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Charles Flynn: Army now acknowledges Michael Flynn's brother was a part of Army response to Capitol riot

CNN logo CNN 1/22/2021 By Oren Liebermann and Barbara Starr, CNN
a group of people on a boat: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) © Samuel Corum/Getty Images Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

The Army is now acknowledging that Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, the brother of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was in the room for one of the key January 6 phone calls in which DC government and US Capitol Police were asking for National Guard troops to quell the unfolding violence at the US Capitol.

The decision-making has come under scrutiny as city and Capitol Police officials have alleged that the Pentagon was slow to respond, while the Pentagon and Army maintain they never denied or delayed requests for the National Guard.

In official timelines released by the Department of Defense in the wake of the riot, Charles Flynn, the deputy chief of staff of the Army, was not listed as participating in any of the calls that day about mobilizing the National Guard to respond to the riot.

The Washington Post was the first to report Flynn's participation in the call.

"I entered the room after the call began and departed prior to the call ending, as I believed a decision was imminent from (then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy) and I needed to be in my office to assist in executing the decision," Flynn said in a statement released to CNN. There was no clear answer about how long Flynn was on the call or whether he contributed to the conversation.

The Washington Post reports that the Army "falsely denied for days that Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn" was involved in the key meetings. One of the officials who was on the call told CNN in the days following the insurrection at the Capitol that Flynn was not on the calls, but the military did not confirm his participation until Wednesday.

There is no indication that Charles Flynn agrees with his brother, who was a vocal adherent of disputing President Joe Biden's victory on behalf of the former president.


Video: Trump announces pardon for Michael Flynn in tweet (CNN)

Trump announces pardon for Michael Flynn in tweet
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Michael Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump, had suggested in an Oval Office meeting that the President should invoke martial law as part of the effort to overturn the election, though others in the room pushed back on the idea, CNN previously reported. At a rally the day before the riot, Michael Flynn urged the crowd to dispute the election results.

"Those of you who are feeling weak tonight, those of you that don't have the moral fiber in your body, get some tonight because tomorrow, we the people are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie," he said.

The official timeline from the office of then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller listed McCarthy, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, the city's deputy mayor, DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director Christopher Rodriguez, and Metropolitan Police Department leadership as participants on the call. Gen. Walter Piatt, director of the Army staff, was also on the call.

But there was no mention of the involvement of Charles Flynn, a three-star general who has already been approved by Congress for a fourth star. Flynn is responsible for operations, plans and training, but he is not part of the chain of command of the DC National Guard, and he does not have the authority to deploy troops.

The revelation comes as the Department of Defense is already trying to rebut accusations that it denied or delayed the deployment of additional troops as the riot worsened on Capitol Hill, eventually leaving five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. A DC official called the process of calling up more guardsmen "long" and "tortured."

Pentagon officials have repeatedly denied the accusations, insisting there were no intentional delays, though McCarthy on Monday told CNN the response was hampered by an "archaic system."

In the days leading up to January 6, Pentagon officials were sensitive to the deployment of troops on the streets of DC, particularly after the criticism they faced following the Army's response to June's protests. Nevertheless, the Pentagon deployed 340 members of the DC National Guard, asking both the city and the Capitol Police if they needed more troops. Both said no. But as the situation rapidly deteriorated on January 6, now-ousted Capitol Police Chief Stephen Sund and DC officials say military leaders waffled and were overly concerned about the public perception of more troops being deployed on the streets once again.

The open involvement of Charles Flynn, just one day after his brother, Michael Flynn, egged on Trump supports with cries of a stolen election and violent imagery, would have only increased that scrutiny. The elder Flynn was permanently banned from Twitter for promoting QAnon and spreading lies and conspiracy theories about the presidential election. Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump's first national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian diplomats before Trump pardoned him in November.

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