Michael Flynn, the retired Army general who briefly served as Donald Trump’s national security adviser before he was forced to resign over revelations that he had lied about contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, may be on his way to prison.
Today the House Oversight Committee released three letters pointing to clear violations of the United States Constitution and federal statutes by Flynn, who accepted $33,750 from state media organization Russia Today without prior permission or disclosure after the fact.
“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,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said in a press conference today.
Included in the document release were a letter from the Office of the General Counsel of the Defense Intelligence Agency warning Flynn against accepting any emoluments from foreign governments. A second letter from the DIA to the committee said that a search “did not locate any records referring or relating to Lt. Gen. Flynn’s receipt of money from any foreign source.”
To make matters worse for Flynn, a third letter from the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to the committee says that an investigation is underway at the Pentagon.
The correspondence directly contradicts Flynn’s attorney, who told reporters on Tuesday that his client had informed the DIA of his plans to visit Moscow.
Earlier this week, the White House refused to release any documents related to Flynn’s short tenure. Attempting to deflect questions on the matter, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that such documents were too “sensitive,” but admitted that the Trump transition had not bothered to do their own vetting of Flynn.
Rep. Cummings was not in a mood to accept such dubious explanations. “Come on man,” he said. “Look, Gen. Flynn served in his position for 24 days, so that excuse from the White House will not fly. I honestly do not understand why the White House is covering up for Mike Flynn. I don’t get it.”
“There is a paper trail that the White House does not want our committee to follow,” he added.
Concern was bipartisan. “By all appearances, Lt. Gen. Flynn violated [federal law] by accepting compensation from entities associated with foreign governments without obtaining consent to do so,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz wrote in a letter to the DIA.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that the new documents “testify to a flagrant violation of federal criminal statutes that must be investigated and prosecuted.”
Earlier this month, Flynn reportedly sought an immunity deal in exchange for testimony before congressional committees. His offer was not accepted.
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