Lawmakers: Former Trump adviser likely broke law with Russia trip
Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn likely broke the law by failing to get permission to be paid for a trip to Russia in 2015, the leaders of the House of Representatives oversight panel said on Tuesday.
During the visit, Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who advised Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“General Flynn had a duty and an obligation to seek and obtain permission to receive money from foreign governments,” Jason Chaffetz, the Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee told reporters.
“It does not appear to us that that was ever sought, nor did he ever get that permission,” he said.
Flynn is a subject in investigations by intelligence committees in the House and Senate, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, into allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Russia has denied the allegations,
which have cast a shadow over the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency.
In addition to those probes, the oversight panel is looking into whether Flynn fully disclosed payments from Russian, Turkish or other foreign sources.
“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate and there are repercussions for the violation of law,” Chaffetz said.
He said the Army and Defense Department’s inspector general would need to make a final determination.
“If that money was received by Gen. Flynn, and we believe that it was, that money needs to be recovered,” Chaffetz said.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Flynn’s attorney.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight panel, said it also appeared as if Flynn had not fully disclosed the payments after the fact as required, noting that a failure to do so would be a felony that could lead to fines and a prison sentence of up to five years.
Former US officials to testify on Russia probe
Two former U.S. officials, intelligence director James Clapper and deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, will testify next month in a Senate investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the Senate Judiciary Committee said.
Four congressional committees are investigating the issue after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of the Democratic political groups to try to sway the election toward Republican Donald Trump. Moscow has denied any such meddling.
Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and Yates, the former deputy attorney general, will testify on May 8 before the subcommittee on crime and terrorism, Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley said.
The two officials from the administration of former President Barack Obama, along with former CIA Director James Brennan, had been scheduled to testify before the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee in March, but that public hearing was canceled by the panel’s chairman, Republican Devin Nunes.
Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn