“If you’re a fan of Flynn, then you’re already part of the Trumpian base that believes the deep state is out to railroad Trump and his associates,” said Republican strategist Rob Stutzman. “Involving Flynn would just be one more tactic that seems solely focused on energizing Trump’s base instead of expanding it.”
A former White House official questioned why Flynn would want to return to Trump’s orbit after all he’s been through. “If you dodged a bullet, why come back in the firing line?” the former official asked.
Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, did not respond to a request for comment.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, served as a senior adviser to the president’s 2016 campaign focused on foreign policy and national security. As one of Trump’s few military surrogates at the time, he defended the New York businessman’s vow to improve U.S.-Russia relations and led calls for the jailing of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. During a fiery speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Flynn led the crowded arena in a “Lock her up!” chant — a staple of Trump’s marquee rallies.
His spirited defenses of Trump and sharp criticism of the Obama administration earned him the campaign job that led to his appointment as national security adviser. But just 22 days into his job, Trump fired Flynn for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversation with the Russian ambassador. Flynn also eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those same conversations.
Pence apparently holds no grudge.
“I think Gen. Michael Flynn is an American patriot; he served this country with great distinction,” Pence said in May in an interview with Axios on HBO. “And for my part, I’d be happy to see Michael Flynn again.”
Two of the Trump campaign officials said Flynn’s fall from grace — he was one of the first senior Trump aides charged in connection to the Russia probe — did not give them pause about inviting him to assist the campaign in some capacity.
One of the officials said he would be an ideal addition to the campaign’s payroll if Biden taps Flynn’s predecessor, Susan Rice, to be his running mate. Rice, President Barack Obama’s final national security adviser, is one a number of women Biden is considering for vice president. Trump and Republican lawmakers accuse Rice — without evidence — of committing a crime by leaking the identities of senior Trump associates picked up as part of U.S. intelligence-led surveillance of foreign officials.
Flynn “would be our No. 1 draft pick to open President Trump’s rallies if Joe Biden actually picks Susan Rice,” the campaign official said, adding that Flynn could “discuss his own experience with the deep state that Biden and Rice would do everything to protect.”
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.