POLITICS

Flynn, Lose or Draw: General May Hold Key To Russia Scandal

He's another member of Trump's inner circle with close ties to Russia and other foreign governments.
Who Is Michael Flynn?
A former Army lieutenant general, Flynn served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama before establishing his own intelligence consulting firm and ultimately joining the Trump campaign. Flynn acted as an adviser to Trump before briefly becoming the president's national security adviser. Flynn remained silent after his resignation, leading some security experts to believe he'd struck a deal with investigators regarding his involvement in or knowledge about the Trump-Russia scandal.
Why Did He Resign?
Flynn's resignation, after less than a month, followed revelations that he'd repeatedly mischaracterized his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, then-Russian ambassador to the U.S., to Trump officials, including Vice President Mike Pence. Justice Department officials believed his mischaracterization could make him vulnerable to blackmail.
Why Does It Matter?
It turns out the concerns around Flynn extended beyond his dishonesty about his meetings with Kislyak. Flynn had also received and initially failed to disclose multiple payments from foreign entities, including some linked to the Russian government. He also lobbied on behalf of a company with Turkish government ties -- which he also failed to disclose -- and continued his work for other foreign clients while advising the Trump campaign, during which time he had access to classified national security briefings.

Flynn has since been named as a focus of multiple investigations into Russian election meddling, and in September, his son, Michael G. Flynn Jr., was also identified as a subject of the special counsel's probe. Flynn initially said he would not comply with a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena for records detailing his communications with Russians, and asked for immunity in exchange for testimony. In June, however, he turned over hundreds of pages of documents.

In July, Flynn's brother said he'd returned to consulting work and was raising money to pay for his legal bills.
How Did Trump Respond?
Trump has largely stood behind Flynn, going so far as to call him a "good guy" during a private discussion with then-FBI Director James Comey after Flynn's resignation. During the same conversation, Trump asked Comey to drop his investigation into Flynn, saying, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go."

Trump has also blamed the Obama administration for not revoking Flynn's clearance or more thoroughly vetting him. Obama reportedly warned Trump not to bring Flynn on as national security adviser, in part because of his ties to Russian officials.
CONVERSATIONS