Pentagon probes former Trump aide Flynn's foreign payments

Katrina Soto
April 28, 2017

Donald Trump's former national security adviser is under formal investigation by the Pentagon for his apparently undisclosed paid speaking engagements in Russian Federation, it emerged on Thursday.

The Trump White House declined to provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with documents related to Flynn's application for a security clearance to work at the White House.

He also released a redacted letter from the DIA saying they could not "locate any records of LTG Flynn seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source".

But on Thursday Elijah Cummings, the committee's vice chair, said the DIA informed the committee that there is no evidence that Flynn requested approval to take the money from RT, which the United States says is an arm of the Russian government.

A key document released Thursday by Cummings showed that Flynn was warned by a Defense Intelligence Agency official in October 2014 that he would need clearance from the agency before he could accept any earnings linked to foreign governments. "And we have no evidence - zilch - that he obtained permission from the secretary of the Army and secretary of State to accept any foreign government payments as required by law", said Cummings.

Flynn resigned from being Trump's national security adviser in February, after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence over conversations he had with with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding sanctions.

Mr Flynn received more than $33,000 (£25,700) from Russian broadcaster RT for giving a speech at its Moscow gala in 2015.

USS Carl Vinson exercises with Japan air force
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Flynn could face criminal prosecution for violating a constitutional ban on foreign payments to retired military officers.

Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Spokesman Sean Spicer, asked on Thursday what he thought of the news that the Defense Department's Inspector General was conducting an investigation into the actions of Flynn, a retired Lieutenant General, said: "That's appropriate". He also worked as a foreign agent representing Turkish interests for a Netherlands-based company, Inovo BV, which paid his company, Flynn Intel Group, $US530,000 in autumn. Chaffetz said he believes the administration simply does not possess the documents, while Cummings has said they are intentionally withholding information about Flynn.

Flynn also did not seek permission from the US government to work as a paid foreign agent for Turkish interests, USA defense officials said last month, raising the possibility that the Pentagon could dock his retirement pay. "I thank the Department of Defense for providing us with unclassified versions of these documents", he added. "We informed them this morning that we would be releasing these documents today".

Both Mr Cummings and Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, have previously said they planned to ask the Army to rule on whether Mr Flynn properly informed them about and asked permission for the payments from Russian and Turkish entities.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, arrives for the President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joint new conference in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. "It does not make any sense, and it makes the American people think the White House has something to hide", he said.

Other reports by My Hot News

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