After the Defense Department’s internal watchdog concluded its investigation into Retired Lieutenant General and former-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the inquiry was forwarded to the United States Army. On March 12, 2021, The Washington Post reported the “case could bring tens of thousands of dollars in financial penalties for President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser.”
The inquiry centered on the retired officer’s receipt of money from Turkish and Russian interests before joining the former-president’s administration. Most United States officials are banned from accepting money or gifts from foreign governments. The prohibition includes retired military personnel; Army LTG Flynn retired in 2014.
Opened in 2017, the inspector general’s investigation was set aside for over three years during the retired Lieutenant General’s criminal inquiry by the Justice Department. The case evolved into the investigation led by Robert S. Meuller for the FBI about the former-president’s first campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Trump administration fired Flynn for lying to former-Vice President Mike Pence about the investigation. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his associations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He later tried to take back his guilty plea.
Former-president Trump pardoned Flynn after losing the election in November 2020. After his pardon, the inspector general’s office was permitted to reopen its inquiry. The investigation concluded in mid-January 2021 and was forwarded to the United States Army.
Dwrena K. Allen, a spokesperson for acting inspector general Sean O’Donnell released this statement:
On January 27, 2021., we closed our investigation against LTG Flynn and forwarded several administrative matters to the Acting Secretary of the Army for review and appropriate action.
Now that the Army has the inquiry results, military officials are struggling with how to handle Flynn, who in January alarmed the Pentagon by suggesting Trump, who was still president, could declare martial law, then rerun the election he claimed Joe Biden and the Democrats had stolen. “Such a move could have plunged the nation into an unprecedented crisis,” writes Dan Lamothe.
Col. Cathy Wilkinson, an army spokesperson, acknowledged that acting Army secretary John E. Whitley received the Flynn inquiry. She added that no additional information was available at this time.
The payments in question amount to nearly $600,000 from Russia in 2015 and Turkish interests in 2016. Flynn did not receive authorization from the Defense Department to accept Russia’s gift and work as a foreign agent for the Turkish business.
Under the department’s guidelines, retired service members must obtain permission to accept money from foreign entities. The Army may pursue money from the retired Lieutenant General.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Washington Post: Army reviewing investigation into Michael Flynn’s dealings with Russia, foreign firm; by Dan Lamothe
Featured and Top Image Defense Intelligence Agency Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License
Inset Image Courtesy of Mike Licht’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License