Pres. Trump’s team knew of Flynn’s inquiry before he assumed office

by Itunuoluwa Adebo

Two people familiar with the Flynn case have revealed that Michael Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign.

Despite the warning, which came almost a month after the Justice Department notified Flynn of the inquiry, Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. A  job  which gave Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.

Flynn’s legal issues have been a problem for the White House from the beginning and are at the centre of a growing political crisis for Mr. Trump. Mr. Flynn, who was fired after 24 days in the job, was initially kept on even after the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, warned the White House that he might be subject to blackmail by the Russians for misleading VP Mike Pence about the nature of conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to Washington.

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After he dismissed Flynn, Trump tried to get James Comey, the FBI director, to drop the investigation an act that some legal experts say is grounds for an investigation of  Trump for possible obstruction of justice. The White House declined to comment on whether officials there had known about Mr. Flynn’s legal troubles before the inauguration.

Flynn, is one of a handful of Trump associates under scrutiny in intertwined federal investigations into their financial links to foreign governments and whether any of them helped Russia interfere in the presidential election.

In congressional testimony, the acting FBI. director, Andrew G. McCabe, has confirmed the existence of a “highly significant” investigation into possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian operatives to sway the presidential election. The pace of the investigations has intensified in recent weeks, with a veteran espionage prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, now leading a grand jury inquiry in Northern Virginia that is scrutinising Mr. Flynn’s foreign lobbying and has begun issuing subpoenas to businesses that worked with Mr. Flynn and his associates.

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The New York Times has reviewed one of the subpoenas. It demands all “records, research, contracts, bank records, communications” and other documents related to work with Mr. Flynn and the Flynn Intel Group, the business he set up after he was forced out as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.  States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the subpoena instructs the recipient to direct any questions about its contents to Mr. Van Grack.

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