From CBS News:
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, the White House says.
The comments came two days after Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., filed paperwork with the Justice Department formally identifying him as a foreign agent and acknowledging that his work for a company owned by a Turkish businessman could have aided Turkey’s government.
At the White House, asked whether Trump knew about Flynn’s work before he appointed him as national security adviser, press secretary Sean Spicer said, “I don’t believe that that was known.”
Flynn and his company filed the registration paperwork describing $530,000 worth of lobbying before Election Day on behalf of Inovo BV, a Dutch-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin. In an interview with The Associated Press, Alptekin said Flynn did so after pressure from Justice Department officials.
Flynn’s disclosure that his lobbying – from August through November- may have benefited Turkey’s authoritarian government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came as Flynn has drawn scrutiny from the FBI for his contacts with Russian officials.
More than a month before Flynn was appointed as national security adviser, news accounts and Democratic senators had raised questions about potential conflicts of interest regarding Flynn’s work for the Turkish company. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., criticized Flynn’s work and late disclosure again Thursday as troubling.
“Gen. Flynn’s behavior seems to be part of a larger pattern of poor judgment from members of this administration,” she said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a statement that Flynn should return any foreign money he received.
“This astonishing admission is more appalling evidence of foreign entanglements and conflicts of interest involving the Trump team,” he said. He said a special prosecutor should be appointed to look into ties between Trump officials and foreign governments.
Flynn met privately in September in New York with two senior Turkish government officials, including the government’s ministers of foreign affairs and energy. Flynn’s company did not name the officials, but the current Turkish energy minister is Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan’s son-in-law.
A president’s son-in-law having secret meetings with other governments’ officials? Why, that’s just crazy! AmIRite?