Michael Flynn was paid by Russians before joining Trump team
Mar 17, 2017, 01:21
President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, received $33,750 from Russia's state-owned television network for a 2015 speech he made in Moscow, documents released Thursday show.
Documents released Thursday by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, include a November 13, 2015 email from a RT TV official indicating the broadcaster "would be covering the payment of General Flynn's fee from our London office".
It was reported Thursday that former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn had received upwards of $50,000 from various Russian companies during the 2015 calendar year, further adding to the speculation (and confusion) over his not registering as a foreign agent prior to his appointment.
The extent of the payments to Flynn added a new chapter into a string of contacts Trump aides had with Moscow in the months before Trump's victory in the USA presidential election in November, as well as during the transition period before he took office in January. That firm was caught up in a Russian espionage investigation in December.
It is still not clear what prompted Flynn to register as a foreign agent for that work.
Flynn and his son flew to Moscow and stayed at a luxury hotel from December 9 to December 12, according to email exchanges between his speaker's bureau, Leading Authorities, and a representative of the network.
Cummings suggests that the payments may have violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.
The retired lieutenant general has also drawn criticism for his acceptance of foreign payments during a stint in the private sector after stepping down as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Russian prosecutors have charged a manager at the company with treason, saying he and two Russian information-security officials were "interacting" with US intelligence officials, according to a defense lawyer in the case.
Since then, federal investigators and lawmakers have been poring over documents compiled by the US intelligence community, which concluded that Russian Federation meddled in the election to help Trump defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.
"I can not recall any time in our nation's history when the president selected as his national security adviser someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy", Cummings said.
Pentagon officials, who have not said what if any actions would be taken by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, noted today that Cummings' latest letter was also addressed to Trump and referred ABC News to the White House. The company maintains that it is not affiliated with any government but is "proud to collaborate with the authorities of many countries, as well as worldwide law enforcement agencies in the fight against cybercrime".
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