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President Trump's transition team knew ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have needed to register as a foreign agent before Trump took office, a White House official confirmed Friday to The Associated Press. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested at a daily press briefing that Trump was not aware of Flynn's lobbying work for a firm linked to the Turkish government. "I don't believe that was known," Spicer said.
But apparently Trump's transition team had in fact been advised Flynn may need to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. Any U.S. citizen lobbying "on behalf of foreign governments or political entities" is required to disclose their work to the Justice Department under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, The Guardian noted. Flynn registered with the Justice Department earlier this week, after resigning from his post last month after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Spicer maintained Friday it was not the White House's responsibility to ensure its appointees "fill out the appropriate forms," which in Flynn's case was a filing with the Justice Department. "A personal lawyer of Gen. Flynn's contacted a transition lawyer and asked for guidance on what he should or should not do. The lawyer was instructed that wasn't the role of the transition and that it was up to the personal lawyer," Spicer said, noting this was a "personal matter" for Flynn.
Flynn's company was doing lobbying work for the Turkish firm while Flynn was serving as a top adviser to Trump's presidential campaign. The Associated Press reported Flynn's company earned $530,000 from its work.