Washington D.C. [United States]: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said that President Donald Trump’s transition team was aware that former National Security Advisor retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s consulting firm lobbying for Turkey.
Spicer, however, clarified that President Trump himself was unaware of this fact.
Spicer on Friday informed that a Trump transition attorney was contacted by Flynn’s attorney to notify the transition of the potential filing but Trump was not made aware of it.
Vice President Mike Pence, who headed up the transition, was notified separately by a top Democrat that Flynn’s firm had lobbied on behalf of a foreign power, reports CNN.
Dismissing questions about whether the disclosures should have raised red flags about Flynn, Spicer said, and “it’s not a question of raising a red flag”.
This comes after it was revealed by Flynn’s Justice Department filing that his firm worked on behalf of a Turkish-owned company to improve U.S. confidence in Turkey’s business climate, raised further questions about Flynn.
Following allegations of illicitly discussing sanctions with a Russian envoy, Flynn had resigned as National security Advisor last month, citing it was ‘unfortunate’ he ‘inadvertently’ briefed Vice President Mike Pence with incomplete information regarding his phone calls with Sergey Kislyak.
“In the course of my duties as the incoming National Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the President, his advisors and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude. Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador,” read the text of his resignation letter.
It added, “I have sincerely apologised to the President and the Vice-President, and they have accepted my apology.”
“I am tendering my resignation, honoured to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” said the letter by Michael T. Flynn, LTG (Ret) Assistant to the President / National Security Advisor.
Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had initially denied discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the transition. Vice-President Pence also defended him in front of the media. But last week, when reports suggested that sanctions may indeed have been discussed, he conceded that he could not remember with 100 percent certainty.
Pence was said to be also troubled by the possibility that he was misled post the reports. (ANI)