Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

White House knew sacked adviser was under investigation

Flynn told Trump's team that he had been notified of a Department of Justice probe into his secret work as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the presidential campaign, sources told the New York Times. That conversation, and another one two days later between Flynn's lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported. Now the the Times reports that Flynn informed the Trump team that he was under investigation as well.

Eventually fired on February 13 for making misleading statements to Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about discussions he carried out with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Flynn has been at the center of a string of Trump-related controversies in recent months.

Flynn was forced to resign after only 24 days in office. He fired Mr Comey on May 9.

After Mr Flynn's dismissal, Mr Trump tried to get Mr James B. Comey, the then-FBI director, to drop the investigation - an act that some legal experts say is grounds for an investigation of Mr Trump for possible obstruction of justice.

It was also reported by CNN this month President Barack Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn during a face-to-face meeting in November.

"This was a serious compromise situation that the Russians had real leverage", former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer downplayed her warning about Flynn's interactions with Russian officials as just "a heads up".

The newspaper goes on to state it has seen one of the subpoenas that is part of a grand jury inquiry in Northern Virginia into Flynn's lobbying.

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It reportedly demands access to "records, research, contracts, bank records, communications" linked to Flynn's work with his lobbying group - which he set up in 2014.

Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman whose company paid Flynn, disputes that he was "taking directions from anyone in the government" of Turkey.

The damning questions about Flynn come on the heels of President Trump having met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, to discuss how the two nations could "deepen" cooperation in efforts to confront terrorism.

The newspaper claims Flynn's company signed a $600,000 deal with Inovo in August a year ago to "run an influence campaign aimed at discrediting Fethullah Gulen".

Gulen was accused by Erdogan of trying to orchestrate a coup in Turkey.

Mr. Flynn hired a lawyer a few weeks later.

In November, Flynn wrote a piece blasting Gulen - calling him "a shady Islamic mullah".

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