"I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz said
For his part, Flynn, via his lawyer, continued to insist he had done nothing wrong
With every passing week, it becomes more and more clear that Michael Flynn is in a world of trouble.
This week was no different as it was revealed – first by CNN! – that President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser had been warned as far back as 2014 that he could not give paid speeches to foreign governments. That’s problematic for Flynn because we’ve long known that he had traveled to Russia to give a speech to RT TV, a media operation widely regarded as a propaganda arm for the Russian government.
But that wasn’t all the bad news for Flynn this week. It was also revealed that Flynn had not properly disclosed the payments for the RT TV speech to either the Department of Defense or the State Department .
Following a classified briefing on Flynn’s activities this week, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) held a press conference in which it was clear that what they’d seen had shocked them.
“I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz said in a remarkable turn of phrase. “As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law.”
That’s a Republican member of Congress saying that about a Republican president’s one-time national security adviser! For students of Washington, the conclusion was obvious: Flynn is now such damaged goods that not even Republicans are willing to stand up for him.
For his part, Flynn, via his lawyer, continued to insist he had done nothing wrong. “As has previously been reported, Gen. Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of DoD, extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip, and he answered any questions that were posed by DIA concerning the trip during those briefings,” Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, said in a statement.
But if Flynn is innocent of all charges against him, why did he offer his testimony to congressional oversight committees in exchange for immunity? Seeking immunity is not typically the strategy of the blameless.
This week felt like a major moment in Flynn’s demise. He’s now been cut off by almost all of his one-time defenders – the President, oddly, excluded – and that means he’ll have to fight the next stage of this investigation alone. And being alone when facing charges like these isn’t much fun.
Michael Flynn, for watching even your allies start shuffling for the exits, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.