This morning, Vice President Elect Mike Pence unequivocally denied that Michael Flynn Jr., the son of President-Elect Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, has a role with the Trump’s transition team.
Flynn Jr.’s involvement became controversial because he has been promoting a vicious conspiracy theory that Clinton aides are running a child sex ring out of a DC pizza shop. After a man opened fire at the pizza establishment to “investigate” the false allegations, Flynn Jr. stood by the discredited story.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) December 6, 2016
The conspiracy, known as “Pizzagate,” which has been pushed by fringe sites like InfoWars, contends that Comet Ping Pong, a local Washington, D.C. pizza parlor, is actually a front for a child sex trafficking ring involving some of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides.
On Sunday, a 28-year-old man from North Carolina walked into the pizza restaurant with an assault rifle, pointed it at an employee and patrons, and after they fled, opened fire in the restaurant. He told police that he came to “self-investigate” the restaurant, and that he wanted to rescue the children he thought were being held there.
Shortly after the armed incident, however, Flynn Jr. tweeted that the conspiracy theory will “remain a story” until “proven to be false.”
Flynn Jr. was involved in the transition. He has an official government transition email and photographs of Flynn Jr. at Trump tower with his father — some helpfully tweeted by Flynn Jr. himself.
— Michael Flynn Jr🇺🇸 (@mflynnJR) November 25, 2016
The Trump team has since acknowledged that, despite Pence’s unequivocal statement that Flynn Jr. “has no involvement in the transition whatsoever,” Flynn Jr. did play a role in the transition.
According the Trump spokesman, that role is now over, but it’s not clear when Flynn Jr. was relieved of his duties. Flynn Jr. is his father’s closest adviser and, whether or not he has an official role, is likely advising the man who Trump has named the next National Security adviser.
Since Pizzagate, Flynn Jr.’s involvement in the emerging Trump government has been put under a microscope. That focus though, while understandable, leaves out the larger context. Flynn Jr. is not the only person on Flynn’s team that pushes conspiracy theories — he’s not even the only Flynn.
The elder Flynn also has tendency to promote conspiracies. He is currently drawing attention for promoting a different conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and sex crimes involving children.
Flynn Sr. also has a long history of promoting conspiracy theories online. According to a Politico review of his Twitter feed, Flynn promoted dubious stories 16 times just since August 9th. Typically, Flynn retweets other’s post rather than writing them himself, but for the conspiratorially minded, his promotion gives the stories validation.
Some of the other stories that Flynn has retweeted included a bizarre story alleging that Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager took part in occult rituals involving consuming blood and bodily fluids and that the United Nations is involved in a massive plot to rule the world with one government and prohibit Christianity.
Flynn is Trump’s National Security Adviser, and will be responsible for helping the President-elect separate true security risks from false flags and misinformation.
Meanwhile, Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland, who was named Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser is working directly under Flynn, also has a history of promoting anti-Clinton conspiracy theories.
In 2006, McFarland mounted a primary challenge to then-Senator Hillary Clinton. At the time, she claimed that Hillary Clinton deployed helicopters to fly over her house in Southampton, NY and photograph her. At a Republican event in Suffolk county, she also reportedly claimed that Clinton’s team was spying on her Manhattan apartment and taking pictures of her.
There is no evidence that either event occurred.
Flynn Jr. has a long history of promoting conspiracy theories online. He also has a history of retweeting white nationalist Twitter accounts, and is active on Gab. After Twitter banned several prominent white nationalists, many have resurfaced on Gab, which bans illegal activity but nothing else.