The hashtag #FlynnFriday appeared on Twitter late Wednesday as hundreds of social media users responded to a sudden rumor that fired Donald Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would be the target of a new indictment handed down by Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller — and that Flynn could be arrested as soon as Friday, November 3. The online rumor appears to have started with Scott Dworkin, a former Democratic strategist who is now a senior adviser to the Democratic Coalition Against Trump.
Last Friday, after news leaked that Mueller had filed criminal charges against targets who at that time remained unidentified, Flynn was widely believed to be first on the list for indictment. The 58-year-old Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a retired United States Army Lieutenant General, was a prominent surrogate for the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and was perhaps best known for leading a chant of “Lock her up!” directed at Democrat Hillary Clinton at the Republican National Convention in July of last year.
Trump named Flynn his National Security Adviser, but was forced to fire Flynn just 24 days after his January 20 inauguration, after Flynn admitted that he concealed meetings he had held during the campaign with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Later, reports also revealed that Flynn had been paid nearly $600,000 to lobby for Turkish interests while he was working for the Trump campaign. And the Justice Department warned the White House on January 26 that Flynn was likely “compromised” by Russia.
But Flynn was not indicted on Monday, Mueller instead choosing to make former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, also a top Trump campaign adviser, the first targets to be indicted in the Russia probe.
Flynn is also suspected by the FBI of lying about the conversations he held with Kislyak. Flynn has denied that he discussed the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia with Kislayk, and in January allegedly lied to the FBI about those talks in which, the investigators believe, Flynn actually did talk about the sanctions with Kislyak.
Whether Trump agreed to lift or ease Russia sanctions in exchange for Russia’s covert and illegal help in swaying the 2016 election in his favor is the question at the heart of the Trump Russia scandal investigation.
Earlier this year, Flynn reportedly sought immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying to congress about his role in the Trump Russia collusion affair. But congress did not grant him immunity and he continues to face the possibility that he will be indicted.
But will that indictment happen on Friday? As of Thursday morning, there were no leaks or other indications that it would — but online rumors, many posts to Twitter with the hashtag #FlynnFriday, continued to insist — or at least hope — that Flynn’s indictment would indeed come down before the week was out.
— Is it 2018 yet? (@TeresaMarieEspo) November 2, 2017
— Michael O Hanna (@michael_o_hanna) November 1, 2017
Several sources say Misha Flynn’s time in the barrel is next
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) November 2, 2017
Just heard a rumor Mike Flynn is getting indicted this week.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) November 2, 2017
If the rumors prove true and an indictment of Flynn does indeed come down just four days after the Manafort and Gates indictments, the move is likely to send shock waves through the Trump White House where according to reports, Trump and his staff were releived that Manafort, not Flynn, was the target of Mueller’s first indictments in the Russia investigation — because Flynn was part of the White House team while Manafort played no formal role since he was forced out in August of his own Russia ties.
“People are relieved it’s Manafort and not Flynn,” one Trump aide told the political site Axios.com. “Because it’s Manafort it’s purely a campaign matter. Nobody internal will be weighing in.”
But that could change if the #FlynnFriday rumors turn out to be accurate and Michael Flynn is indeed indicted this week, or soon afterward.
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]