Michael Flynn reportedly shot down an offer to be Donald Trump's chief of staff because of legal debts from the Russia investigation

  • Donald Trump reportedly wanted Michael Flynn to be his chief of staff in the final weeks of his term.
  • Flynn was the short-tenured former national security advisor who pled guilty to misleading the FBI during the Russia investigation.
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In the final days of his term, President Donald Trump considered making Michael Flynn his chief of staff, according to the New York Times. 

Flynn was the former national security advisor who was fired just weeks into the job.

He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one count of lying to investigators as part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, he admitted to misleading FBI investigators in a January 2017 interview about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time, during the 2016 transition period.

Trump in November pardoned him. 

“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”

A month later, Trump floated the idea of bringing Flynn back into the White House, with just weeks to go before the transition to the Biden administration, the Times reported. 

At a White House meeting, Trump said he wanted Flynn to look over the FBI. He also considered establishing Flynn as his chief of staff, according to the Times. 

It’s unclear whether Trump was serious about the suggestions, the Times reported. Flynn declined the offers because he wanted to pay down the legal debts from participating in the Russia investigation. 

In the public eye, Flynn has continued to be one of Trump’s most ardent supporters. He was booted off Twitter in January, after using the platform to urge Trump to use martial law to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Joe Biden won the election in November. But in the weeks following, Trump and his supporters — like Flynn — continuously made baseless allegations of fraud to try an make Americans believe the results were invalid. 

Flynn has also been one of most visible backers of QAnon conspiracy theory movement. In 2019, he was scheduled to speak at a QAnon-organized conference.

Flynn leveraged his QAnon fanbase to pay down the legal bills he amassed during the Russia investigation, the Times reported. Flynn has been selling merchandise like T-shirts and hats featuring the “Where we go one, we go all” QAnon motto. 

— Additional reporting by Sonam Sheth.

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