Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested the White House turn over documents concerning former national security adviser Michael Flynn, whose ties to both Russian Federation and Turkey have come under intense scrutiny since being ousted from the Trump administration.
Flynn's former lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group, was paid $530,000 to represent a Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin but the contract ended in mid-Novermber 2016 because that time Flynn was announced as President Donald Trump's first national security adviser. Mueller is attempting to determine whether the Turkish government was behind any of that money. The alleged payments were reportedly made in exchange for a campaign discrediting a cleric accused of orchestrating the military coup that threatened to overtake Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.
Although receiving money from foreign governments is legal, failing to register as a foreign agent if you have done so is a crime.
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The Times reported that prosecutors have been investigating Flynn's business dealings with a Turkish-American businessman who worked with Flynn previous year, and are trying to determine if the Turkish government was behind payments to Flynn. "And that was one of the things we discussed".
Mueller's team, investigating whether President Trump's campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to influence last year's election, have questioned witnesses close to the former three-star general about Flynn's work with firms tied to the Turkish government, the New York Times reported.
The lobbyist's spokeswoman Molly Toomey insisted they were refunds for unfulfilled work, telling the New York Times: "They were legal, ethical and above board". Trump has publicly stated in the past that he believes Mueller should restrict his investigation on Russia's involvement in the election and not expand into his or his associates' finances.