Trump blames Flynn's vetting on Obama administration

"He was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the army prior to travelling to Russian Federation to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity", Chaffetz told reporters on Tuesday.

Flynn was reportedly paid $45,000 from RT, according to CNBC.

"The Pentagon's warning to Gen. Flynn was bold, italicized and could not have been clearer", Cummings said at a news conference today.

Flynn received at least $33,750 for his appearance in Moscow in 2015 for RT's anniversary celebration, a gala where Flynn sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Trump has faced questions about why Flynn, who was forced to step down as national security adviser after only 24 days, was not more thoroughly vetted for potential conflicts of interest before he was brought into the White House.

At Thursday afternoon's White House daily media briefing, Trump press secretary Sean Spicer sought to distance Flynn from the president and called the Pentagon investigation into the former NSA adviser "appropriate".

The investigation is the latest scandal affecting Flynn, who resigned from his post after he was known to have held talks on sanctions against Moscow with the Russian ambassador in Washington before Trump was sworn in as president.

An attorney for ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn says a newly released letter shows Flynn was forthcoming with USA military officials about a trip he took to Moscow to attend a gala for a Russian state-sponsored television network. Pence received information detailing Flynn's status as a lobbyist for a foreign government, but later denied knowledge of the entire affair, claiming Flynn had lied to him.

The fact remains, though, that a Republican committee chairman has said Mr. Trump's first national security adviser concealed payments from Russian Federation while Moscow was under investigation for meddling in the election, and that deepens an already serious problem for this White House. Asked about Trump administration vetting, Spicer appeared to shift blame onto the Obama administration, which had fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. "Here is a paper trail that the White House does not want our committee to follow, but let it be known we will follow it and we will follow it with everything we got".

The Democrat also pushed the White House to release documents it has that could aide in the Oversight Committee's investigation.

If Mr. Chaffetz believes, as he said, that Mr. Flynn may have violated the law, he should unleash his committee's formidable investigative powers.

General Flynn was warned on October 8, 2014 by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that he was prohibited by the Constitution from receiving payments from foreign sources without advance permission.

The investigation will be led by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine, according to several members of the House Oversight Committee.

Warner also said Flynn was "very high on the list" of people the Senate intelligence committee would like to bring forward as part of its investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. "The White House needs to stop making excuses to protect General Flynn".

Flynn's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Spicer said the White House has "complied with every document they have looked for" and that the information the committee is seeking is from before Trump took office.

  • Larry Hoffman