Officials from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team attempted to distance themselves Tuesday from Michael G. Flynn – the son and former top aide to his father, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is Trump’s pick for national security adviser and was involved in the transition effort.
However, government sources tell CNN that the Trump transition team had requested a security clearance for the younger Flynn.
When asked about the request for clearance on CNN’s “The Lead,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence wouldn’t answer Jake Tapper’s repeated questions about whether he knew the transition team sought security clearance for Flynn Jr. Instead, Pence repeated that the younger Flynn was merely helping his father with scheduling and administrative matters – and no longer is doing so.
Pressed on seeking a security clearance for Flynn Jr., Pence said: “Well, whatever the appropriate paperwork was to assist him in that regard, Jake, I’m sure was taking place. But that’s no longer the case.”
“All of our families want to be helpful, and four weeks to the day from Election Day, we’ve got a lot of work to do. But Mike Flynn Jr. is no longer associated with Gen. Flynn’s efforts or the transition team, and we’re focused eyes forward,” Pence said.
For months, the younger Flynn has spread deranged conspiracy theories, including one making the unfounded and nonsensical accusation that a pizzeria in Washington is a secret home of a Satanic pedophilia cult. On Sunday, that wild lie almost had tragic consequences, with a North Carolina man entering the restaurant armed with guns.
The younger Flynn continued to defend the baseless “PizzaGate” theory later Sunday evening.
“Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many ‘coincidences’ tied to it,” he tweeted.
On Tuesday morning, Pence said that the younger Flynn had no role on the transition.
A transition spokesman, Jason Miller, later amended that statement to acknowledge that Flynn had worked for the transition, though he downplayed it as merely “helping out with scheduling and administrative work.”
Trump transition team officials would not elaborate as to why the younger Flynn was no longer doing work for them, or the circumstances under which he left. A source familiar with the situation said Flynn Jr. was asked to leave, with Trump giving the direct order for the move.
Both Flynns have faced criticism for pushing false conspiracy theories in recent months.
In a speech in August, the elder Flynn falsely claimed that Florida Democrats voted to impose Islamic Shariah law at the state and local level. He made similar comments in a speech in Dallas.
“In the state of Texas – your legislators, your state representatives, your state senators, there’s a bunch of them that would be willing to have Sharia law imposed in the state of Texas,” Flynn said.
CNN’s KFile previously reported that the younger Flynn has posted racially insensitive tweets and frequently shares unfounded conspiracy theories, including the claim that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would be tried for treason if Trump were elected.
He also posted a unfounded story claiming hackers would release a video of former President Bill Clinton raping a teenage girl. In one post, he said so-called alt-right social commentator Mike Cernovich, who frequently shares unfounded news stories, “a source I trust.”
In a Facebook post from October, Flynn shared a fake news story claiming Obama flaunted an erection to female reporters in 2008.
Flynn tweeted multiple times unfounded claims about Sen. Marco Rubio’s “coke house, gayish dance troupe, and foam parties.” He also frequently re-tweets Paul Watson, editor for the conspiracy website InfoWars, sometimes using the hashtag “#infowars” himself.
The younger Flynn has also frequently used the term “cuck” – a shorthand slur for cuck-conservative, which combines the words cuckold and conservative. And he often labels Obama, Clinton, CNN, “Saturday Night Live” and others communists.
This story has been updated
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott contributed to this report.