Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn might have violated the law by not disclosing payments from the governments of Russia and Turkey, the bipartisan leaders of the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday.
"As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for the violation of law," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the committee, told reporters.
Let's note for the record that Chaffetz hasn't exactly been overly aggressive in holding Trump administration officials accountable for alleged misdeeds, so the fact that even the Utah Republican is publicly expressing concerns about this adds important context.
Indeed, when he spoke to reporters today, Chaffetz stood alongside House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who went on to note that the Trump White House has "refused" provide the oversight panel "with a single piece of paper in response to our bipartisan request, and that is unacceptable."
On that same point, the White House claiming executive privilege is apparently on the table
as a possible response to congressional requests for information.
Of particular interest in this case was Flynn's application for security clearance, in which he was legally required to disclose foreign payments, but in this case, the retired general did not. Though his wording was a little clunky, Jason Chaffetz suggested to NBC News that Flynn may have broken the law.
"I see no information or no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz said.
Of course, a related question is why in the world the White House didn't vet Flynn thoroughly before he was named as the president's National Security Advisor. Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters today Flynn filled out the appropriate forms, which may be true, but it doesn't explain why officials didn't examine those forms to see if the information therein was accurate.
This isn't especially complicated: if Flynn failed to follow the law and disclose the payments, was there no one in the administration responsible for due diligence? read more