The Pentagon has launched an investigation into the payments former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, received from Russia and Turkey. The investigation will be led by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine, according to several members of the House Oversight Committee. According to a report from NPR, House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz is asking the Pentagon to consider making Flynn forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars to make up for payments from entities linked to the governments of Russia and Turkey.
Apparently, Flynn did not get the required authorization for the receipt of those payments, a letter from the Department of Defense’s acting inspector general revealed.
Records indicate that Flynn received $45,000 for his presence at a gala organized in late 2015 by the Russian public media body Russia Today, in which he participated with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also earned another $530,000 for his work for Inovo BV, a Dutch company owned by Turkish entrepreneur Ekim Alptekin, who has strong ties to the Ankara government. That money came in the last three months of the U.S. presidential election.
The records show that most of the money was received from the Russian government-backed television network, Russia Today. According to these archives, RT sponsored a trip for Flynn to Moscow in December, 2015, where he attended a gala celebration for the 10th anniversary of the channel and greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The documents also show that Flynn received $11,250 that same year from the U.S. subsidiary of Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, and another $11,250 from Russian airline Volga-Dnepr Airlines.
Flynn is a retired Army general who made the leap into the political arena during Trump’s campaign, which means he was subject to regulations that prevent senior officials from receiving payments or favors from foreign governments, as they can be called back into the ranks. The Pentagon advised its officers that they have to take this limitation into account and that it may require repayment of part of the income if no permission is requested before receiving a payment.
Elijah Cummings, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, unveiled a 2014 letter in which the Department of Defense legal services warned Flynn that he could not receive payments from abroad without government authorization. Flynn also did not disclose those payments in the documentation that he had to facilitate for his entry into the Trump administration.
The investigation is the latest scandal affecting Flynn, who resigned from his post after he was known to have held talks on sanctions against Moscow with the Russian ambassador in Washington before Trump was sworn in as president.
Despite this, Trump had good words for Flynn and he maintained after the scandal that Flynn was a “wonderful man” and that his exit was due in part to lies told by the media.
“Gen. Flynn is a wonderful man,” Trump said. “I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it the ‘fake media,’ in many cases, and I think it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”
According to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the Trump team did vet Flynn, but hired him anyway. Maddow said that the Donald Trump transition team and the White House performed a background check on Mike Flynn and they were aware of Flynn’s business ties to Turkey, but hired him to be Trump’s National Security Adviser anyway.
Last February, Flynn resigned 24 days after taking office amid controversy over allegations of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence over his contacts with the Russians.
Michael Flynn resigns over Russia scandal https://t.co/RH3QCUwXr2— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) February 14, 2017
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