Why Trump's Ex-National Security Adviser May Be in Deep Legal Trouble

After the White House denied the House Oversight Committee’s request for documents related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s disclosure of foreign payments on Tuesday, the committee’s leadership delivered a remarkable, bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s vetting of his top advisers.

Flynn “was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from the both the secretary of state and the secretary from the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity,” the Republican committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz, said in a joint news conference with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. “I see no evidence that he actually did that.”

Added Chaffetz: “This is something General Flynn was supposed to do as a former officer. . . . No former military officer is allowed to accept payments from a foreign government.”

The House Oversight Committee is probing whether Flynn disclosed several foreign payments when he applied for a government security clearance. In his original White House ethics disclosure, Flynn failed to include payments from Kremlin propaganda network RT for a paid speech at a Moscow gala where Flynn sat at the same table as President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

“Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz said at Tuesday’s press conference. Cummings added, “We received a response from the White House refusing to provide any of the documents we requested.” Cummings said, “The White House has refused to offer a single piece of paper in response to this committee’s bipartisan request.”

Earlier on Tuesday the White House’s director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, wrote in a letter to the House Oversight Committee, “We are unable to accommodate” many of the requests, adding that the White House does not have many of the documents in its possession.

Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after the White House said he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to Washington during the transition before Trump assumed the office of president.

Cummings said on Tuesday that Flynn should appear before the committee because he had “concealed” his foreign payments. “This is a major problem,” Cummings said. “It also says this, and let me quote is directly: ‘The U.S. Criminal Code (Title 18, Section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five years imprisonment.’”

The House Oversight Committee investigation is one of several on Capitol Hill examining ties between Donald Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.