Oh MAN, we continue to learn hilarious things about disgraced National Security Adviser/Foreign Agent Michael Flynn! Remember how Flynn was with Donald Trump basically the entire campaign, but Trump allegedly (haha yeah right yup) had no idea Flynn was a foreign agent who was currently making a nice chunk of change working on behalf of the Turkish government? Well, that story seems even odder to us now, considering what Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has revealed in a letter sent to Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and FBI Director James Comey. It looks like before the campaign, Flynn was taking money from several instruments of the Russian government, and even better, it looks like he totally violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution in doing so! WEIRD, YEAH?
From Rep. Cummings’s summary:
As part of his letter, Cummings released new documents obtained by the Oversight Committee—including payment vouchers, international financial transaction logs, and detailed email exchanges with Russian media officials—showing that the Kremlin-backed media outlet known as RT paid more than $45,000 for Flynn’s participation at a gala in Moscow in December 2015, during which he dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in apparent violation of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. […]
The documents reveal that Flynn also received $11,250 from a Russian charter cargo airline and $11,250 from a top Russia-based cybersecurity corporation.
WHOA IF TRUE! Cummings notes that the U.S. intelligence community has considered RT to be a tool of the Russian government since way back in 2012, when Flynn was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, so he PROBABLY would have known that, when he got paid $45,000 to dine with Vladimir Putin and Jill Stein at the RT gala. You remember that picture, right? Let’s look at it again!
We figured he ate some nice Russian food at that gala, but we never realized there was $45,000 underneath his napkin, or that it was left there by the state-run RT network!
The letter from Cummings goes through all the dirty details of how RT, and also the Russian airline and the cybersecurity company, are linked to the Russian government, and demands to know whether or not Flynn disclosed these details when applying for his security clearance. We’re sure the cybersecurity outfit is no big deal, since it’s not like Russia “cybered” America in any way over the past couple years, that we can think of.
Now, as to the part about Flynn violating the Emoluments Clause, the Cummings letter notes (without specifically saying so) that it doesn’t matter that Obama had fired retired GENERAL Michael Flynn before he did these activities, because the clause specifically applies to retired military personnel, on account of how they can potentially be called back to service:
Significantly, retired regular military officers are also subject to the Emoluments Clause because they are subject to recall, and, therefore, hold an “Office of Profit or Trust” under the Emoluments Clause.
And as to the question of whether working for these companies funded or controlled in part by the Russians counts as “working for Russia,” Cummings includes this handy quote from the Defense Department:
A foreign state includes any organization that is owned or operated by a foreign government, including federal, regional and local level governments … Thus, foreign governmental entities, such as commercial entities owned or controlled by a foreign government and foreign public universities controlled by a foreign government, can be considered instrumentalities of “foreign states” for purposes of the Emoluments Clause.
Yep, sounds like Flynn is GUILTY!
So did he lie about all this stuff in his security clearance applications? Because that’s a GO TO JAIL felony. Or did he tell the truth and Donald J. Trump just doesn’t care, because Donald J. Trump doesn’t love America? Who can say!
Oh, by the way, Cummings is also asking that the “Defense Department initiate steps to recover all foreign funds accepted by General Flynn in violation of the Emoluments Clause,” so we guess Flynn better check his piggy bank and his couch cushions and stuff, because he needs to PAY UP!
We’re glad we keep giving Elijah Cummings that Legislative Badass Of The Year award, because he sure does continue to earn it.
Here, have a Rachel Maddow segment about this:
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