Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser amid controversy over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, a higher amount than was previously known, according to newly released documents.
The records show that the bulk of the money, more than $45,000, came from the Russian government-backed television network RT, in connection to a December 2015 trip Flynn took to Moscow. Flynn has acknowledged RT sponsored his trip, during which he attended a gala celebrating the network’s 10th anniversary and was seated near Russian President Vladimir Putin. His speaker’s bureau took a cut of the fee.
The newly released documents show that Flynn was also paid $11,250 that year by the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, and another $11,250 by the Russian charter cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Airlines. The cyberfirm said the payment came for a speech Flynn delivered in Washington.
The new disclosures come as Flynn’s interactions with Russia have been under scrutiny. Flynn resigned 24 days after taking office amid reports that he misled Vice President Pence about the nature of contacts in December with the Russian ambassador.
The retired lieutenant general has also drawn criticism for his acceptance of foreign payments during a stint in the private sector after stepping down as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.
This month, Flynn filed paperwork indicating that he had been a foreign agent during the months when he was a top adviser to Trump’s campaign. Flynn’s company was hired by a Dutch company owned by a Turkish businessman to do work related to Turkish government interests.
Price Floyd, a spokesman for Flynn, said he had not reviewed the documents but that Flynn had reported the trip to the Defense Intelligence Agency before taking the December 2015 trip to Moscow and after he returned home.
“He let the DIA know he had taken the trip. He was a private citizen at the time,” Floyd said.
He did not comment on Flynn’s payments from Kaspersky and Volga-Dnepr.
The newly disclosed documents were released by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who is the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. He included the additional payments to Flynn in a letter to Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and FBI Director James B. Comey, questioning whether Flynn’s fees violated prohibitions on retired military officers accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments.
Cummings also asked for the release of documents Flynn filed to get a security clearance for his White House job, to examine whether Flynn was candid in response to detailed questions about his contacts with foreign governments.
“I cannot 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.
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
You can read the rest at the Washington Post.
And yes, that is a picture of our former National Security Adviser shaking hands with Vladimir Putin.