What’s been happening?
In February, President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid allegations that he misled the White House and possibly FBI investigations about conversations that he had with the Russian ambassador in December last year. He had failed to disclose talks about US sanctions on Moscow before Trump took office. At the time, Trump said that Flynn’s actions weren’t wrong and that the leaks are the “real” problem. All of this has to do with the ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in the US elections as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
In March, the same Flynn offered to testify before congressional committees but wanted protection against “unfair prosecution”. The statement has led to many guessing that it’s implied that he has done something wrong and his lawyer has evaluated the situation that there will be potentially big problems that may arise later on. Others are saying that this is a high-profile case and it is only natural that he is asking for immunity in what is likely to be a “witch-hunt”.
The Pentagon office is now launching their own investigation into Mr Flynn as to whether he broke the law by taking payments from foreign governments after retiring from the military in 2014. One instance is when he received $US45, 000 to appear with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015 at a gala dinner.
A Defence Intelligence Agency letter was released to the public on Thursday which explicitly states that Flynn “cannot accept fees and gifts from foreign governments unless congressional consent is first obtained”. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that “there was no information or data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law”. The revelations place Flynn in hot water as he is already struggling to defend himself from previous allegations.
It remains to be seen whether this latest issue will become a criminal prosecution for Flynn due to his perceived violations of law and non-disclosure. Information is still being gathered from various government agencies such as the Department of Defence before a proper case can be formulated against Flynn. A request for more information lodged by the House Oversight Committee to the White House has been declined which has led to accusations that the White House is “covering up” for Michael Flynn.
In other news, no one has yet taken up his offer to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution. All I can say is good luck Flynn, you’ll be needing it.