Pentagon probes ex-Trump adviser Flynn over payments from foreign groups

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 28, 2017

Perhaps it's appropriate that Donald Trump won't fire Sean Spicer due to his great ratings because on Thursday the press secretary's spin on the Michael Flynn scandal was a real doozy.

He said Trump's transition team and White House staff trusted the work of the previous administration.

"The Pentagon's warning to General Flynn was bold, italicized and could not have been clearer", Cummings said.

The Pentagon office will try to determine whether Mr Flynn "failed to obtain required approval prior to receiving" the payments, according to an April 11 letter from Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine to Representative Jason Chaffetz, the committee chairman.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon spy agency that Flynn headed before he retired, said that it had found no evidence that Flynn had sought permission to accept foreign government payments. Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith Thursday also said "we have found no records of LTG (R) Flynn requesting permission from the Army for foreign employment".

One episode in question involves a trip he took to Moscow in 2015 for RT's anniversary celebration. Did he maybe suspect that banking a few rubles to sit next to Vladimir Putin at the RT dinner might not have gone over well at DIA? The "DIA's letter actually confirms" that the DOD "was fully aware of the trip", lawyer Robert Kelner said in a statement.

Flynn's lawyer claimed a few days ago that he notified DIA, his former agency, before he went to Moscow in 2015 and received almost $35,000 for an appearance from RT.

In addition to looking into the RT funds, the House committee is scrutinizing Flynn's work previous year as a foreign agent hired to promote Turkish government views by a Netherlands-based company owned by a Turkish businessman.

Flynn subsequently accepted more than $500,000 from a Russian government-owned broadcasting company and from a lobbying company representing Turkey, according to the committee.

The Pentagon inspector general is investigating whether a sacked Trump adviser took money from foreign governments without necessary approval.

Beyond the stated awareness of Flynn's trip to Russian Federation, such permission was not outlined in an IG letter to the House Oversight Committee, which is also investigating Flynn.

"The president made the right decision at the right time", Spicer said of Trump's decision to dismiss Flynn in February.

The letter was released Thursday by Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who serves on the House Oversight Committee.

"There is obviously a paper trail that the White House does not want our committee to follow", the Democrats wrote in the letter.

The White House has said Flynn was ousted for misleading the vice president about contact with the Russian ambassador. "Why would you re-run a background check on someone who was the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency that had and did maintain a high level security clearance?"

"My only point is when Gen. Flynn came into the White House, he had an active security clearance that was issued during the Obama administration with all the information that's being discussed that occurred in 2015", Spicer told reporters.

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