For anyone with a memory that stretches all the way back to 2016, it is positively bizarre to see Republicans suddenly claiming that Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, is a martyr. It’s obvious why and how they’re doing it: In an effort to distract from Trump’s spectacular failure on the coronavirus pandemic, they are attempting to create a new fake “scandal” that will send us all down an endless rabbit hole chasing absurd lies and conspiracy theories.

But Michael Flynn? He’s the one they want to portray as a victim? What’s next — Jeffrey Epstein was framed? Bernie Madoff was a humanitarian? Al Capone was misunderstood?

Here’s the truth: Flynn should never have been allowed within 10 miles of the White House. He was a dangerous, dishonest and shady operator who was also kind of a loon. For a moment, it appeared that everyone in the Trump administration realized it, which was why he was booted from his position as national security adviser after only 24 days on the job.

Yet now they’re treating him like a hero.

So let’s quickly review who Flynn was:

  • In 2014, Flynn was forced out of his position as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). As Colin Powell later described it in a leaked email, Flynn was “Abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc. He has been and was right-wing nutty [ever] since.”
  • As The Post reported, “Former subordinates at the DIA said Flynn was so prone to dubious pronouncements that senior aides coined a term — ‘Flynn facts’ — for assertions that seemed questionable or inaccurate.”
  • The New York Times reported that some insiders “described him as a Captain Queeg-like character, paranoid that his staff members were undercutting him and credulous of conspiracy theories.”
  • Flynn insisted that he was removed not for his erratic mismanagement but because his superiors didn’t agree with his warnings about the danger of radical Islam. He later gave speeches claiming that Democrats were installing Sharia law at the state and local level.
  • Flynn once tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” He has said Islam is “a malignant cancer” that “hides behind this notion of it being a religion.”
  • Flynn used his social media accounts to spread lunatic conspiracy theories that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex-trafficking, that President Barack Obama was a “jihadi,” that Clinton’s campaign manager conducted occult rituals, and that the United Nations was plotting to install a one-world government.
  • Flynn was paid $45,000 to appear at a 2015 gala in celebration of Russian propaganda network RT (he sat at Vladimir Putin’s table during the dinner). Former senior military officials are supposed to receive Pentagon permission before accepting such payments; Flynn apparently did not.
  • While working as an adviser to the Trump campaign in 2016, Flynn was also secretly working on behalf of the Turkish government, being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to advocate Turkey’s interests. This consisted, in large part, of seeking to discredit Fethullah Gulen, a dissident Turkish cleric now living in the United States. On Election Day in 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed for the Hill blasting Gulen and praising Turkey, but did not disclose that he was being paid to do so.
  • Flynn also failed to register as a foreign agent as required by law, only doing so retroactively after he was fired as national security adviser in 2017.
  • In 2015, Flynn was paid by an American company seeking to partner with Russian interests to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East; in his security clearance documents, he failed to disclose a trip he took to work on the plan. In his brief time as national security adviser, he then promoted the plan inside the White House.
  • During the transition after the 2016 election, Flynn maneuvered to delay a U.S. military operation against the Islamic State, an operation Turkey opposed because it involved a partnership between the U.S. and Kurdish forces.
  • When Obama and Trump met in the Oval Office days after the election, Obama warned the president-elect that giving Flynn a high-ranking job in the administration was a terrible idea, which turned out to be right. Trump didn’t listen.
  • Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, during which Flynn negotiated with the ambassador over sanctions the Obama administration had imposed as punishment for Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • The fact that Attorney General William P. Barr made an extraordinary and unprecedented effort to drop the case after Flynn pleaded guilty does not change the fact that Flynn lied to the FBI, and also lied to Vice President Pence about his conversations with Russian officials, leading Pence to then repeat Flynn’s lie on television.
  • According to then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, when he told Trump about Flynn’s lies, Trump replied, “Not again, this guy, this stuff.” Those lies were the reason Trump gave for firing him.

Trump has always gathered around him the most morally repugnant people he could find, an endless collection of grifters, liars and thieves. Flynn fit right in, even if he was discarded when he became an embarrassment.

But the real problem is that he was ever given a position of responsibility in the first place. As you watch Republicans make the ludicrous claim that he’s the victim of an anti-Trump conspiracy, keep that in mind.

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