Michael Flynn – Foreign Agent of Turkey

Michael Flynn
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Michael Flynn, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
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On August 9, 2016, Michael Flynn signed a contract with Inovo, a Dutch firm owned by Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman connected to Turkey President Recep Erdogan. Under the contract, Flynn’s company would receive $600,000 for investigating and producing a film about Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Erdogan blamed for instigating a failed coup. The film was not completed, but Flynn’s company eventually received $530,000. Source

Note that US military generals are prohibited from being employed by foreign government-controlled agencies and companies by the emoluments clause of the US Constitution.

On September 19, 2016, CIA Director James Woolsey witnessed Michael Flynn in a meeting with Turkish government officials, including Turkey President Erdogan’s son-in-law. Flynn was discussing the removal of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan had accused of planning a failed coup in Turkey, from the US to Turkey without going through formal extradition. Source

On November 8, 2016 (US election day), Michael Flynn published an op-ed in The Hill, criticizing Fethullah Gulen as “a shady Islamic mullah” and “radical Islamist,” evidently as an assignment for his lobbying firm under contract by Ekim Alptekin’s company Inovo. Flynn did not disclose in the article that he was being paid by Inovo. Source

In late December 2016, Michael Flynn allegedly met with several senior Turkish officials to discuss further the deportation of Fethullah Gulen to Turkey. In addition, during the meeting the parties were allegedly discussing arranging for the release of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian businessman imprisoned in the US and accused of bank fraud and money laundering to help Turkish officials avoid US sanctions on Iran. In exchange for Gulen’s deportation and Zarrab’s release, it is alleged that Michael Flynn would receive more than $15 million from Turkish president Erdogan. Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, is also being investigated in relation to this alleged meeting. Source

According to news reports in November 2017, Zarrab is cooperating with US authorities in their investigation into Michael Flynn. Investigators are apparently seeking evidence of Flynn’s relationship with Erdogan. Source

On January 10, 2017, Michael Flynn spoke with Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who explained a plan to retake the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, in partnership with Syrian Kurdish forces. Because the operation would be carried out during Trump’s administration they sought Flynn’s sign-off. Flynn told Rice to hold off, delaying the operation against Raqqa for months. It was widely speculated that his decision was influenced by his secret agency with Turkey via his lobbying firm’s client Inovo (Turkey has domestic political problems with the Kurds). Source

In January 2017, before Trump’s inauguration, Michael Flynn’s attorneys told incoming White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn might need to register as a foreign agent. After Trump’s inauguration, Flynn’s attorneys also told another member of the White House legal team. Source

Flynn also informed Trump’s transition team that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. Source

On March 7, 2017, Michael Flynn revised disclosure papers previously made, now admitting that he worked as a foreign agent during 2016, representing interests of the Turkish government in a dispute with the United States involving an operation in Syria. The Trump administration claimed it did not know Flynn was acting as a foreign agent when Flynn was appointed National Security Advisor. Source

On March 9, 2017, during an interview on Fox News, Vice President Mike Pence said that this day was the first he had ever heard about Michael Flynn’s status as a foreign agent of Turkey and having received over $500,000 from Turkey. Source

Note that Pence led Trump’s transition team, and Michael Flynn had informed the incoming White House legal counsel during the transition that he might need to register as a foreign agent.

On May 9, 2017, the Trump administration announced that despite strong opposition from Turkey the US was finally moving forward with the plan Michael Flynn had previously delayed, to arm Syrian Kurds for their battle to retake the Iraqi city Raqqa from the Islamic State. Source

Discussion

Michael Flynn had not only worked directly for several Russian companies, and had a close relationship with Russian national Svetlana Lokhova, but he was additionally actively working as an agent of the Turkish government throughout the Trump campaign and into his time in Trump’s cabinet. After these facts were later published, Flynn would later be forced register as a foreign agent. Source

Note that Trump’s transition team, whom he notified that he may need to register under FARA and that he was under investigation for his work for Turkey, was led by Mike Pence. This is essentially hard confirmation that Mike Pence personally knew about Flynn’s status as a foreign agent of Turkey and his precarious legal situation.