- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The son of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is no longer involved in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, representatives confirmed Tuesday, as concerns swell over his use of social media to propagate an unfounded conspiracy theory surrounding a Washington, D.C. pizzeria.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and a spokesman for Mr. Trump separately told reporters this week that Michael Flynn Jr. has no involvement at this time in Mr. Trump’s transition team amid criticism directed towards the younger Flynn as a result of his recent Twitter posts concerning the so-called pizzagate conspiracy.

Weeks of baseless online speculation surrounding D.C’s Comet Ping Pong restaurant and a supposed child abuse ring tied to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign started in October when WikiLeaks began publishing a trove of emails stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, including a handful of messages involving pizza. That hearsay culminated Sunday evening with the arrest of a North Carolina man who brought a rifle into the restaurant and allegedly opened fire while “self-investigating” the theory, according to law enforcement.

As media outletsl attempted to make sense of his motives Sunday evening, the younger Flynn took to Twitter to fan the conspiracy’s flames further.

“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 wrote.

The younger Flynn’s remark didn’t seem to sit well with CNN host Jake Tapper, who fired off a series of private messages in response that were soon leaked online.

“Michael — the police called pizza gate a fictitious conspiracy theory tonight,” Mr. Tapper wrote, according to screenshots of the conversation. “Does someone have to die before you take this [expletive] seriously. Spreading this nonsense is dangerous.”

“I want it to be false,” the younger Flynn responded, as indicated by the screenshots, triggering Mr. Tapper to fire back yet again.

“It is not the site of a satanic pedophilia cult,” the CNN host insisted. “It is a [expletive] pizzeria. Show me what you’re talking about that proves a satanic pedophilia cult. Your tweet is wildly irresponsible. Listen to me. You are going to get someone killed. Maybe an innocent child. For what??????”

In a report published online the following morning, CNN said that both Flynns – the incoming national security adviser and his conspiracy theory peddling son – have been given official government transition email addresses. Separately, Financial Times reported Monday that the younger Flynn has “assisted in personnel vetting, managing his father’s schedule and fielding transition-related emails.” Before long, however, multiple members of the Trump administration had distanced the president-elect’s transition team from the younger Flynn.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, Mr. Pence said that the younger Flynn “has no involvement in the transition whatsoever.”

“The younger Michael Flynn was helping his father with some administration and scheduling duties early on in the transition process and he is no longer involved with transition efforts,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller clarified to Politico on Tuesday when asked about the CNN report.

Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, faces several gun-related charges in relation to Sunday’s incident at Comet Ping Pong. D.C. Magistrate Judge Joseph E. Beshouri on Monday ordered him to be kept behind bars pending a hearing scheduled for later this week.

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