Pentagon: No record Flynn's paid Russian event was allowed

Pentagon: No record Flynn's paid Russian event was allowed
© Greg Nash

The Pentagon says it has not discovered any evidence former national security adviser Michael Flynn received authorization to accept money for a paid Russian state TV event in 2015.

The Department of the Army conducted “a thorough records search, and has not found any documents,” acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer said in a Tuesday letter, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Journal said Speer’s message was in response to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.

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Cummings reportedly asked the Pentagon if Flynn received approval for the event, which occurred in December 2015 during a period of rising tension between the White House and the Kremlin.

Several top Democrats in Congress sent the Department of Defense a letter Feb. 1 asking it to investigate whether Flynn violated the Constitution when he accepted money for the gala.

Flynn accepted an invitation to Moscow in late 2015 to give a paid, sit-down interview with Russian state-funded media outlet RT. RT was conducting a gala for its 10-year anniversary, the Journal said, and Flynn ultimately sat beside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Flynn told The Washington Post in August he attended the gala on behalf of his speaking-engagement agency, Leading Authorities Inc.

“It was in Russia,” the retired Army lieutenant general said, declining to discuss his pay. "It was a paid speaking opportunity. I get paid so much. The speaker’s bureau got paid so much, based on our contract.”

Flynn resigned Monday amid reports he misled senior White House officials about phone conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December.

Reports emerged last week that, despite denials, Flynn and Kislyak discussed recent U.S. sanctions against Russia before President Trump entered office.

Flynn reportedly told FBI agents in January he did not mention the topic with Kislyak, contradicting information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies.