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Cummings Issues Statement on White House Effort to Blame Obama Administration for Vetting Flynn

Apr 28, 2017
Press Release

Cummings Issues Statement on White House Effort to Blame Obama Administration for Vetting Flynn

 

Flynn’s Former Top Deputy Was “Apoplectic” When He Learned of Russian Payments

 

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 28, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to attempts by the White House to blame the Obama Administration for granting fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn a security clearance in 2016:

“It is inappropriate to blame the Obama Administration for the White House’s mistakes in choosing and vetting General Flynn as National Security Advisor.  Yesterday, Sean Spicer claimed the Obama Administration granted General Flynn a clearance ‘with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015.’  That statement was false.  They did not have full knowledge of General Flynn’s activities because he concealed the fact that the source of his payments was RT—the propaganda arm of the Russian government—and failed to obtain permission from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of State to accept those funds, as required.  The White House had its own responsibility to fully vet General Flynn since new information became public during the transition—well after General Flynn’s last background check—about his lobbying on behalf of foreign interests.  The White House needs to stop making excuses to protect General Flynn and finally produce the documents we requested on the Oversight Committee.”

Yesterday, Douglas Wise, Flynn’s own former top deputy at the Defense Intelligence Agency told Yahoo News when he learned about Flynn’s Russian payments, “I was apoplectic ... it was stunning ... I would never have thought that in a million years.”  Had he learned about the Russian payments at the time, he said he would have ordered an immediate investigation:

“I would have considered this an intelligence issue—taking money from an existential adversary of the United States.  I would have made it an issue with the Office of General Counsel, the office of security and the office of counterintelligence—absolutely.” 

Cummings warned the Trump transition team directly in a letter on November 18, 2016—well after Flynn’s previous background investigation—that Flynn was apparently was being “paid to lobby the U.S. Government on behalf of a foreign government’s interests” for work that began in August 2016.

Press accounts are now reporting that the White House and the Trump transition team did conduct vetting on Flynn.  However, to date the White House has refused to turn over a single document in response to a bipartisan request sent by Cummings and Chairman Jason Chaffetz on March 22, 2017, seeking all records of Flynn’s foreign contacts and payments.

 

115th Congress