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WASHINGTON, DC, April 27, 2017 – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released new documents relating to Lt. General Michael Flynn, who was fired by President Trump from his position as National Security Advisor after concealing information about his communications with the Russian Ambassador to the United States.
First, the Oversight Committee has obtained a letter to Flynn on October 8, 2014, from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Office of General Counsel explicitly warning Flynn, as he entered retirement, that he was prohibited by the Constitution from receiving payments from foreign sources without advance permission:
“Foreign Compensation Requires Advance Approval
The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, article I, section 9, clause 8, as interpreted in Comptroller General opinions and by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, prohibits receipt of consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria, or salary by all retired military personnel, officer and enlisted, regular and reserve, from a foreign government unless congressional consent is first obtained. Consent is provided by Congress under 37 U.S.C. 908, which requires advance approval from the relevant service secretary and the Secretary of State before accepting employment, consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria, or salary from a foreign government. … Accordingly, 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.” (emphasis in original)
In addition, this week, the Defense Department produced to the Oversight Committee an unclassified, redacted version of a letter that DIA originally sent to the Committee in classified form on April 7, 2017.
The new DIA letter counters the suggestion by Flynn’s attorney on Tuesday that Flynn followed appropriate procedures for accepting foreign funds for his trip to Moscow in December 2015 when he dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The DIA letter states:
Flynn’s attorney issued the following statement on Tuesday:
In other words, regardless of whether Flynn discussed his trip to Moscow with DIA, the Committee has obtained no evidence that he disclosed the payments he received from the Kremlin-backed propaganda outlet RT or that he obtained permission from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of State, as required.
The new DIA letter also confirms that the Pentagon warned Flynn explicitly when he retired in 2014 not to accept payments from foreign government sources without obtaining advance approval:
In another development, on April 11, 2017, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense sent a letter informing the Oversight Committee that it has now launched its own investigation:
The White House is still refusing to provide even a single document as part of the Committee’s investigation and has refused to comply with the bipartisan document request sent by Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings on March 22, 2017.