Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn may have broken the law by failing to disclose payments he received from foreign governments on his application for a security clearance, the top two members of the House Oversight Committee said on Tuesday.
“Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law,” Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the committee, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The Oversight Committee is investigating whether Flynn properly disclosed payments from Russia and Turkey on his application for a security clearance. Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, served as Trump’s national security adviser for 24 days before being fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.
Chaffetz made his remarks just after he and other committee members reviewed classified documents provided by the Defense Department in response to a March 22 letter about Flynn’s disclosures of the foreign payments.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings also commented on the briefing, saying that the documents he reviewed about Flynn were “extremely troubling.”
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, Flynn received $45,000 from the Russia-controlled news outlet RT to appear at an event in Dec. 2015. He sat next to Russian president Vladimir Putin at the gala.
Flynn also received $530,000 last year for consulting work done on behalf of a Turkish businessman with close ties to Turkey’s government. Flynn registered retroactively with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of Turkey last month.
Chaffetz said that Flynn appears to have failed to obtain to proper permission to travel to Russia. And as a retired military officer, Flynn was prohibited from taking money from foreign governments, Chaffetz added.
“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else,” said Chaffetz, who recently made the surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
“He was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity. I see no evidence that he actually did that.”
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, responded to Chaffetz’s remarks, saying that Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency about the RT event.
“As has previously been reported, General Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of DoD, 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 in a statement to The Daily Caller.
The White House also responded to a March 22 letter from the Oversight Committee, though it declined to provide any documents about Flynn.
Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, said that the White House did not have control over some of the documents the committee was seeking since they involved matters that took place before President Trump took office.
Chaffetz said he did not believe that the White House was improperly blocking the release of Flynn documents.