The House oversight committee has obtained new documents that reveal Michael Flynn was warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 against accepting foreign payments as he entered retirement. Democrats on the oversight committee released a letter dated 11th April that indicated that the inspector general of the Department of Defense also opened an investigation of Flynn earlier this month.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee, made a statement in which he pointed out that the documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon.
Cummings continued to emphasize that the next step was to get the documents that the committee was seeking from the White House so that the investigation could be completed. He also thanked the Department of Defense for providing the committee with unclassified versions of these documents.
These come two days after Cummings and House oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz said Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments he received from RT-TV, a station widely considered to be a propaganda arm of the Russian government. Chaffetz also sent a letter Thursday to the acting secretary of the Army asking for a final determination as to whether Flynn violated the law.
The announcement, which was made on Thursday, also shed light on the apparent division between the two parties in the committee, which had so far appeared to be working closely together on the Flynn investigation. MJ Henshaw, who is Chaffetz spokeswoman said on Thursday that the release of the Flynn documents constituted a violation of trust by Cummings because he never consulted with Chaffetz before releasing them.
The Democrats pushed back on the idea that they hadn't worked with Republicans on the committee. Cummings spokeswoman Jennifer Werner said revealed that they consulted with Republicans extensively over the past several weeks as part of the process of working with the Pentagon to prepare unclassified versions of the documents for public release, and they were included in multiple telephone and email communications with the Pentagon.
Werner added that they informed the Republicans on Thursday morning that they we would be releasing the documents adding that the internal committee protocols call for consultation, not consent. In another release, the White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on that he thinks it is appropriate for the Defense Department inspector general to look into Flynn if they think there is wrongdoing.
Spicer was in defense of the way Flynn was vetted based on the fact that his clearances were approved under the Obama administration, not acknowledging that Trump was the one who decided to bring him into the administration. In a news conference following the documents' release, Cummings again sharply criticized the White House for not releasing documents related to Flynn.
White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short outlined in a letter earlier this week to the committee how it would not complete the request from the panel. The Director was referring to some requests to the Department of Defense.
Chaffetz also received a request from the Democrats on the House Oversight asking that they schedule a meeting with the White House to demand the release of the Flynn documents they have asked for. Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, had previously said that Flynn briefed the DIA on his speech to RT and the payments, but Cummings said Thursday that another document that was declassified this week shows no evidence to support that statement.