Trump team knew Flynn was possible foreign agent before Inauguration Day

Adjust Comment Print

Recently, Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary said during a press briefing that Trump was unaware that the former national security adviser Michael Flynn was working as a "foreign agent" when he handed him the new role in his administration.

Between August and mid-November, the now defunct Flynn Intel Group firm received funds from Inovo BV, a privately-owned consulting firm in the Netherlands who has links to Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

When asked about Flynn's disclosing by Fox News' Bret Baier, Vice President Pence responded that the filing was an "affirmation of the president's decision to ask General Flynn to resign".

Flynn was sacked last month for failing to disclose that he discussed United States sanctions on Russia in a phone call with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office.

Again, unfortunately, Vice President Mike Pence also denied Thursday having any knowledge of Flynn's lobbying work - which is odd considering he was the head of the transition team.

Among those told of Flynn's lobbying work that may have benefited the government of Turkey was Don McGahn, Trump's campaign lawyer who served in the transition and later became White House counsel, said the person, who was not authorized to describe confidential conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity. "I don't believe that was known", said Spicer. Because, Turkish officials believed Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton would win the elections. Flynn shut his firm down in November.

On Wednesday, Politico reported that Flynn retroactively registered the $530,000 he made as a lobbyist for a Turkish-linked firm before and immediately following the 2016 election.

The documents submitted by the FIG said, in early September, Alptekin invited the FIG to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak for the goal of better understanding the political climate in Turkey.Alptekin, however, told Daily Sabah that he had only invited Gen. Flynn as a friend and had to convince Turkish officials that they had needed to meet Flynn.

"Nevertheless, because of the subject matter of Flynn Intel Group's work for Inovo BV, which focused on Mr. Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition is sought by the Government of Turkey, the engagement could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey", the letter said.

But documents filed this week by Flynn with the Department of Justice paint a different picture. He also urged the U.S. to "help" Turkey by extraditing cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accused of being behind the coup.

And that, in turn, creates an awkward dynamic: the Trump campaign and Turkey were paying Flynn at the same time?

"Lt. Gen. Flynn's involvement in advising Mr. Trump on matters relating to Turkey or Russian Federation - including attending classified briefings on those matters - could violate the Trump for America, Inc".

On Friday, Spicer clarified his earlier remarks by saying Flynn's lawyers had contacted a member of the transition team about the work, White House legal council Don McGahn, but only for advice on whether or not Flynn needed to register.

Spicer said today that the president was not informed of "this arrangement" or his need to register as a foreign agent.

Comments