Federal investigators are examining whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn was secretly paid by the Turkish government to lobby against a critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a report from The New York Times.
Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House for documents related to Flynn and questioned witnesses about whether he was paid by the Turkish government, according to the Times report. The document request was not a formal subpoena, the newspaper reported.
CNN reported Thursday that Mueller’s investigators have focused on Flynn’s lobbying work for the Turkish government.
Flynn’s lawyers declined to comment to CNN Friday night. Flynn did not comment to the Times.
Ty Cobb, the White House special counsel, told CNN: “The White House will not be discussing any specific communications with the Special Counsel out of respect for the Special Counsel and his process. Beyond that, as I have stressed repeatedly, we continue to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel.”
Cobb made a similar statement to the Times.
“We’ve said before we’re collaborating with the special counsel on an ongoing basis,” he told the newspaper.
“It’s full cooperation mode as far as we are concerned,” he said, according to the report.
Flynn’s former lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group, was paid $530,000 to represent Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman, during the final months of the US presidential campaign, according to foreign agent registration paperwork filed with the Justice Department. But the contract ended in mid-Novermber 2016, around the time that Flynn was announced as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser. Flynn was forced to resign in February after it was reported that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his phone calls with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
Since then, Flynn has become a target of both federal and congressional investigators. Leaders of the House Oversight Committee revealed last spring that Flynn may have broken the law when he failed to disclose payments from RT-TV, a Russian station, and the Turkish businessman in his application for a security clearance.
Athena Jones contributed to this report.
Clarification: This story was updated to reflect that The New York Times reported Mueller’s investigators asked the White House for documents related to Flynn and that CNN previously reported the investigators have focused on Flynn’s lobbying work for the Turkish government.