House Dems question Flynn disclosures of Middle East travel

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have violated the law by failing to make required disclosure of contacts with Saudi government officials and a trip to the Middle East on his January 2016 application for a renewed security clearance, two congressional Democrats said Monday.

He did report a later trip to Saudi Arabia on his security form, but left out important details, says the joint letter from Representatives Elijah E. Cummings and Eliot L. Engel, chairmen of the House Government Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, respectively.

Flynn’s work for foreign interests has taken centre stage in a broad federal investigation into the ties between President Donald Trump’s associates and Russian Federation and other countries during and after the 2016 election.

The two Democrats also said in their letter Monday that Flynn told US government investigators only that a “work sponsor” had paid for him to attend a conference during the October 2015 trip.

Flynn’s attorney told ABC News he would not comment on the new allegations.

In addition, in June 2015 – four months before the October trip – Flynn had also testified before Congress that he had recently returned from a “fairly extensive trip to the Middle East”, but he didn’t disclose the trip on his security-clearance application, the Democrats said.

They cited a recent Newsweek report that Flynn flew to Israel and Egypt that summer as part of an effort promoting a U.S. In accordance with his June 2015 testimony, they noted, Flynn reported that “neither he nor his organization had received any payments from a foreign government related to the subject of the hearing or his representational capacity at the hearing”.

The two Democrats wrote that they’re looking into “what influence General Flynn’s business interests with Saudi Arabia, Russia, or other countries may have had after he assumed his post in the White House”.

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”. They also could not find any evidence of a conference that Flynn would have attended during the time frame, noting that three speakers’ bureaus affiliated with Flynn did not report being involved with the trip or a conference in Saudi Arabia.

Their letter requests “all documents and communications referring or relating to any relationship” between X-Co Dynamics Inc./IronBridge Group or ACU Strategic Partners and either Flynn or his business, the Flynn Intel Group.

X-Co Dynamics is a Virginia-based consulting firm headed by former U.S. Rear Admiral Michael Hewitt, whose board of retired military advisers included former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander and former Marine Corps General James “Hoss” Cartwright, who was prosecuted past year for lying to the FBI in a leak investigation.

Newsweek reported this month that Flynn, as an adviser at the time to defense consulting firms X-Co Dynamics and the Iron Bridge Group, promoted a potential bid by USA and Russian firms to advance nuclear energy in the Arab world, financed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Designers of the venture, Newsweek reported, sought to not only jumpstart the sputtering USA nuclear industry but also drive a wedge between Russian Federation and Iran, two powerful impediments to US interests in the Middle East. Flynn, Hewitt and Copson did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

Newsweek reported that the proposed deal was scuttled by the Obama administration. -Russian business venture to develop nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.