Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has embraced his position as a hero to QAnon conspiracy theorists. He took the QAnon oath, sold QAnon T-shirts, and even auctioned off a QAnon quilt. He appeared at a QAnon convention and signed books with a QAnon slogan. Some QAnon followers even believe that Flynn is “Q,” the mysterious figure behind QAnon.
But a recording released late Saturday night by a one-time Flynn ally suggests that the retired three-star general privately believes QAnon to be “total nonsense.”
On Saturday night, pro-Trump lawyer and QAnon booster Lin Wood released a recording of what purports to be a phone call between Wood and Flynn on Telegram. The audio’s publication comes amid a right-wing civil war pitting Wood against one-time allies like Flynn and other figures involved in the 2020 attempt to overturn the election.
In the call, Wood complains to Flynn that his QAnon supporters had attacked Wood online. But Flynn attempts to disown QAnon, claiming it’s a “disinformation campaign” created by the CIA.
“I think it’s a disinformation campaign,” Flynn said on the call. “I think it’s a disinformation campaign that the CIA created. That’s what I believe. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what I think it is. I think it’s a disinformation campaign.”
Later in the recording, Flynn called QAnon “total nonsense.”
“I find it total nonsense,” Flynn said. “And I think it’s a disinformation campaign created by the left.”
Flynn could not be reached for comment.
In the call, Flynn promises to send Wood an article about QAnon’s failure to come true. Based on text messages from Flynn that Wood also published on his Telegram account, the article Flynn referenced on the call was a Nov. 2 article by white supremacist radio host Hal Turner that endorsed the idea of mass violence.
In the blog post that Flynn apparently cited, Turner ridicules QAnon believers who traveled to Dallas believing the John F. Kennedy Jr. would appear. Turner wrote that Trump supporters would repeatedly look like fools “until something like a mass slaughter happens,” writing that the JFK Jr. debacle was caused because people were “too cowardly to stand up, pick up guns, and go kill the people” Turner falsely claimed stole the election.
Flynn’s private disavowal of QAnon would mark a blow to the conspiracy theory movement, which claims the world is run by a cabal of cannibal-pedophiles that can only be defeated by Trumpworld stars like Flynn. In May, Flynn was feted as a hero at a QAnon convention in Dallas, where he endorsed the idea of a Myanmar-style coup in the United States.
Wood’s publication of the audio comes as part of a growing feud between Wood and Flynn and other figures active in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The fight kicked off last week when recently acquitted Kenosha shooting defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, a former Wood client, accused Wood in a Fox News interview of deliberately keeping him in jail to raise money off of his case.
Suddenly under attack by Rittenhouse, Wood grew publicly furious that allies like Flynn and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell weren’t strenuously defending him. The ensuing clash has consumed QAnon and other far-right communities over the past week, while Wood grows increasingly hostile, even claiming at one point that a plane he was set to take a flight on was sabotaged in an attempt to kill him.
It’s not clear when the call between Wood and Flynn took place, though it appears to have come sometime in early November since Flynn mentioned Turner’s article. The Daily Beast couldn’t verify the audio’s authenticity, but Wood regularly records phone calls with his allies and reporters. Last week, Wood published a recording of a call with former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, a one-time Wood ally involved in the attempt to overturn the election. Byrne, who is caught on the call criticizing Powell, confirmed that recording’s authenticity in his own Telegram post.