Michael Flynn Is Under Investigation For Turkish Lobbying Work
In early January, Michael Flynn told the Trump transition team that he was under federal investigation for his lobbying work for the Turkish government — a fact which did not deter the Trump team from bringing the retired lieutenant general on as national security adviser.
The New York Times reports that Flynn and his legal team informed Donald McGahn, the current White House counsel, about the investigation on Jan. 4.
In August, while he was advising the Trump campaign, Flynn signed a contract with Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting firm linked to the Turkish government.
The Daily Caller first reported the relationship on Nov. 11, just days after Trump won the election. (RELATED: Michael Flynn Is Lobbying For Turkish Businessman Connected To Government)
On that same day, hours before Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, Flynn published an op-ed at The Hill calling for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric.
It was a strange position for Flynn to stake out, but one which was heavily supported by the Turkish government and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Nov. 18, Trump chose Flynn as his national security adviser.
According to The Times, Flynn’s lobbying work is the subject of a grand jury subpoena signed by Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the acting attorney general for DOJ’s National Security Division.
The subpoena, which The Times reviewed, asks for records of Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, and several of its associates, including Ekim Alptekin, the owner of Inovo BV.
Alptekin serves as chairman of the Turkey-U.S. Business Council, a trade group controlled by the Turkish government.
As part of the contract between Flynn and Alptekin, Flynn agreed to investigate Gulen using an investigative team comprised of former intelligence community officials. Flynn’s team met with Alptekin and two top Turkish government ministers in New York City on Sept. 19.
The Justice Department first notified Flynn of its interest in his lobbying activities on Nov. 30. (RELATED: New Disclosures Reveal The Next Scandal That Would Have Hit Michael Flynn)
“In light of that editorial and reports in the media about potential ties between Lt. Gen. Flynn and others who might be acting on behalf of the government of Turkey, on Nov. 30, NSD requested additional information from Lt. Gen. Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc.,” reads the DOJ memo, a readout of which was provided to TheDC in March. (RELATED: What Prompted Michael Flynn To Register As A Foreign Agent Of Turkey)
Flynn hired a lawyer weeks after being contacted by DOJ. The attorney, Robert Kelner, informed McGahn of the investigation on Jan. 4.
A week later he responded to the Justice Department and informed the agency that Flynn would likely be registering as a foreign agent of Turkey. Flynn did so only on March 8, nearly three weeks after Trump fired him for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about phone calls he had with Russia’s ambassador.
It is unclear how the investigation into Flynn’s work for the Turkish government factors into the ongoing investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. Flynn is said to be one of the subjects of that investigation.