In March, we learned that Mike Flynn worked as a paid lobbyist for Turkey while advising then-candidate Trump during the campaign. After Trump won in November, and Flynn promptly shut down his lobbying firm, Flynn’s lawyers disclosed to Trump’s transition team, on two separate occasions, that Lt. Gen. Flynn—who was in line to be Trump’s national security adviser—had worked for the Turks. The Trump team apparently didn’t care. On Wednesday, we learned that the incoming White House was even more indifferent to Flynn’s shady past and shadowy present, as the New York Times reports, Trump officials also knew Flynn was under federal investigation for his work with Turkey—but appointed him national security adviser anyway.
From the Times:
Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case. Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.
The DOJ investigation, it’s important to note, is distinct from the FBI investigation into Flynn’s Russia links, which stemmed from his December phone call with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. shortly after President Obama imposed new sanctions on Moscow for election meddling. Multiple people in the Obama administration, including the president himself, warned the Trump team about Flynn and his vulnerability to Russian blackmail. In response, President Trump decided to give him one of the most sensitive jobs in the U.S. government.