Prior to Michael Flynn starting his job as National Security Adviser, the Trump transition team was reportedly told that he would likely need to register as a foreign agent.
The news contradicts the White House’s repeated denial that Trump had any knowledge of Flynn’s lobbying work.
Flynn filed paperwork on Wednesday to officially register as a foreign agent, admitting that he may have done work beneficial to the Turkish government. He was previously paid more than $500,000 for work on behalf of a Turkish company, a company which is now seeking a refund because it is unhappy with the work that was performed.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said that Trump was not aware of the former National Security Adviser’s lobbying activities in the interest of a foreign government. He said that Flynn’s lawyer had raised the possible filing with the Trump transition team, but that Trump’s lawyers responded that it was a personal matter and not an issue on which they wanted to consult.
“It’s a business matter, it’s not something that would be appropriate for a government entity to give someone guidance on when they should file as an individual,” Spicer said. He dismissed questions about whether Flynn’s work should have raised red flags for the new administration, saying the retired Army lieutenant general had “impeccable credentials.”
Don McGahn, the current White House counsel, was one of the lawyers who was told of Flynn’s lobbying activity according to a report by The Associated Press.
According to a source with knowledge of the discussions who spoke to the AP, the pre-inauguration disclosure was not the only conversation about Flynn’s activities. In fact, the former general’s representatives had a second conversation with Trump lawyers after the inauguration and made it clear that he would be registering with the Justice Department as a foreign agent.