Donald Trump was unaware his former national security advisor Michael Flynn was working as a “foreign agent” who was lobbying for a firm linked to the Turkish government when he awarded him the job, his press secretary told reporters on March 9.
Late on March 8, Politico revealed that from September to November last year, Flynn - at that point working as a top advisor to Trump’s presidential campaign - was lobbying for Inovo, a Dutch firm with ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His company earned $530,000.
Flynn and his firm Flynn Intel Group Inc filed retroactive documents with the Department of Justice two days ago to register as a foreign agent.
As part of Flynn’s lobbying for Inovo, he wrote an op-ed calling for “radical” cleric Fethullah Gulen - whom the Turkish government insists was behind last summer’s failed military coup in Turkey and wants to extradite from exile in Pennsylvania - to be kicked out of the US.
Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, US citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign governments or political entities must disclose the work to the justice department. It is a felony to fail to register such employment, although criminal charges are rarely filed in such cases.
Flynn resigned in February after just four weeks as national security advisor when it was revealed that he had misled the US Vice-President, Mike Pence, about phone conversations with the Russian ambassador about sanctions against Moscow.
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