New Records Show Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Was Paid by Multiple Russia-related Entities
Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser amid controversy over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, a higher amount than was previously known, according to newly released documents.
The records show that the bulk of the money, more than $45,000, came from the Russian government-backed television network RT, in connection to a December 2015 trip Flynn took to Moscow. Flynn has acknowledged that RT sponsored his trip, during which he attended a gala celebrating the network’s 10th anniversary and was seated near Russian President Vladimir Putin. His speakers bureau took a cut of the fee.
The newly released documents show that Flynn was also paid $11,250 that year by the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, and another $11,250 by a U.S. air cargo company affiliated with the Volga-Dnepr Group, which is owned by a Russian businessman. The cyberfirm and the airline said the payments were made for speeches Flynn delivered in Washington.
The new disclosures come as Flynn’s interactions with Russia have been under scrutiny. Flynn resigned 24 days after taking office amid reports that he misled Vice President Pence about the nature of his contacts in December with the Russian ambassador.
The retired Army 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.
This month, Flynn filed paperwork indicating that he had been a foreign agent during the months when he was a top adviser to Trump’s campaign. Flynn’s company was hired by a Dutch company owned by a Turkish businessman to do work related to Turkish government interests.
Price Floyd, the Flynn spokesman, said the general, “like many other government officials, signed up with a speakers bureau when he left government service. What you are seeing is the result of that. These are speeches that he made after leaving government.” He said that Flynn reported the December 2015 Moscow trip to the Defense Intelligence Agency before and after it occurred.
The newly disclosed documents were released by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He included the additional payments to Flynn in a letter to Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and FBI Director James B. Comey, questioning whether Flynn’s fees violated prohibitions on retired military officers accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments.
Cummings also asked for the release of documents Flynn filed to get a security clearance for his White House job, to examine whether Flynn was candid in response to detailed questions about his contacts with foreign governments.
“I cannot recall any time in our nation’s history when the President selected as his National Security Advisor someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy,” Cummings wrote.
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Flynn first acknowledged in a July interview with Yahoo that he had been paid for the RT event in Moscow but said he “didn’t take any money from Russia,” instead indicating that he had received payments from his speakers bureau. He later acknowledged to The Washington Post that RT had paid for the trip.
SOURCE: Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger
The Washington Post