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7 Jan, 2023 10:30

Twitter reinstates key ‘Russiagate’ figure

Trump adviser Michael Flynn was banned in 2021 over the January 6 US Capitol riot
Twitter reinstates key ‘Russiagate’ figure

Former US President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser and one of the key figures in the ‘Russiagate’ controversy, Michael Flynn, was reinstated on Friday on Twitter after a two-year ban. The move comes as part of an online amnesty launched last year by the platform's new owner Elon Musk, who promised more transparency and an overhaul of a number of policies.

Flynn was banned from Twitter shortly after a group of Trump supporters stormed and briefly overran the US Capitol building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Trump and several of his allies were also kicked off the platform following the same incident. The former president’s account was restored late last year after Musk took over Twitter.

“I want to personally thank Elon Musk for all he is doing to help protect our basic human rights, especially our freedom of speech,” Flynn wrote in his first tweet after his account has been restored. “And thanks for allowing me back on Twitter. To all who offered their strong voices of support to bring me back, thank you!” 

Trump appointed Flynn, a retired US Army lieutenant general, to serve as his adviser shortly after assuming the presidency in January 2017. However, Flynn resigned less than a month later after being accused of misleading officials over a phone conversation he had with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time. The controversy occurred during the wider allegations that the Trump campaign had colluded with Moscow in order to win the election. Trump strongly denied this, accusing Democrats of staging a “witch hunt.” 

In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his phone call with Kislyak. He later withdrew his guilty plea and accused the government of trying to frame him. The Justice Department eventually dropped the charges against Flynn in 2020, and Trump pardoned him for any wrongdoing the same year.