Oversight: 'No evidence' Flynn complied with law over Russia payments

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  April 25, 2017 at 12:54 PM
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April 25 (UPI) -- Top members of the House Oversight Committee said there was no evidence Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, complied with the law on reporting payments he received from Russian groups.

During a press conference on Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings, Md., said Flynn did not properly disclose payments from Russia, specifically a $45,000 payment he received for an appearance he gave to state-sponsored media outlet RT in December 2015.

Chaffetz suggested Flynn, who served as the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 until 2014, did not comply with U.S. law about traveling to Russia to engage in that "activity."

"Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law. And, that is, he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity. I see no evidence that he actually did that," Chaffetz said.

Cummings said it is "left up to others to decide" whether Flynn will be prosecuted to possibly see up to five years in prison.

"He was supposed to get permission and he was supposed to report it, but he didn't ... there's no evidence of it," Cummings added.

Chaffetz said the House Oversight Committee was not there to "make the final determination" on Flynn's case.

"What we're going to do ... is send a letter to the Department of the Army, the comptroller specifically, as well as the inspector general there at the Department of Defense. At some point they need to make that final determination," Chaffetz added.

Chaffetz said "one of the remedies" in the case against Flynn would be for authorities to recover the money he was paid.

On March 31, Flynn filed revised financial disclosure forms that included payments from three Russian companies with ties to the Kremlin prior to joining Trump's campaign.

Flynn, who resigned in February as national security adviser, was paid $45,000 as a guest speaker by RT, the Russian state-sponsored news outlet regarded by the U.S. government as a propaganda instrument. He was also paid $22,500 by two companies with close ties to the Kremlin for speeches. The speeches occurred in December 2015, shortly before he formally became a foreign policy adviser to Trump.

The payments were not listed on Flynn's first financial disclosure submitted to the federal government after Trump tapped him to be the national security adviser.

Eric DuVall contributed to this report.

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