More Clarity on Why Michael Flynn Was Fired

Posted: Mar 10, 2017 12:05 PM

When General Michael Flynn resigned in February as President Trump's National Security Advisor after just a few weeks on the job, many questions remained over why he was asked to leave his position. 

At the time, the White House argued an irreconcilable breach of trust had occurred and therefore Flynn had to go. Specifically, the breach of trust surrounded Flynn's failure or deliberate decision not to tell Vice President Mike Pence about his discussion of sanctions relief with the Russian ambassador during the transition in December. 

"We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue with a level of trust between the president and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change. The president was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said (bolding is mine). "The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation in a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for General Flynn's resignation.

Spicer also said there was "exhaustive and extensive questioning of General Flynn" to find the truth.

The White House did not respond to inquiries about what those "other questionable instances" were but according to new reporting this week, we may have some more clarity about other reasons why he was fired.

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired from his prominent White House job last month, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying work before Election Day that may have aided the Turkish government.

Paperwork filed Tuesday with the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit said Flynn and his firm were voluntarily registering for lobbying from August through November that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey." It was filed by a lawyer on behalf of the former U.S. Army lieutenant general and intelligence chief.

Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, U.S. citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign government or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department. Willfully failing to register is a felony, though the Justice Department rarely files criminal charges in such cases. It routinely works with lobbying firms to get back in compliance with the law by registering and disclosing their work.

Flynn's registration as a foreign agent with DOJ came retroactively after the work he did on behalf of Turkey was completed, not beforehand.

Spicer was asked about the situation by Fox News' John Roberts during the daily press briefing Thursday, saying the President was likely unaware of Flynn's work at the time he was chosen to serve as National Security Advisor. 

 Q    Was the President aware that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn was acting as a foreign agent when he appointed him to be the national security advisor?

MR. SPICER:  I don’t believe that that was known.  I would refer you to General Flynn and the Department of Justice in terms of the filings that have been made.

Q    Had the President have known that, would he have appointed him?

MR. SPICER:  I don’t know, John.  That’s a hypothetical that I’m not prepared to ask.  I don’t know what he discussed prior to being appointed in terms of his background, his resume, his client base.  I don’t know any of that.  I know that, from what I have read, that he has filed the appropriate forms with the Department of Justice, and I think you should ask him and subsequently them if you have any questions about this specific filing.

Although we still don't know all the details surrounding Flynn's firing, this certainly could be one of many reasons depending on when President Trump found out about it.

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