Michael Flynn’s brother lied to Congress in Capitol riot testimony, ex-aide to top DC national guard general says

The report by a top DC national guard lawyer calls General Charles Flynn an ‘absolute and unmitigated liar’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 06 December 2021 20:00 GMT
General Charles Flynn assumes command of US Army Pacific
General Charles Flynn assumes command of US Army Pacific (US Army Pacific)
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A former aide to the District of Columbia National Guard general who was in command during the 6 January insurrection has accused two top Army officers — including the brother of disgraced Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — of lying to Congress in an attempt to blame DC national guard officials for delays in response to the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 Burning of Washington.

The accusations against General Charles Flynn, who served as the Army’s deputy chief of staff for operations on 6 January, and then-Army staff director Lieutenant General Walter Piatt, were laid out in a memorandum authored by Colonel Earl Matthews, who was the top military legal aide to Major General William Walker that day.

The 36-page document, the existence and contents of which were first reported by Politico, is a rebuttal to a report the Defence Department’s inspector general issued last month. That report accused General Walker of not immediately following an order to deploy troops to repel the horde of then-president Donald Trump’s supporters who’d stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. General Walker, who since 26 April has served as the House of Representatives’ Sergeant-at-Arms, has denied the allegations and called for the report to be retracted.

The memorandum by Col Matthews, a Harvard and Georgetown University-educated lawyer who served in top Pentagon and National Security Council roles during the Trump administration and holds graduate degrees from the National Intelligence University and Army War College, supports Gen Walker’s version of events, which match a Defence Department chronology compiled by Army notetakers.

The memorandum alleges that the inspector general’s report is “replete with factual inaccuracies” and singles out Generals Flynn and Piatt as “absolute and unmitigated liars” who “repeatedly and deliberately made false statements under oath” during a 15 June appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. 

In his June testimony, Gen Piatt recounted a conversation which he said occurred between then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Gen Walker during a conference call in which Mr McCarthy allegedly ordered him to prepare a “quick reaction force” of soldiers to aide capitol police at 2.30 pm that day.

“Immediately upon hearing the frantic request for assistance, [Mr McCarthy] asked [Gen Walker] how quickly the 40-member QRF could respond; [Gen Walker] stated the QRF could be ready to move in 20 minutes. [Mr McCarthy] directed {Gen Walker] to prepare to move the QRF to the Capitol Building and support the USCP, but to remain at the Armory until he confirmed approval from [Mr McCarthy],” Gen Piatt recalled.

According to Col Matthews — who still serves in the DC National Guard’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate — Gen Piatt’s recollection was “drawn from whole cloth and did not occur,” and was one of many repeated “false or misleading or statements” he made during his appearance before the committee that day.

Col Matthews also drew attention to a statement from Gen Flynn’s testimony, in which the general told committee members that he directed a group of “40 officers and noncommissioned officers” who “immediately worked to recall the 154 D.C. National Guard personnel from their current missions, reorganize them, reacquaint them, and begin to redeploy them to the Capitol”.

“[Gen] Flynn’s sworn statement is so astounding on its face that it defies reason. If it does not constitute the willful and deliberate misleading of Congress, then nothing does,” Col Matthews wrote. He explained that the 154 guard members in question were already on duty, trained to deal with civil disturbances, and were properly outfitted and familiar with Washington, DC, but were delayed only “because of inaction and inertia at the Pentagon”.

Continuing, Col Matthews also took issue with statements both generals made in written responses to questions from House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney on the matter of whether either officer expressed any concern with “optics” — the potential fallout from having images of soldiers in riot gear guarding the Capitol — during the attack.

According to former US Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, Gen Piatt’s initial response to his 2.30 pm plea for national guard assistance was: “I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background.”

But in a response to Ms Maloney, Gen Piatt wrote that he did “not recall using the term optics, visuals, image, public perception or any similar term during the 2:30 p.m. phone call, or in any other conversation on January 6, 2021” even though he later told the Defence Department inspector general that optics was one of his concerns.

“Piatt evidently forgot about the Army notetaker present in McCarthy’s office with him who heard and recorded his statements. Notetakers on two different sides of the river heard Piatt say the optics matter. At least 9 people then who were in the meeting heard Piatt mention optics. Only Piatt and Flynn are adamant that he did not,” Col Matthews wrote.

He added that Gen Flynn, whose brother Michael Flynn had been calling for the military to seize ballots and impose martial law to keep Mr Trump in office,” had “engaged in outright perjury” when he told Ms Maloney that he “did not observe” Gen Piatt “express concern about the visuals, image, or public perception of sending the D.C. National Guard to the U.S. Capitol at any point on January 6, 2021 or in the following days”.

The Independent has contacted the House Oversight Committee and Select Committee to investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol for comment.

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