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Pentagon watchdog probes Flynn payments


Former national security advisor Michael Flynn was warned by the Pentagon against accepting foreign payments following his retirement in 2014, according to new documents released Thursday by the House Oversight Committee.

In a letter sent to the acting secretary of the Army, Republican House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz requested that "in light of these apparent violations" the Army establish a way for Mr Flynn to repay the hundred of thousands of dollars that he received from the governments of Russian Federation and Turkey.

Flynn was sacked as national security adviser in February after revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. He also worked as a foreign agent representing Turkish interests for a Netherlands-based company, Inovo BV, which paid his company, Flynn Intel Group, $US530,000 in autumn.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that on April 4 the Defense Department's Inspector General began an investigation into Flynn's alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause.

The committee's leaders reported earlier this week that they found no evidence that Mr Flynn asked for permission for the payments he received or informed the military that he had accepted them.

Mr Chaffetz said Mr Flynn "had an obligation to seek approval to take money from a foreign government".

Flynn was specifically warned when he retired in 2014 that he had to get advance permission before accepting consulting fees, salaries, gifts, or travel expenses from a foreign government.

The letter, a primer on ethics restrictions that apply to retired military officers, warned that Flynn was prohibited from receiving foreign payments without prior approval, under the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.


The investigation, revealed on Thursday by the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, is the latest setback for the disgraced former Trump campaign aide and White House adviser, whose dealings with Russian entities are under scrutiny in multiple probes.

Flynn also did not seek permission from the US government to work as a paid foreign agent for Turkish interests, USA defense officials said last month, raising the possibility that the Pentagon could dock his retirement pay.

The letter says one reason is that "many, if not all, documents relating to" Flynn's contacts with foreign nationals after January 20, 2017 "are likely to contain classified and/or confidential information". That briefing also produced this incredible quote from Chaffetz regarding Flynn: "I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law".

Congressional members now want the Army to determine if he broke the law.

FILE - In this February 10, 2017 file photo, then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn sits in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

The Trump White House declined to provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with documents related to Flynn's application for a security clearance to work at the White House.

Spicer says the administration welcomes the inquiry announced Thursday by Maryland Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings.

The Democrats on the House Oversight Committee also sent a request to Chaffetz Thursday that they schedule a meeting with the White House to demand the release of the Flynn documents they have asked for.

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