Michael Flynn, President Trump's ousted national security adviser, apparently earned almost $68,000 from "Russia-related entities" in 2015, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing documents recently released by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.):
The records show that the bulk of the money, more than $45,000, came from the Russian government-backed television network RT, in connection to a December 2015 trip Flynn took to Moscow. Flynn has acknowledged RT sponsored his trip, during which he attended a gala celebrating the network's 10th anniversary and was seated near Russian President Vladimir Putin. His speaker's bureau took a cut of the fee.
The newly released documents show that Flynn was also paid $11,250 that year by the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, and another $11,250 by the Russian charter cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Airlines. The cyberfirm said the payment came for a speech Flynn delivered in Washington. [The Washington Post]
The latter two engagements took place in the summer and fall of 2015, while the RT speech occurred in December 2015 — just months before Flynn was tapped as an official adviser to Trump's campaign. The Washington Post noted RT "receives Kremlin funding" and is "part of a network of propaganda outlets that help popularize a pro-Russian perspective on the news." The U.S. intelligence community found in January that RT likely "played a role" in Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The new revelations come amid an investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, including Flynn's alleged connections. Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after it emerged that he'd misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian ambassador. Earlier this month, Flynn filed paperwork that indicated he worked as a foreign agent while he was advising Trump's presidential campaign. Flynn's company reportedly made $530,000 for its lobbying work on behalf of a Turkish firm.
Cummings enclosed the newest documents about Flynn in a letter to Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and FBI Director James Comey. In the letter, Cummings suggested Flynn, a retired military officer, "violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy."