Michael Flynn Wants a Judge to Allow Him to Travel to a Conference Held by a QAnon Fan

The disgraced former Trump adviser and his lawyer are flirting with a bizarre conspiracy theory to raise money.

Michael Flynn leaves court on June 24, 2019 in Washington.Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

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Michael Flynn wants a judge to allow him to travel to Atlanta to raise money at an event organized by a QAnon supporter. 

Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor before he was forced to resign after reports that he’d misled officials about his private conversations with Russia’s ambassador. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI agents about those conversations. While he awaits sentencing, Flynn is subject to travel restrictions and other conditions.

This week, Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, asked US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to allow Flynn to travel freely in the United States, so that he can go to locations including Georgia, where he plans “to fundraise for his Legal Defense Fund.” That is an apparent reference to Flynn’s scheduled appearance at the upcoming “Digital Soldiers Conference” on September 14 in Atlanta. Tickets range from $49 to $2,500 and the majority of the proceeds will benefit Flynn’s defense fund, according to the event’s website, which notes the conference will offer “social media warriors” a chance to prepare for a “digital civil war” against “censorship and suppression.”

The main sponsor and organizer of the event is Yippy, Inc., which markets a search engine it claims is free of the censorship it alleges other tech companies impose on conservatives. Yippy CEO Rich Granville is a vocal supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that Trump is secretly battling a ring of powerful pedophiles that includes many prominent Democrats and is protected by the so-called deep state. Granville told Mother Jones he believes this theory is “good for America.”

The conference’s website features an American flag with the stars arranged to form a “Q.” Granville claimed that the flag is not an intentional QAnon reference.

In May, an FBI intelligence bulletin specifically cited QAnon in warning that “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” are likely “to carry out criminal or violent acts.” QAnon believers have so far been linked to multiple violent incidents or threats.

In an interview on Thursday, after Mother Jones first reported on the conference, Granville described his company as an “intelligence enterprise” with high-level White House ties. “You don’t know who you’re fucking with,” he warned.

“I don’t give a fuck about the deep state,” he said. “If I could, I would shoot them in the head and throw them in shallow graves and let the dogs dig them up. But I can’t, because that’s illegal.” At one point during the conversation, Granville abruptly asserted that his IQ is 172.

Granville said he is working with Powell, Flynn’s attorney, to organize the “Digital Soldiers” event. Powell wrote a 2014 book accusing Andrew Weissmann, a lead prosecutor under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, of prosecutorial misconduct while he led a task force investigating the Enron scandal. She is also a vocal critic of Mueller. On shows like Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network, Powell has pushed far-right claims that Trump was unfairly targeted by a deep-state conspiracy. As Media Matters has detailed, she has also ventured further afield, touting articles from Infowars, the website of Alex Jones, who has promoted conspiracy theories such as the claim that the 2012 massacre of children in Newtown, Connecticut was a “false flag” attack. And Powell has regularly retweeted accounts that promote QAnon. In May 2018, she included “#TheStormIsComing” and “#TheStorm” in a tweet. QAnon adherents use these phrases to reference what they believe to be Trump’s impending takedown of the deep state and the international ring of pedophiles it is purportedly shielding.

Is Powell knowingly promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory? She did not respond to inquiries.

In addition to Flynn, his son, Michael Flynn Jr., is scheduled to speak at the “Digital Soldiers” conference. Flynn Jr., who in 2016 lost a job with the Trump transition team for promoting the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, hung up when reached by phone. Also slated to speak is George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy aide who in 2017 pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with suspected Russian agents. Papadopoulos, who did not respond to requests for comment, has promoted claims that he was set up by western intelligence agencies and wrote a book titled “Deep State Target.”

Read Flynn’s motion



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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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