Law­mak­ers: Former Trump ad­viser likely broke law with Rus­sia trip

Metro USA (New York) - - News - REUTERS

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.

GETTY IM­AGES

Former White House na­tional security ad­viser Michael Flynn

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