Digital Soldiers media company. Following the pardon, Flynn immediately went on a victory lap of pro-Trump and QAnon podcasts to laud their efforts to clear him of the charges he'd pleaded guilty to and to share their conspiratorial beliefs," the report states, adding, "Flynn's first post-pardon interview was with the fringe online show Worldview Weekend, where he spread baseless claims of election fraud and insisted that Trump actually won by a massive landslide and he'll be inaugurated this January.' Describing the election as 'probably the greatest fraud our country has experienced in our history,' Flynn pushed the narrative that the fate of the United States rested on Trump's ultimate victory."
Speaking at a rally on Jan 5th. -- the day before the riot -- Flynn told supporters, "Washington, D.C., has forgotten what it means to be an American patriot. We want you to know that we will not stand for a lie. We will not stand for a lie!"
Robins-Early adds, "Flynn hasn't faced serious scrutiny for his role in stoking the flames that led to the Capitol riot. Unlike Trump or GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Missouri), Flynn's efforts to incite took place out of the broader public view, on obscure QAnon podcasts or smaller conservative media outlets that make Fox News look like '60 Minutes.' These appearances were the culmination of a yearslong descent into a realm of conspiracy theorists and the far-right, one where he is a star."
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