Flynn’s Turkish Connection
McClatchy offers up a damning report about Mike Flynn:
One of the Trump administration’s first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired – and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey, whose interests, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, he’d been paid more than $500,000 to represent.
Flynn used his position as Trump’s top adviser on national security to affect U.S. policy in accordance with the preferences of the foreign government he was working for. It doesn’t matter that the government happened to be an ally–he was taking money as a lobbyist for another government while directly influencing U.S. foreign policy. This shows that Flynn was compromised from the very start of the transition, and it confirms that Trump was wrong to put him in such an important national security position.
The New York Times outdoes the McClatchy report:
Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.
Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.
The curious thing about the Flynn-Turkey connection is that it was a very badly-kept secret. Details of Flynn’s connection to a firm that worked on behalf of the Turkish government were known at least by mid-November, and there were hints that something fishy was going before that when he began singing Erdogan’s praises and demanding Gulen’s extradition.
Despite all this, Trump made Flynn his National Security Advisor knowing that he was suspected of working as an undeclared lobbyist for a foreign government, and then during the transition Flynn used his position to affect U.S. policy to suit the Turkish government’s preferences. This is a startling example of the Trump transition team’s vetting failure, and it underscores why Flynn’s removal from his position as National Security Advisor was a good thing for the country.