On Wednesday evening, The New York Times reported the Trump team knew Michael Flynn was under federal investigation weeks before the inauguration, and appointed him national security advisor anyway. According to the report, Flynn notified the Trump transition team's head lawyer of the investigation on Jan. 4 — that's over two weeks before Trump officially took office. And as the president moved into the White House, Flynn was given access to highly sensitive information, despite the fact the federal government was investing time, money, and resources in determining if his ties to Turkey and Russia were a problem. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
The investigation, as it turns out, was sparked by Flynn's being paid to represent Turkey's interests at the same time he was working with Trump's campaign. And that's not a claim Flynn himself denied. In March, The Times reported Flynn had readily admitted a Turkish firm called Inovo hired him as a lobbyist in 2016. Though Flynn registered as a lobbyist, he did not immediately register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. Ultimately, he waited until March to file with the DoJ and state that his work as a lobbyist "principally benefitted" Turkey's government, though he wasn't hired directly by the country's government.
And in case you were wondering — yes, part of the story relates back to Russia. The Turkish man who hired Flynn had business connections to the Russian government, and at one point, worked with Vladimir Putin to put together an aviation financing deal in 2009.
In the midst of controversy surrounding the Trump-Russia probe and the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, this discovery doesn't make things any easier for the White House. On Tuesday, The Times reported that Comey's memo alleged Trump had asked him to end the investigation of Flynn. If Trump attempted to influence an active investigation, it could be considered an obstruction of justice, and that could most certainly be used in an impeachment trial. The White House firmly denied Trump had made such a request to Comey.
“The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations," the statement read. "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”
In light of the memo's allegations and the fact that Trump fired Comey days after he requested additional resources for the Trump-Russia probe, the Department of Justice has appointed a special counsel to lead the investigation and get down to the bottom of all of this — if, in fact, an underlying story exists.