Washington- US federal investigators are examining whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn was secretly paid by the Turkish government to lobby, according to a report from The New York Times published on Friday.
Investigators working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently asked the White House for documents related to Flynn, and questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the final months of the presidential campaign, according to people close to the investigation.
“Though not a formal subpoena, the document request is the first known instance of Mr. Mueller’s team asking the White House to hand over records,” said the Times, which cited unnamed people close to the investigation for the report.
The newspaper said the investigators had questioned witnesses about whether Flynn was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the campaign.
The White House and Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.
Ty Cobb, special counsel to Trump, said, “We’ve said before we’re collaborating with the special counsel on an ongoing basis.”
“It’s full cooperation mode as far as we are concerned,” he said.
After Flynn’s dismissal, US President Donald Trump tried to get James B. Comey, the FBI director, to drop the investigation, Comey said.
Taking money from Turkey or any foreign government is not illegal. But failing to register as a foreign agent is a felony, and trying to hide the source of the money by routing it through a private company or some other entity, and then paying kickbacks to the middleman, could lead to numerous criminal charges, including fraud.
Prosecutors have also asked during interviews about Flynn’s speaking engagements for Russian companies, for which he was paid more than $65,000 in 2015, and about his company’s clients — including work it may have done with the Japanese government.