Donald Trump and Mike Pence are lying about not knowing Michael Flynn was working as a foreign agent during the campaign. They definitely knew. And they made him the national security adviser anyway.
Three weeks after chanting “Lock her up!” in his fiery speech at the Republican National Convention, Michael Flynn signed a $600,000 contract (he’s now been paid $530,000) to work as a foreign agent lobbying for Turkey, a country that could be considered hostile in recent years. Flynn continued working on behalf of Turkey throughout the campaign.
Early in the transition, he was named the national security adviser to the Trump administration, where he had top security clearance and sat in on classified security briefings.
On Tuesday, weeks after resigning his position in the administration because of his ties to Russia, Flynn retroactively filed papers registering as a foreign agent. According to Trump, Spicer, and Pence, the first time they heard about Flynn’s situation was when the press reported his filing on Tuesday.
Pence went on Fox Thursday night to claim he’d never heard about these problems with Flynn.
Pay attention to how Pence repeats "first I heard of it" twice in 20 seconds even though he wasn't asked about it. pic.twitter.com/FcRJOwYob2
— Mahir Zeynalov (@MahirZeynalov) March 10, 2017
But team Trump lied. Again.
The problem is: on November 18 Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Mike Pence asking for more information about the obvious conflicts of interest posed by Flynn’s lobbying work.
“Recent news reports have revealed that Lt. Gen. Flynn was receiving classified briefings during the presidential campaign while his consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, Inc., was being paid to lobby the U.S. Government on behalf of a foreign government’s interests.”
“Lt. Gen. Flynn’s General Counsel and Principal, Robert Kelley, confirmed that they were hired by a foreign company to lobby for Turkish interests, stating: ‘They want to keep posted on what we all want to be informed of: the present situation, the transition between President Obama and President-Elect Trump.’ When asked whether the firm had been hired because of Lt. Gen. Flynn’s close ties to President-elect Trump, Mr. Kelley responded, ‘I hope so.'”
Cummings also told Business Insider,
“In addition to being in the press, I warned the Vice President directly three months ago about the conflicts created by Lt. General Flynn’s company lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests.”
“If the Vice President had heeded my warnings, it’s clear now he could have prevented the problems that occurred with Lt. General Flynn. Republicans in Congress are doing a disservice to the White House and our national security interests by not conducting rigorous and serious oversight of the administration, especially to help catch issues early and address them.”
It makes you wonder if team Trump did any vetting at all for this administration. Clearly Trump is only interested in“extreme vetting” when it comes to immigrants and refugees.
Or maybe they did vet Flynn. Maybe they found out all about Flynn’s shady dealings. And they just didn’t care.
Either way, it’s another example of the massive corruption in this White House.