Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has sought out refuge from the multiple Russian probes in his home town, Middletown, RI.
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, at the center of multiple probes into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, seeks sanctuary from the swirling eddy of news coverage in the beach town where he grew up surfing and skateboarding, one of nine siblings crammed into a 1,200-square foot house.
Middletown is his refuge and the ocean is his therapy, and he’s spent recent weeks here surfing and figuring out his path forward, according to friends and family members. They say the man they have known since his childhood here in the 1960s and 1970s — the student body president who rose from a start in Army ROTC to the rank of lieutenant general — isn’t the same man they see portrayed in news reports.
“Have you seen that in the news? They talk about Mike as a traitor? The thought of that is absolutely insane to me,” said older brother Jack.
Forced from government service into retirement in 2014 by the Obama administration, Flynn went on to set up a company that accepted speaking fees from Russian entities and later did consulting work for a Turkish-owned business. He joined the Trump campaign and then the administration, but the Trump White House ousted him after saying he mischaracterized conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. A wide range of his actions — including foreign contracts and payments, and whether he lied to officials — are under scrutiny by investigators.
Thomas A. Heaney Jr., a retired Army colonel who has known Flynn since they were 9 years old, said Flynn has been doing well and has begun work again as a consultant after shutting down his old firm.
“He knows that most of the allegations in terms of the way they were presented were sensationalized and are not true,” said Heaney, who lives in the area and has seen Flynn several times this summer, most recently at Fourth of July parties. “He’s got his head up. He knows he’s a good servant. He’s a patriot and he didn’t deserve to be treated the way he’s being treated, but he’s not letting that overwhelm him.”
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