Michael Flynn was paid by Russians before joining Trump team


The House Oversight Committee Democrats released documents Thursday indicating that fired National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn was paid thousands by arms of the Russian government. He also said Flynn had received $11,250 from a Russian air cargo company with Kremlin ties and the same amount from a Russian "government security solutions" company. It stemmed from statements about whether the pair talked about sanctions brought by the Obama administration in response to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

RT paid $45,386 for Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., to fly to Moscow to speak at the English-language network's 10th anniversary celebration, where he dined at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Flynn, 58, also was paid $530,000 a year ago to lobby for Turkey while he was advising Trump during the billionaire real estate mogul's campaign.

"I didn't take any money from Russia", Flynn told Yahoo News in July.

"I can not 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.

Cummings questioned whether Flynn violated a provision of the Constitution that would bar him - as a retired military officer - from accepting a payment or "emolument" from a foreign government.

The newly-released files show that RT - designated by the US intelligence community as a propaganda arm for Russia's government - also paid for luxury hotel stays and other expenses incurred by Flynn and his adult son, Michael Flynn Jr., during the Moscow trip. Flynn resigned from that role last month after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Pence and other senior White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Flynn joined the Trump campaign shortly after his RT gala speech and was believed to be the primary advocate inside the campaign for Trump's statements that he might consider lifting sanctions the Obama administration imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The oversight committee's findings come just over a week after Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice for his lobbying work in the latter half of 2016 on behalf of a Turkish businessman connected to the Turkish government.

DIA spokesman Jim Kudla said Thursday that Flynn did report to the agency in advance that he was traveling to Moscow "in accordance with standard security clearance procedures".

The oversight committee received the documents earlier this month from Flynn's speaker's bureau, Leading Authorities, after

Word of Flynn's paid work on behalf of Russian entities adds to the mystery swirling around reports of Trump campaign officials' links to the Kremlin.

The AP reported last week that while Flynn was under consideration for the top national security post, his attorneys informed the presidential transition team that it was likely he would have to register as a foreign agent. The Flynn case, with many details emerging from information leaked by White House officials and others, was one of a series of chaotic episodes during the first weeks of the Trump presidency.

The White House initially said it had no recollection of the second discussion but later acknowledged such a contact had occurred.