White House says Trump did not know Flynn was 'lobbying for Turkey'
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is seen in this file photo. / Reuters PhotoThe White House said on March 10 that U.S. President Donald Trump did not know until this week that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had been lobbying for Turkey’s interest.
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 on March 7 with the U.S. Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit said Flynn and his firm were voluntarily registering for lobbying from August through November last year that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey," The Associated Press reported. It was filed by a lawyer on behalf of the former U.S. Army lieutenant general and intelligence chief.
Flynn’s contract with a Dutch company called Inovo BV ended on Nov. 15, 2016, just three days before Trump appointed him national security adviser.
Inovo BV is owned by Emre Alptekin, who is the Chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK) that operates under Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Flynn's lobbying was a personal and business matter, and it was up to him to decide when to register.
Asked if Trump had not been aware that former general Flynn was working as a foreign agent, Spicer said: "Correct... You wouldn't know that until he filed. He didn't file until two days ago."
On the day of Trump’s election as the new president of the U.S., Flynn penned an article for the Hill newspaper that the U.S. should not provide a safe haven for U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 2016.