Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and head inquisitor of the Hillary Clinton witch hunts, who is suddenly blind to the numerous conflicts of interest of the Trump administration, unexpectedly announced last week that he would not seek reelection and that he would also not likely serve out his current term. The Washington Post editorialized last week, in summary, “good riddance, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”
Now that he is leaving Washington, Chaffetz has suddenly found his balls in the jar by his bedside. Jason Chaffetz: White House can’t prove Michael Flynn “complied with the law”:
After the White House denied the House Oversight Committee’s request for documents related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s disclosure of foreign payments on Tuesday, the committee’s leadership delivered a remarkable, bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s vetting of his top advisers.
Flynn “was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from the both the secretary of state and the secretary from the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity,” the Republican committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz, said in a joint news conference with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. “I see no evidence that he actually did that.”
Added Chaffetz: “This is something General Flynn was supposed to do as a former officer. . . . No former military officer is allowed to accept payments from a foreign government.”
The House Oversight Committee is probing whether Flynn disclosed several foreign payments when he applied for a government security clearance. In his original White House ethics disclosure, Flynn failed to include payments from Kremlin propaganda network RT for a paid speech at a Moscow gala where Flynn sat at the same table as President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
“Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz said at Tuesday’s press conference. Cummings added, “We received a response from the White House refusing to provide any of the documents we requested.” Cummings said,“The White House has refused to offer a single piece of paper in response to this committee’s bipartisan request.”
Earlier on Tuesday the White House’s director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, wrote in a letter to the House Oversight Committee, “We are unable to accommodate” many of the requests, adding that the White House does not have many of the documents in its possession.
Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after the White House said he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to Washington during the transition before Trump assumed the office of president.
Cummings said on Tuesday that Flynn should appear before the committee because he had “concealed” his foreign payments. “This is a major problem,” Cummings said. “It also says this, and let me quote is directly: ‘The U.S. Criminal Code (Title 18, Section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five years imprisonment.’”
POLITICO has new information on Flynn’s undisclosed foreign lobbying for Turkey. Flynn’s Turkish lobbying linked to Russia:
The Turkish man who gave Mike Flynn a $600,000 lobbying deal just before President Donald Trump picked him to be national security adviser has business ties to Russia, including a 2009 aviation financing deal negotiated with Vladimir Putin, according to court records.
The man, Ekim Alptekin, has in recent years helped to coordinate Turkish lobbying in Washington with Dmitri “David” Zaikin, a Soviet-born former executive in Russian energy and mining companies who also has had dealings with Putin’s government, according to three people with direct knowledge of the activities.
This unusual arrangement, in which Alptekin and Zaikin have helped steer Turkish lobbying through various groups since at least 2015, raises questions about both the agenda of the two men and the source of the funds used to pay the lobbyists.
Although Turkey is a NATO ally, its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has grown increasingly authoritarian and friendly with Putin. And the hiring of Flynn by Alptekin came at a time when Flynn was working for Trump’s campaign and Putin’s government was under investigation for interfering with the U.S. election.
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment. In a filing with the Justice Department, Flynn said he relied on assurances from Alptekin that he was not directly or indirectly funded by a foreign government. But shifting explanations and a web of business ties raise questions about the arrangement.
Flynn has offered evolving accounts of his lobbying work for Alptekin. In September, Flynn reported his client as a Dutch shell company owned by Alptekin. After being forced to leave the White House — reportedly because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations during the transition with the Russian ambassador — Flynn filed new paperwork in March acknowledging that his lobbying work “principally benefitted” the Turkish government.
The revelation of Russian business ties to the man who hired Flynn — which has not been previously reported — threatens to complicate the White House’s struggle to escape the shadow of the FBI investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian agents.
Flynn has been a focus for concerns about Russian ties to both the Trump campaign, for which he was a key adviser and surrogate, and the Trump administration, in which, as national security adviser, he had access to the most sensitive state secrets.
He also has a history of failing to disclose ties to Russia. His original White House ethics disclosure failed to include payments from Kremlin propaganda network RT and two other Russian companies. The RT payment was for a paid speech Flynn gave at a Moscow gala where he sat at the same table as Putin.
POLITICO then provides a lengthy detailed look into the history of Ekim Alptekin and Dmitri “David” Zaikin and their ties to Vladimir Putin’s kleptocracy in Russia.
Michael Flynn was a national security risk. So how did he manage to slip through the cracks in the vetting process to rise to the level of National Security Adviser in the Trump administration and gain access to classified information? And what did he do with that information?
For the guy who led chants of “lock her up,” it’s looking like Michael Flynn is facing the prospect of doing some time in prison.