House Dems question Flynn disclosures of Middle East travel

White House to answer question about existence of tapes 'probably' this week, Spicer says

White House to answer question about existence of tapes 'probably' this week, Spicer says

House Democrats are asking for new documents on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has become a central figure in the congressional Russian Federation investigation, related to any connection he has with Saudi Arabia and his apparent "failure to accurately report ... foreign travel and contacts".

The letter from Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, and Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee, is the latest to call attention to potential problems with what Flynn reported to the USA government about his foreign travel, contacts and business after he left the Defense Intelligence Agency in August 2014.

Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, of Covington & Burling, declined to comment.The letter says Flynn testified about a Saudi Arabia trip to the House Foreign Relations Committee, but failed to report any foreign business interests in the matter.

The letter questions why he failed to mention one trip, and underreported a second, on a January 2016 application for the renewal of his federal security clearance. He further said he was "working on developing business with another country". Engel is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The letter points to a Newsweek report from earlier this month, which said that Flynn made the trip to Cairo and Jerusalem on behalf of the firm he advised, X-Co Dynamics Inc./IronBridge Group, to "gauge attitudes" toward the Saudi-financed US-Russian project that would provide nuclear power in the Middle East.

"It does not appear that General Flynn disclosed this trip or any foreign contacts as part of his security clearance renewal process", Engel and Cummings wrote in their letter. According to a Bloomberg business profile, "ACU Strategy Partners LLC operates as a holding company for development of nuclear energy".

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Flynn was sacked only 24 days into the Trump presidency after he was accused of misleading Vice President Mike Pence about Flynn's communication with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the transition.

While Flynn disclosed an October 2015 trip to Saudi Arabia, Cummings and Engel said Flynn omitted key details and said they could not identify any conference he may have attended or find the hotel he reported staying at during the trip.The two lawmakers said they were most troubled by the lack of any Flynn record identifying "even a single foreign government official he had contact with in the seven years prior to submitting his security clearance application".

Flynn was forced to resign February 13, just more than three weeks into the job, for failure to disclose his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence.

Flynn was a private businessman between August 2014, when he was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and January 2017, when Trump appointed him national security adviser.

Flynn reported that he went on the six-day trip with a friend, who was also American, to speak at a conference, stayed at a hotel called the King Khaled International Hotel and had the trip paid for by a "work sponsor". Flynn's financial disclosure did not show any financial payment from X-Co Dynamics for his involvement. Spokespeople for House oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy and House foreign affairs Chairman Ed Royce were not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon. Flynn was also involved in talks "with [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] el-Sissi's government", Cochran said. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Eliot Engel (D-Bronx).

Three speakers' bureaus that worked with Flynn said they had not been involved in the trip, the two Democrats said.

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