According to new documents obtained by the House oversight committee, former national security advisor to Donald Trump was warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 not to accept donations from foreign entities as he moved into retirement. Just this week, Flynn was accused of accepting donations from Russia and not disclosing the information. A letter released by the committee on Thursday shows that the inspector general of the Department of Defense has opened up an investigation into Flynn concerning the matter.
“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 statement. “Our next step is to get the documents we are seeking from the White House so we can complete our investigation. I thank the Department of Defense for providing us with unclassified versions of these documents.”
Michael Krull, adjunct professor of politics at Georgetown University and executive at Resilient Corporation, told American Military News that the investigation is a big deal.
“This is serious,” Krull said. “Both Congress and the Pentagon’s Inspector General are investigating. As a retired Army general, Flynn is still bound by the ’emoluments clause’ of the U.S. Constitution and Pentagon policy, both of which prohibit him from receiving money from foreign governments. This is not new policy. With his background in intelligence, I’m dumbfounded that he overlooked or ignored this.”
The news comes just two days after Rep. Cummings and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Oversight Committee Chairman, said that Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments he received from RT-TV which is funded by the Russian government.
Rep. Cummings slammed the White House for not releasing the documents.
“I honestly don’t understand why the White House is covering up for Michael Flynn,” he said. “I don’t get it, after the President fired him for lying — they should be bending over backwards to help us. It does not make any sense and it makes the American people think they have something to hide. There is a paper trail that the White House does not want our committee to follow it.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the oversight Chairman, said there will be repercussions for Flynn.
“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else,” Chaffetz said. “And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law.”
On Tuesday, Flynn’s attorney Robert Kelner said that Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency on his trip to Moscow.
“As has previously been reported, General Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of the Department of Defense, extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip, and he answered any questions that were posed by DIA concerning the trip during those briefings,” Kelner said.
The DIA letter obtained by the House oversight committee says otherwise:
DIA did not locate any records referring or relating to LTG Flynn’s receipt of money from a foreign source. … DIA did not locate any records of LTG Flynn seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source.
Flynn resigned as national security advisor under President Trump in February amid controversy that he misled the administration about the contents of a conversation he had with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Flynn served in the role for less than a month before the allegations arose that he offered misleading information to top White House officials, including Vice President Pence, about whether or not he and Kislyak discussed lifting sanctions against Russia while he was still a private citizen before Trump took office.