In a letter to the House Oversight Committee chairman Monday, a top Democratic lawmaker suggested former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn broke the law last year by making false statements during a background-check interview for his top-secret security clearance. Lying to federal investigators during a background check can be a felony under federal law.
Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings, who serves as the ranking member on the Oversight Committee, said Flynn may have lied to Defense Department examiners about his foreign income sources while under questioning.
The letter, addressed to his Republican counterpart Jason Chaffetz, quotes excerpts from the Defense Department’s Report of Information, a document typically filled out during the background-check interview. Pentagon investigators conducted Flynn’s interview in February 2016 after he applied for a routine five-year renewal of his top-secret clearance. The retired lieutenant general told them about a trip he’d taken to Moscow two months earlier, describing it as “a conference for the Russia media,” according to Cummings’s excerpts of the report.
In fact, that conference was a gala hosted by Russia Today, a state-funded TV channel, and Flynn was seated at the same table as fellow guest Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. RT paid Flynn about $45,000 through his speakers’ bureau to “dine at a gala with [Putin],” the letter said. But he apparently failed to disclose that to investigators, who wrote in the report that Flynn stated “he does not have any foreign business connections or foreign financial interests” and that “he has not received any benefit from a foreign country.”