President Donald Trump's first national security adviser — who was fired a month into the job for communications with a Russian official and misleading White House staff— has revealed he was acting as a foreign agenton behalf of Turkey ahead of Election Day.
Michael Flynn was paid $530,000 for work before and after the 2016 electionthat could have "principally benefited the Republic of Turkey,"according to documents he filed with the Justice Department.
Flynn's consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, was working for Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting firm owned by a Turkish businessman with ties to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to multiple reports.
Between Sept. 9 and Nov. 14, Flynn's firm was focused on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in the United States accused of orchestrating a failed coup against Erdogan in July.
While Flynn had disclosed to Congress previously that he was doing work with Inovo, neither he nor his company had registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Deparment, which is required by law to make disclosures about their work and political interests.
On Election Day, Flynn penned an op-ed for The Hill that called on the U.S. to support Turkey by kicking out Gulen, and indirectly supported Trump without mentioning the then-candidate's name.
"The primary bone of contention between the U.S. and Turkey is Fethullah Gulen, a shady Islamic mullah residing in Pennsylvania whom former President Clinton once called his 'friend' in a well circulated video," Flynn wrote.
The op-ed did not disclose Flynn's work against Gulen, 75, who currently lives near the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
In filings to the department, Flynn said the op-ed in The Hill wasn't published at the request of Inovo or the Turkish government, but the company did review a draft before he submitted it.
Flynn's spokesman Price Floyd told Politico that Flynn was hired by Inovo to "repair the perception of the business climate in Turkey with key audiences in the U.S. following the attempted coup," and has registered retroactively with the Justice Department to be cautious.
After his firm's work was done, Flynn agreed to not lobby for five years after leaving government service, and never to work on behalf of foreign governments again.
Flynn resigned in February from Trump's cabinet after admitting that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others on possibly illegal conversations he had with a Russian ambassador.