Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump's First National Security Adviser Is In Even More Trouble Over His Russia Payments

The leaders of the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday said that former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn appears to have not properly disclosed payments he received from Russia to the US government.

Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings, the chair and ranking member of the committee, told reporters Tuesday that following a briefing with the Defense Intelligence Agency (which Flynn once headed), they believed that the former general had not properly listed income he received in 2015 from Moscow.

"Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law, and that is, he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity," Chaffetz said. "I see no evidence that he actually did that."

Flynn — who was fired in February, just 24 days into President Donald Trump's term — had traveled to Russia to attend the 10th anniversary gala for Russia Today, a state-owned media company. That he was paid nearly $68,000 for this trip and others that year was a fact that should have been noted on his SF-86, the screening document necessary for the background check run prior to receiving a security clearance. Flynn was forced in March to register as a foreign agent for previously undisclosed lobbying work on behalf of Turkish clients during the waning days of the election and into the transition.

Chaffetz and Cummings alike dodged answering whether they believed Flynn had committed a crime, noting that the House Intelligence Committee was currently the lead investigative committee on matters related to Russia, though they did express interest in a hearing with Flynn. Cummings did note the fact that lying on an SF-86 can draw up to five years in prison, but Chaffetz chose instead to focus on the possibility of the money Flynn did not disclose being seized.

"If that money was received by General Flynn, and we believe that it was, that money needs to be recovered," Chaffetz said. "That final determination, again, will have to come from the Department of the Army as well as the Department of Defense, but as a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else."  Read full story here 

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