The tempest of controversy surrounding Mike Flynn, President Trump's former national security advisor, spun up furiously again Tuesday when he was accused of breaking the law over payments from Russia and Turkey.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that Flynn's trip to Russia, where he had dinner with President Vladimir Putin, was unlawful because he did not seek the proper permission to do so. He is also accused of unlawfully receiving money from Russia and Turkey.
An attorney for Flynn said in a statement that the general had briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency about the trips beforehand. "He answered any questions that were posed by DIA concerning the trip during those briefings," the statement said.
Flynn resigned from his position with the Trump administration after leaks revealed that he had been dishonest about a meeting with a Russian intelligence agent before the election. He had misled Vice President Pence about the meeting, and embarrassed the administration when the truth was revealed.
Rep. Chaffetz addressed the issue with reporters, saying, "If that money was received by General Flynn, and we believe that it was, that money needs to be recovered."
"That final determination again will have to come from the Department of the Army," Chaffetz continued, "as well as the Department of Defense, but as a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money, it was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for the violation of law."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says it appears that Michael Flynn accepted money from Russia https://t.co/Zg1v1CEk1P— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 25, 2017
"Personally I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz continued.
"And that is he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state," he explained, "and the secretary of the army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment, but to engage in that activity. I see no evidence that he actually did that.
The House Oversight Committee requested information in relation to Flynn from the Trump administration, but were denied. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed the refusal Tuesday, calling the request "pretty outlandish."
“They listed for every call and contact that he made, which is an extraordinary number,” Spicer said. “That’s a very unwieldy request.”
“To say we want the national security adviser, whose job it is to talk with foreign counterparts on a daily basis, to document every call he may or may not have made is not exactly a request that’s able to be filled," he concluded.
Various agencies are investigating Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, and many detractors point to Flynn's interactions as evidence that the Trump administration might have colluded with Russia. No concrete proof has been presented by critics, however.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the allegations against Flynn were "extremely, extremely troubling," and demanded all parties turn over whatever information was necessary in pursuing investigations into the matter.