It seems like not a day goes by without some new development in the ongoing saga of Donald Trump and Russia. The latest news on the issue concerns former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who was scandalously forced to resign after it was revealed that he had spoken with Russian officials regarding President Obama’s sanctions on Russia.
CNN has now reported that Flynn received more than $33,750 from a Russian TV station, RT TV-Russia. The payment was made in exchange for a speech Flynn made in Moscow in 2015.
The U.S. intelligence community considers RT to be little more than a propaganda arm for Vladimir Putin’s government. In their January report on Russia’s interference in the election, they warned that the network was part of Russia’s disinformation campaign.
In the past, Flynn did admit that he had been paid for those speeches, but did not disclose the amount. He also denied that the money came from Russia saying instead that it was from his speaker’s bureau.
Flynn’s failure to disclose the source of these payments had led some to question whether he might be in violation of federal law or military regulations. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, released a letter regarding that matter. In addition to the potential legal issues, it is a violation of military regulation to receive money form a foreign government prior to getting approval from one’s relevant branch of the service.
CNN asserted that documents given to them by the House Oversight Committee show that Flynn was, in fact, paid by RT. Not only that, but apparently, RT negotiated the price of Flynn’s speaking fees.
‘Documents obtained by the oversight committee and shared with CNN show that RT, formerly known as Russia Today, specifically earmarked Flynn’s compensation as part of the payment package to the speakers bureau, Leading Authorities Inc., which also included the bureau’s fee and visa expenses.
In an email exchange between RT and the speakers bureau that the House committee acquired and was reviewed by CNN, a representative from RT said that the initial asking price for Flynn’s appearance as “a bit too high” and asked the company to reduce the fee.’
An email dated from November of 2015 also states that RT said, “We will be covering the payment of General Flynn’s fee from our London office.”
When asked about these accusations, a spokesperson for Flynn said that “Gen. Flynn reported the trip to the DIA both before he went to Russia and after he returned.”
Given his former role as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn would have been obligated to report the trip to agency. However, his spokesperson had no comment regarding whether or not Flynn reported the payment which should have been reported to a different branch of the Pentagon than the one he reported his trip to.
In a separate letter which was addressed to Donald Trump, James Comey, and James Matthis, Cummings argued that Flynn’s action may have violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
Cummings letter argues that Flynn would have been required to report this income to the Army and, Cumming alleges, the Army has no record of such an event.
Featured image via Getty Images.