Former Trump aide Flynn may have broken law, lawmakers say

President Trump's first national security adviser appears to have violated the law by failing to disclose payments he received from Russia's government - even as he sought a security clearance from our own - senior lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee said Wednesday. Chaffetz and Cummings have been probing a US$45,000 speech that Flynn gave to the Russia-backed media network RT in December 2015.

Seeking information on payments made to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn by Turkish and Russian interests, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in March. Was it accidental? You mean you just forgot that you made $70,000 from an appearance in RT in Russian Federation and an appearance in Turkey?

Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings said Mr Flynn could face prosecution because, as a former Army officer, he was barred from accepting the foreign payments.

"There was nothing in the data to show that Gen. Flynn complied with the law", Chaffetz said.

Trump has said he fired Flynn because of misleading comments he made to the vice president about his discussions with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

The payment came to light amid the sprawling probe into Russian interference in the United States election, in which investigators are especially focusing on the ties between Moscow and several Trump advisors.

The remarks from Chairman Jason Chaffetz came after his committee viewed classified documents related to Flynn's foreign contacts.

"No former military officer is allowed to accept payments from a foreign government, and my guess is this is probably not the first time this has happened", he added. "It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law", Mr Chaffetz told reporters after a classified meeting with the House Oversight Committee.

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Trump and his staff announced earlier this year that they would skip the dinner, breaking with years of political tradition. Trump adopted the opposite position in 2016, when WikiLeaks released documents that damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

"That is simply unacceptable", Cummings said. In the letter, Marc Short, director of legislative affairs, said some requests should be directed to the Defence Department and the White House was "unable" to hand over other documents.

The White House responded Tuesday by saying it didn't know whether Flynn had broken the law in the course of making contact with and receiving payments from foreign governments. Other documents sought by the committee, from after January 20, involve sensitive information, he said.

"There is no evidence, as the chairman said, anywhere in these documents that reported the funds he received for this trip", Cummings said.

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates and former director of national intelligence James Clapper are scheduled to testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 9.

Flynn was paid almost $60,000 in 2015 by three Russian firms affiliated with the Kremlin, including RT, according to documents released by Democrats on the Oversight Committee. Flynn's firm filed as a foreign agent last month with the Justice Department for the consulting work and acknowledged that it may have benefited the government of Turkey. Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein of California said they believed the committee needed to move at a faster rate.

"As has previously been reported, General Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of DoD, extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip, and he answered any questions that were posed by DIA concerning the trip during those briefings", Kelner said in a statement to CNN Tuesday.

The White House said last month that it had never tried to prevent Yates from testifying.

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