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Trump Administration Hides Michael Flynn Security Clearance Application

Trump Administration Hides Michael Flynn Security Clearance Application

Was Michael Flynn properly vetted for the position of National Security Advisor? As we near the 100-day mark for this administration, that answer remains a mystery.

Due in part to the House Oversight Committee's slow-moving investigation into the potential collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin, we learned a new wrinkle - Flynn may have violated federal law when applying to renew his top security clearance. The likeliest reason Flynn sought an immunity deal (in exchange for testimony into Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin) was to avoid criminal prosecution for neglecting to fully disclose his own Russian ties during the security clearance application process.

The House Oversight Committee realized that by reviewing Flynn’s security clearance application materials, they could determine whether he was truthful during the vetting process. There’s one problem with this easily answerable question... the White House is refusing to submit the necessary paperwork to make this determination.

Flynn testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in 2014. Credit: Reuters photo: Gary Cameron

Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) stated, “I see no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law.” Chaffetz went on to explain that Flynn, “was supposed to seek permission from both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Army prior to traveling to Russia to engage in this activity and accept payment for that activity. I see no evidence that he actually did that.” Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) agreed, “He was supposed to get permission and he was supposed to report it and he didn’t, period.”

When asked whether Flynn was truthful and disclosed his Russia dealings on his security clearance application, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer alleged, ‘[the White House] has no documents.’ This is absurd even for the Trump administration.

Note, the Trump administration is not only refusing to provide documentation related to Flynn's application for security clearance - Trump is also refusing to release any and all documents related to Flynn's connection to the campaign, and documents related to time he served the country as National Security Advisor. 

Regardless of the profession, no matter if the job falls under the purview of the public or private sector, documentation follows hiring and termination decisions. It would be criminal negligence to destroy those materials or to fail to document the process. Documenting this sort of information is an inevitable reality of conducting business.

As the business of hiring relates to Flynn, prior to serving as National Security Advisor, he was responsible for requesting a renewal of his top security clearance that he lost after being fired by the Obama administration for poor performance. In doing so, Flynn was required to disclose all information related to foreign dealings.

Flynn possibly failed to disclose that he not only traveled to Russia but that he was paid tens of thousands of dollars to attend an event in Russia as the guest of Russian president Vladimir Putin. As a former officer in the U.S. military, Flynn was obligated to first obtain permission from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Army. 

If this is accurate – which all signs appear to indicate it is – then Sean Spicer lied to the American public at the behest of his boss Donald Trump. When representatives of the White House abuse their positions and tell blatant falsehoods to the public, a breakdown in the system exists. If the White House is willing to risk its reputation by lying about the mere existence of mundane documents, then there’s no telling how low the White House is willing to stoop to conceal the truth. What are they hiding? If nothing, they should release any and all documents related to Michael Flynn.

This refusal to disclose documents to the House Oversight Committee establishes a dangerous precedent of presidential abuse of power. Remember the line, “No one is above the law, even the president”? It should apply for Trump and his administration as well.

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