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Michael Flynn, the retired Army general whom U.S. President Donald Trump ousted as his national security adviser, has amended his financial disclosure statement, revealing his ties with Russia.
Flynn’s new filings show the Russian state-sponsored news organization Russia Today – RT – paid him $45,000 to speak at its 10th anniversary celebration. In addition, two other Russian firms paid him several thousand dollars for speeches.
Robert Kelner, Flynn’s lawyer, said Flynn’s initial filing was a draft, submitted just days before his client resigned. Kelner said Flynn did not have the opportunity before stepping down to consult with the White House counsel’s office and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics; part of the process for submitting the forms. Kelner said when the White House asked Flynn afterwards to complete the process, “he did so.”
Flynn’s amended forms were released late Friday along with scores of other financial statements from senior White House staff.
News about Flynn’s failure to report all his financial dealings with Russia came as the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees are investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and how much interaction White House senior staff members had with Russia.
Trump had named Flynn as his national security adviser before the president was sworn into office. Flynn served, however, as head of the National Security Council for just 24 days before he was forced to step down – not specifically because of his Russian ties, according to Trump administration officials, but because he misled Vice President Mike Pence by failing to declare his meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
Flynn had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the post-election transition period without advising the administration of former President Barack Obama, who was still in office at the time. The retired general also gave Pence and other White House officials a false version of his contacts with the Russian envoy.