The New York Times reports: Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, may have violated federal law by not fully disclosing his business dealings with Russia when seeking a security clearance to work in the administration, the top oversight lawmakers from both parties in the House said Tuesday.
The troubling finding came after Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah and chairman of the House oversight committee, and other lawmakers on the panel reviewed classified documents related to Mr. Flynn, including the form he filled out in January 2016 to renew his security clearance, known as a SF-86.
As part of the review, Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the committee’s senior Democrat, said Mr. Flynn did not disclose in those documents payments totaling more than $45,000 he received from the Russian government for giving a speech in Moscow in 2015.
Mr. Chaffetz also said Mr. Flynn appeared to have inappropriately accepted payments from companies linked to Russia without first getting required approval from the Pentagon and the State Department.
“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for a violation of law.”
The development shows that Mr. Flynn’s short time as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser continues to be a distraction for the White House, months after he was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. In March, Mr. Flynn filed papers acknowledging that he worked as a foreign agent last year representing the Turkish government, causing another uproar.
Mr. Chaffetz and Mr. Cummings also said White House officials refused their request to turn over other internal documents related to the hiring and firing of Mr. Flynn.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday that “to ask for every call or contact that a national security adviser made is pretty outlandish, if you will.”
In a letter to the lawmakers, the White House cited concerns about disclosing classified information with regard to Mr. Flynn’s interactions as national security adviser — adding it simply does not possess the information predating his time in the administration.
“In short, the White House has refused to provide this committee with a single piece of paper in response to our bipartisan request, and that is unacceptable,” Mr. Cummings said.
Mr. Chaffetz said he did not think it would be necessary to subpoena the documents, calling the administration “cooperative” so far. [Continue reading…]