During Thursday's White House press conference, Sean Spicer said that Trump did not know Flynn had been working for Turkey when he offered him the job of nat sec adviser. "From what I've read, he has filed appropriate forms with the Department of Justice; ask them and subsequently him if you have any questions about the filing", he replied. His security clearance was suspended. It said the now-defunct Flynn Intel Group received $530,000 from Inovo BV from last August to mid-November. It is a felony not to register but the Justice Department rarely files such charges. The documents stated that the officials that Flynn's firm met with were Turkey's Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy.
Flynn on Wednesday disclosed lobbying work he did that may have benefited the government of Turkey in a retroactive Department of Justice registration.
But in an op-ed published on Election Day, Flynn struck a radically different note. Flynn retired in 2014 after serving as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for two years.
Spicer said that as long as the proper paperwork was filed, there was "nothing nefarious" about Flynn's actions, as the lobbying had occurred while he was a private citizen. "This was a personal matter, it's a business matter". Flynn's lobbying work took place before he entered government. He also urged the U.S. to "help" Turkey by extraditing cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accused of being behind the coup.
Previously, Flynn had seemed to praise the coup attempt.
He reportedly registered due to pressure from Justice Department officials.
The disclosure of the contacts between Flynn's team and the transition does not directly contradict the remarks from Pence and Spicer, but it shows that some key Trump administration officials were aware prior to Flynn's appointment that it was likely he would be registering as a foreign agent.
Flynn Intel Group's work for Inovo netted the firm $535,000. "Flynn Intel Group held weekly calls with the client to report engagement progress".
Flynn on election day penned an editorial in Capitol Hill political tabloid The Hill, where he expressed the need for the U.S.to support Erdogan's government, and called for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric living in the US who Turkish government officials believe was behind the attempted 2016 military coup to remove Erdogan from power.
"Makes you wonder if an adequate background check has been done", Rep. Steve King of Iowa said on MSNBC.
"I don't believe that that was known". His receipt of a large sum of money on behalf of the Turkish government may have meant he should have avoided specific decisions regarding Turkey, but the details would be crucial.
PENCE: The first I heard of it, and I think it is, ah, it is an affirmation of the president's decision to ask General Flynn to resign.