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Michael Flynn never told us about his Russian Federation payments — Defense Intelligence Agency

28 April, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Eddie Kim

He has claimed previously that his client informed officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency, which the retired lieutenant general helmed until his firing in 2014, about the trip to Russian Federation.

Mr Flynn received $US45,000 to appear in 2015 with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gala dinner for RT, a Kremlin-controlled media organisation.

The probe is of payments received by Flynn from Russia's state-sponsored RT television network and a Turkish-owned company linked to Turkey's government, and whether they qualify as coming from foreign governments, and whether Flynn properly informed military authorities about them. At the time, Flynn was retired from the Army but he was still barred from accepting payments from foreign governments without permission from the secretary of the army and the secretary of state. Any debt collection due to an emoluments clause violation is capped at no more than what an individual makes in retirement pay during a period of unauthorised employment.

Trump fired Flynn, his major military surrogate on the campaign trail, in February after Flynn ostensibly lied to Vice-President Mike Pence over conversations Flynn had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak concerning easing sanctions on Moscow. It specifically told Flynn he would need congressional approval before accepting payments from a foreign government.

In a news conference following the documents' release, Cummings again sharply criticized the White House for not releasing documents related to Flynn.

Another Defense Intelligence Agency released Thursday also revealed they could not locate any records of Flynn "seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source".

The issue involving Turkey emerged after Flynn retroactively registered in March with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for work that his company, Flynn Intel Group, carried out on behalf of Inovo BV.

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In a letter sent to the acting secretary of the Army, Republican House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz requested that "in light of these apparent violations" the Army establish a way for Mr Flynn to repay the hundred of thousands of dollars that he received from the governments of Russian Federation and Turkey. Flynn is the majority owner and chief executive officer of the firm.

Also, new documents released by the ranking Democrat on a House oversight committee showed Flynn was warned by authorities when he retired from the military in 2014 not to take foreign government-sourced money without "advance approval" from the Pentagon.

"These documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon", Mr Cummings said.

Such payments possibly violate Defense Department and U.S. constitutional prohibitions on retired military personnel conducting activities involving foreign governments without advance clearance.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has called the Oversight Committee's request for documents from the transition period "ridiculous", and he also said that everything under discussion occurred before he was employed by the Trump administration. "We informed them this morning that we would be releasing these documents today".

Earlier this week Cummings, joined by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, said Flynn may have violated the law by not disclosing the payments.

Democrats on the panel reminded Mr Chaffetz that for years he has warned witnesses that complying with committee requests "is not an optional exercise". "It does not make any sense, and it makes the American people think the White House has something to hide", he said. Chaffetz has left Washington for a few weeks while he undergoes emergency surgery on his foot.

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