Michael Flynn's son a target of Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation, says report

Follows allegation that elder Michael Flynn illegally failed to report foreign contacts

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Wednesday 13 September 2017 20:57 BST
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Michael Flynn and his son both appeared destined for key roles in the Trump administration
Michael Flynn and his son both appeared destined for key roles in the Trump administration (AP)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Federal investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller have reportedly turned their attention to Michael G Flynn Jr, the son of embattled former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

The questions thought to be encircling the Flynn family offer the latest evidence that the work of the senior Mr Flynn's consulting group has emerged as a key matter for investigators tasked with probing potential ties between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia. According to NBC News, which first reported that investigators are looking into the younger Mr Flynn, the son's work for his father's Flynn Intel Group is a topic of interest.

Both Flynns forfeited jobs working for the Trump administration, the elder Mr Flynn for having mischaracterised his contact with the Russian ambassador and his son - who served on the transition team - for promoting on Twitter a conspiracy theory linking Hillary Clinton to an alleged child pornography ring at a Washington DC pizza restaurant. They now share a status as people of apparent interest in a widening investigation that has encompassed multiple former members of Mr Trump's orbit.

Between being forced out of an Obama administration post in 2014 and coming on as a short-lived national security adviser to Mr Trump, Mr Flynn plunged into the world of private consulting, a period that has attracted interest from Congressional investigators and Mr Mueller's team.

Congressional panels have issued multiple subpoenas seeking to compel the elder Mr Flynn to reveal more about his work for foreign entities, and the White House was asked by Mr Mueller’s team to turn over documents related to Mr Flynn, according to the New York Times. It emerged earlier this year that Mr Flynn had not listed payments from two Russia-linked firms, including a paid speech in Moscow, on his financial disclosure forms. His firm also lobbied for the Turkish government, and investigators working for Mr Mueller have reportedly probed Mr Flynn’s work on behalf of a Turkish businessman.

The report of Michael G Flynn Jr drawing interest from federal investigators, follows allegations from Congressional Democrats that the elder Mr Flynn violated federal law by failing to disclose having met foreign officials to promote a joint Russian-American business deal. A letter from congressmen Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel - a copy of which was sent to Mr Mueller - raises fresh questions about the extent of the retired lieutenant general’s entanglements with foreign actors.

In June, the two congressmen wrote to the executives of companies who had allegedly worked alongside Mr Flynn to build nuclear infrastructure in the Middle East in partnership with Russia and with financing from Saudi Arabia, according to Newsweek.

Responses from the executives “provided multiple independent confirmations” of the trip, Reps Cummings and Engel wrote in a followup letter this week, allegedly putting Mr Flynn in violation of federal law because he did not report those trips on a 2016 application for high-level security clearance.

The elected officials' letter quotes a response from Dr Thomas Cochran of ACU Strategic Partners, one of the companies involved in the proposed project, confirming that Mr Flynn travelled to the Middle East in 2015 to advance the construction of nuclear reactor and stating that Mr Flynn “firmly believed in the necessity of the project from a US national security perspective”.

Lawyers representing Mr Flynn refused to provide further details and did not refute allegations of Mr Flynn having broken the law, the legislators wrote, but said Mr Flynn was “only responding to compulsory process”.

Comey: I took Trump's request to drop Flynn probe as a direction

In addition to warning that Mr Flynn could be exposed to criminal penalties, the letter questions whether the former prominent Trump aide continued talking to officials about the potential nuclear deal even after Mr Trump won the 2016 election and ascended to the presidency. The lawmakers asked for more documents that might illuminate such contacts.

“The American people deserve to know whether General Flynn was secretly promoting the private interests of these businesses while he was a campaign advisor, a transition official, or President Trump’s National Security Advisor”, the congressmen wrote.

After the letter's release, the Wall Street Journal reported that the elder Mr Flynn had indeed promoted the nuclear power project while serving as national security adviser, citing former security council staffers.

Prior press reports detailed the effort to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, which a business consortium promoted to the Obama administration as a bulwark against nuclear technology being put to sinister uses. Shortly before the 2016 election, Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners, who was involved in the venture and was one of the recipients of the letters from Mr Cummings and Mr Engel, told AL.com the idea was “very important to the U.S./Russian collaboration to stabilise the Middle East through nuclear power”.

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