In the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 insurgency, reports identified “a Pentagon official” as having blocked requests for increased security and the use of the National Guard. In particular, there was a call between between Chief Steven Sund of the Capitol police in which he asked for the use of the D.C. National Guard. This happened as insurgents were pushing past police lines, storming the Capitol, and overwhelming the available force. As The Washington Post reported on the day after the attempted coup, Sund’s request was flatly denied as “an official from the office of the secretary of the Army said that wasn’t going to be possible.”
This unidentified official appears in numerous reports in the days after the insurgency, always with the role of refusing to provide assistance to police who realize the level of violence in the Trumpist crowd is beyond their ability to contain. But two weeks later, it appears that this official may have finally been identified. Because the Post is now reporting, that one of those on the call was Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn—Michael Flynn’s brother.
Michael Flynn has been at the center of calls for simply discarding democracy and installing Donald Trump regardless of electoral outcome for years. Long before he was pardoned by Trump, Flynn was at the fevered center of the QAnon movement. It was “General Flynn” that QAnon believers expected to be leading the avenging forces who captured all those Democrats on the day of “the storm.”
Flynn has reveled in his central role, frequently retweeting QAnon claims or weaving their delusions into his public statements. The night before the insurgency, Flynn spoke to the Trump supporters outside the White House. “This country is awake tomorrow,” said Flynn. “The members, the members of Congress, the members of the House of Representatives, the members of the United States Senate, those of you who are feeling weak tonight . . . we the people are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie.”
None of that actually indicts Flynn’s brother as the person who tacitly supported the insurrection by preventing police from accessing the resources they needed. However, there is something else in the reporting that definitely suggest Charles Flynn may have been involved in making that call. For one thing, the other Flynn brother’s position was “deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and training.” While that doesn’t put him in the chain of command for the D.C. National Guard, it puts him under the Army officials who do make the decision about deploying those forces.
But the official who generated a stumbling block to releasing the guard on the phone call wasn’t someone who necessarily had the power to make that decision. Instead, they pushed back on the request, forcing a delay in deployment of National Guard forces. As the Post originally reported on January 7.
A U.S. defense official said the Army general on the call didn’t formally deny the request but rather reinforced the negative optics of having uniformed personnel inside the Capitol ...
That was apparently enough to delay the authorization of the D.C. National Guard to respond to the rapidly unraveling situation by almost three hours.
But was that general Charles Flynn? The best reason to believe this may be this—in initial reporting, the Army lied about Flynn being part of the call. In fact, the Army denied that Flynn was involved in the critical Jan. 6 call “despite multiple inquiries on the matter.” It wasn’t until Inauguration Day that the Post was able to confirm that Flynn was actually present during the call.
So … an Army general pushed back on sending the National Guard to address an insurgency that was even seeing thousands of Trump supporters force their way up the Capitol steps. That followed on Michael Flynn inflaming the same crowd just hours earlier. And that certainly smells like sedition.
If Charles Flynn was not the general who delayed the release of the Guard, the Army had better indicate who was the one to make that call. Immediately.