Pentagon investigating former NSA head Flynn for foreign payments
Michael Flynn. AP photo
BY ANDREW RAFFERTY, NBC News
(NBC News) - Documents released Thursday reveal former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was specifically warned in 2014 not to take money from foreign governments without advance permission and is now under investigation by the Pentagon for possibly violating the law, lawmakers said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the highest ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, released a Defense Intelligence Agency letter sent to the former Army lieutenant general as he entered retirement which specifically says Flynn cannot accept fees and gifts from foreign governments "unless congressional consent is first obtained."
"The Pentagon's warning to Gen. Flynn was bold, italicized and could not have been clearer," Cummings told reporters.
Another second letter released by Cummings shows the Inspector General of the Department of Defense is investigating whether Flynn received proper permission to take the funds. A Defense Department spokesman confirmed the Flynn probe opened April 4.
Documents from the Defense Intelligence Agency also revealed they could not locate any records of Flynn "seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source."
Earlier this week Cummings, joined by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, said Flynn may have violated the law by not disclosing the payments. Flynn received nearly $34,000 in December 2015 for speaking at a gala celebrating Russian TV, and more than $500,000 for lobbying work on behalf of the Turkish government.
"I see no information or no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz, chair of the oversight committee, told NBC News on Tuesday.
A lawyer for Flynn said in a statement this week that the former Trump adviser "extensively" briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency "both before and after the trip" to Moscow.
Chaffetz and Cummings released a joint statement this week revealing the White House had denied their request for documents relating to Flynn. Chaffetz said he believes the administration simply does not possess the documents, while Cummings has said they are intentionally withholding information about Flynn, who resigned in February after misleading administration officials about his conversations with Russian officials.
"I don't understand why the White house is covering up for Michael Flynn," Cummings said Thursday.