House committee asks for documents on Michael Flynn's foreign contacts

A House committee wants the White House and Trump administration officials to detail all the payments and contacts that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had with foreign government representatives spanning the past three years.

The bipartisan letter by top members of the House oversight and government reform committee came as the Daily Beast reported that Flynn did not sign an ethics pledge the Trump administration had said would apply to all appointees.

The pledge was intended to stop all federal appointees lobbying their former colleagues for five years after leaving government, and to bar them from lobbying for foreign governments for life. 

A spokesman for Flynn told the Daily Beast he did not sign the pledge.

Flynn resigned in February after just four weeks as national security adviser when it came to light that he had misled the vice-president, Mike Pence, about phone conversations with the Russian ambassador about sanctions in December. 

The resignation came after a flow of intelligence leaks revealed that he had secretly discussed sanctions with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and then tried to cover up the conversations.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that from September to November last year, while he was working as a top adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, Flynn was lobbying for a firm linked to the Turkish government, earning $530,000. 

He and his company, Flynn Intel Group Inc, only filed retroactive documents with the Department of Justice this month to register as a foreign agent.

Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, US citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign governments or political entities must disclose their work to the justice department. 

Willfully failing to register is a felony, though the justice department rarely files criminal charges in such cases.

The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, was asked last week whether Flynn had signed his ethics form. 

“I’d have to check and actually figure out when he signed or if he signed the form,” he said.

The bipartisan letter by top members of the House oversight and government reform committee seeks material on Flynn’s communications and payments from Russian, Turkish and other foreign sources since Flynn retired as Defense Intelligence Agency chief in August 2014.

The requests also seek material on Flynn’s security clearance.

The letter went to the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus; the FBI director, James Comey; the defense secretary, James Mattis; and the national intelligence director, Dan Coats.

Donald Trump fired Flynn last month for misleading officials about Flynn’s post-election contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the US.