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Did Mike Flynn Accept Illegal Payments From the Russian Government?

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Russ Choma reports in Mother Jones:

A key Trump White House official may have violated the Constitution in 2015 when he delivered a paid speech in Moscow and dined with Vladimir Putin, congressional Democrats alleged Wednesday. According to the lawmakers, Michael Flynn, the controversial national security adviser, may have run afoul of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

Since Donald Trump’s election in November, ethics experts have raised concerns that the president’s many overseas business interests might violate the Emoluments Clause—a provision that prohibits federal office holders from accepting financial benefits from a foreign government. But the possibility that Flynn, a retired Army general, may have also violated the clause is new.

The concern was raised in a letter signed by top Democrats on the House Oversight, Armed Services, Judiciary, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs committees and focuses on a trip to Russia that Flynn took in December 2015. On the trip, Flynn attended a 10th anniversary gala celebration for RT, the pro-Russia news outlet owned by the Russian government. At the gala, Flynn appeared on a panel and then sat next to Putin during dinner. Flynn retired from the military prior to the trip, but the Democratic letter notes that he may still have been covered by the Emoluments Clause.

In an interview with the Washington Post last year, Flynn downplayed the importance of the meeting by making it clear that he was only there as a paid speaker.

“I was asked by my speaker’s bureau, LAI. I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity,” Flynn told the Post. “The gig was to do an interview with [RT correspondent] Sophie Shevardnadze. It was an interview in front of the forum, probably 200 people in the audience.”

Flynn would not tell the Post how much he was paid for the event. The White House did not immediately respond to Mother Jones’ request for comment on the letter. . .

Continue reading.

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Written by LeisureGuy

1 February 2017 at 3:10 pm

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