New documents released by the House Oversight Committee on Thursday reveal that the Pentagon in 2014 warned President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, against accepting foreign payments after retirement.
The documents come two days after the committee said that Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, inappropriately failed to disclose a $34,000 payment from Kremlin-run Russian media outlet RT and another from Turkey in his 2016 SF-86 security clearance application, omissions that could see him face prison time.
The newly unclassified correspondence published in redacted form by the committee confirms that Flynn was explicitly made aware of the illegality of taking unapproved foreign payments as a former military officer.
“If you are ever in a position where you would receive an emolument from a foreign government or from an entity that might be controlled by a foreign government, be sure to obtain advance approval from the Army prior to acceptance,” the letter to Flynn reads.
Subsequent to this, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) also informed the investigative committee on April 7 that it was unable to find any correspondence that indicated Flynn had sought the necessary prior consent to receive the foreign payments nor evidence that he submitted notification of receipt of the payments.
The DIA’s revelations contradict the claims of Flynn’s attorney, who in a statement on Tuesday said that the former adviser “briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency … extensively regarding the RT speaking event” both before and after the trip to Moscow.
“These documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat.
Cummings, once again, called for the White House’s cooperation in submitting evidence that may be relevant to the ongoing investigation. The committee is seeking documentation related to the Trump administration’s vetting of Flynn for the job of national security adviser—from which he was forced to resign by the president over misleading officials about conversation’s he’d had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. So far, the White House has refused to release those documents.
“Our next step is to get the documents we are seeking from the White House so we can complete our investigation,” Cummings wrote.