New documents have emerged detailing former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn's financial ties to Russian companies, including the USA subsidiary of Russian cybersecurity group Kaspersky Lab.
In October 2015, Flynn was paid an identical $11,250 by the Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Lab. Flynn has acknowledged RT sponsored his trip, during which he attended a gala celebrating the network's 10th anniversary and was seated near Russian President Vladimir Putin.
New documents reveal Michael Flynn was paid tens of thousands of dollars by Russian companies - which he later denied - shortly before he joined Donald Trump's campaign as an adviser.
Flynn, who served for only 24 days before Trump asked for his resignation, would have been aware as a former head of the DIA that the American intelligence community took a dubious view of the Russian television outlet. These engagements took place in the fall and summer of 2015, a year after his firing from the Defense Intelligence Agency (and while he maintained his top-level security clearance).
Though Flynn began advising the Trump campaign several months after the RT function, his appearance at the event fueled allegations that the Trump team was too soft on Putin.
Earlier this month Flynn filed paperwork to register as a foreign agent after receiving $530,000 from Turkish entities a year ago during the campaign.
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On Mar. 16, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking member of the Oversight committee, penned a letter to President Donald Trump, the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation listing the payments made to Flynn by two Russian-affiliated firms and the Russian media outlet RT, The Hill reports.
Some Democrats allege that Flynn's trip appeared to run afoul of rules barring former military officers from accepting consulting fees, gifts or travel expenses from a foreign government, Yahoo said.
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sent a letter on Thursday to President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and FBI Director James Comey stating that "I can not recall any time in our nation's history when the President selected as his National Security Advisor someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy".
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In addition, it said, his speaking agency received a 25 percent commission. "Do you think there is any possibility to reduce the price to 45K?"
"Sorry it took us longer to get back to you" writes Alina Mikhaleva of RT on November 9, 2015, "but the problem is that the speaking fee is a bit too high and exceeds our budget at the moment, so we had to negotiate it with the management". She said that RT hoped Flynn would be "front and central" at a conference associated with the gala "if there is a chance to reconsider the fee". She added that the event would provide "exceptional networking opportunities for high-level media and political influencers from Russian Federation and around the world". It also raises questions about what Trump knew about Flynn's Russian connections before hiring him.
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Shortly after the December 10, 2015 broadcast showing Flynn at the head table alongside CIA whistleblower Ray McGovern and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a senior USA intelligence official told ABC News it was a stunning image of the former military intelligence chief, "that close to a despot, an enemy to the US, at an event for the Russian government's propaganda arm".
A January U.S. intelligence community report on Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election was particularly harsh in its judgment of RT's role.
In interviews, Flynn has dismissed concerns about the news network's Kremlin ties, comparing the network to independent US outlets. "Come on!" said Flynn.
The findings were contained in the community's report about Russia's attempt to influence the United States election.
He has suggested other generals have failed to speak out with potentially unpopular opinions because they were afraid to lose out on corporate board seats or other lucrative business opportunities. In a twist, though, in December, a top Kaspersky Lab official was arrested by Russian authorities and accused of spying for USA companies and intelligence services. The payments were made for talks to USA subsidiaries of those companies. The company maintains that it is not affiliated with any government but is "proud to collaborate with the authorities of many countries, as well as worldwide law enforcement agencies in the fight against cybercrime".
Flynn's firm investigated a Turkish opposition leader who lives in exile in the United States.
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