Former national security adviser Mike Flynn reportedly told Donald Trump’s transition team that he was under federal investigation, weeks before Trump took office, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.
Two individuals cited in The Times’ report said Flynn had explained to Trump’s team on January 4 that he was being investigated for privately working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the 2016 US presidential election.
Flynn made the disclosure to White House counsel Don McGahn during a conversation, The Times said. Another conversation took place two days later, between Flynn’s lawyer and lawyers from Trump’s transition team.
Trump later appointed Flynn as national security adviser, giving him access to a wide array of American intelligence from several agencies, shortly after Trump took office.
Flynn’s employment under a firm with ties to Turkey was scrutinised by intelligence agencies in March, after The Times reported that he was paid more than $US500,000 for his work as a foreign agent of Turkey. Flynn belatedly registered with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent that same month.
Flynn has been vocal supporter of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and advocated for the removal and extradition of Fethullah Gulen — a US resident and a Muslim cleric that has been accused by the Turkish government of orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.
Additionally, a report from McClatchy DC alleges that Flynn had told then-national security adviser Susan Rice to delay a military operation using Syrian Kurdish forces to retake Raqqa, a major Syrian city and one of the Islamic State’s remaining bastions. Kurdish forces have faced strict opposition from the Turkish government, even being labelled as a terrorist organisation, due to their fears of losing territory.
Eventually fired on February 13 for making misleading statements to Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about discussions he carried out with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Flynn has been at the center of a string of Trump-related controversies in recent months.
On Tuesday, Flynn took the spotlight again, after it was reported that Trump had told former FBI director James Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into the allegations against Flynn.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump was alleged to have said to Comey, according to one of Comey’s memos cited by The New York Times.
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