Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired by President Donald Trump for misleading the administration about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, is now revealed to have accepted $45,386 to speak at a celebration of Russia's propaganda television network in 2015.
A congressional committee has disclosed documents indicating that Flynn flew to Moscow and stayed there at a five-star hotel for three days on an all-expenses-paid trip in addition to receiving his generous compensation, according to a report by Yahoo News. This was one of three occasions in which Flynn, then a former Defense Intelligence Agency Director, had a speaking engagement in Russia. Flynn's agency, Leading Authorities, took a 25 percent commission, meaning that Flynn earned $33,750 after deducting for their compensation.
Because the television network RT is controlled and subsidized by the Russian government, Flynn's decision to accept payment from them may violate the Constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits retired military officers among other government personnel from accepting "consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria or salary" from foreign governments.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sent a letter on Thursday to President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and FBI Director James Comey stating that "I cannot recall any time in our nation’s history when the President selected as his National Security Advisor someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy."
Flynn's foreign ties received new scrutiny last week when he retroactively registered as a foreign lobbyist for Turkey. Flynn also made several appearances as a commentator on RT.