Pentagon probes Trump's ex-adviser Flynn over foreign payments

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28 April, 2017

He also said that the Pentagon inspector general has informed the Oversight and Government reform panel that Flynn is now being investigated over the payments from Russian Federation and whether or not there was appropriate reporting and approval. "Our next step is to get the documents we are seeking from the White House so we can complete our investigation".

A second letter released by Cummings shows the Inspector General of the Department of Defense is investigating whether Flynn received proper permission to take the funds.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Thursday called for declassification of documents related to the activities of Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a senior Trump campaign official.

The Pentagon confirmed its investigation after the House Oversight Committee released a 2014 letter the DIA sent to Flynn advising specifically that he needed advance permission from Congress before accepting any payments from foreign governments. Trump fired Flynn as his top national-security advisor after less than a month in office after it was revealed that the former DIA director had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

FILE - In this February 13, 2017 file photo, Mike Flynn arrives for a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

Flynn is known to have received $45,000 from RT, the Russian-backed news network, for speaking at a dinner in 2015. In the past, the Pentagon has advised retiring officers that because they can be recalled to military service, they may be subject to the Constitution's rarely-enforced emoluments clause, which prohibits top officials from receiving payments or favors from foreign governments.

The letter notes that Flynn provided a thumb drive to the Defense Intelligence Agency ahead of his 2015 trip.

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Spokesman Sean Spicer, asked on Thursday what he thought of the news that the Defense Department's Inspector General was conducting an investigation into the actions of Flynn, a retired Lieutenant General, said: "That's appropriate".

Between September and November 2016, Flynn Intel Group received $530,000 in fees from the Dutch firm Inovo BV, which is led by a Turkish businessman with ties to the Turkish government. 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". "I thank the Department of Defense for providing us with unclassified versions of these documents", he added.

Kelner is calling for public release of the documents on the thumb drive.

"What I saw today confirms we ought to keep digging", Representative Matt Cartwright, said after reviewing documents in a basement-level room.

Both Mr Cummings and Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, have previously said they planned to ask the Army to rule on whether Mr Flynn properly informed them about and asked permission for the payments from Russian and Turkish entities.

Democrats on the panel reminded Mr Chaffetz that for years he has warned witnesses that complying with committee requests "is not an optional exercise". Chaffetz has left Washington for a few weeks while he undergoes emergency surgery on his foot.


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