In yet another shoe to drop from the centipede that is the Trump administration, The New York Times is now reporting that former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who only registered as a foreign agent for the Turkish government after leaving the Trump administration, informed the Trump transition team “weeks before the inauguration” that he was working as a Turkish lobbyist during the 2016 campaign.
Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies. Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.
This is not the same revelation that led to Flynn’s firing — acting attorney general Sally Yates told the Trump administration, and McGahn specifically, that Flynn could be compromised by the Russian government in late January; it took 18 days for the administration to fire him after that.
If The New York Times report is correct, that means that Team Trump knew full well that Flynn had monetary connections with the Turkish government even as it allowed Flynn to cancel a key mission against ISIS — a mission the Turkish government opposed. According to another bombshell report on Wednesday night from McClatchy:
The decision came 10 days before Donald Trump had been sworn in as president, in a conversation with President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who had explained the Pentagon’s plan to retake the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa with Syrian Kurdish forces whom the Pentagon considered the U.S.’s most effective military partners. Obama’s national security team had decided to ask for Trump’s sign-off, since the plan would all but certainly be executed after Trump had become president. Flynn didn’t hesitate. According to timelines distributed by members of Congress in the weeks since, Flynn told Rice to hold off, a move that would delay the military operation for months.
All of this, if accurate, is devastating to the Trump administration, given that President Trump said on national television last week that he didn’t see the rush to fire Flynn, since it “did not sound like an emergency.” Trump also said he didn’t know about Flynn being paid by the Turkish and Russian governments, and said that perhaps President Obama did.
This is yet another headache the administration could have avoided by doing basic due diligence. And now we’re learning that the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s supposed Russia connection is circulating around Flynn as well.