May 19, 2017
Just weeks before he was fired as President Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn reportedly opposed a Pentagon plan that the Turkish government didn’t like—while accepting payments of more than $500,000 to represent the interests of that same government. Shortly before Trump took office, Susan Rice, then-President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, had consulted Flynn and members of Trump’s team about a plan to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State terror group with the help of Syrian Kurdish forces. The plan would have been executed when Trump was in office, so Obama’s team wanted Flynn’s approval. Flynn’s decision was to hold off, McClatchy News reported, citing timelines of meetings distributed by Congress. He provided no explanation for his decision, which happened to conform to the wishes of the Turkish government, which, it was later learned, was benefiting from his lobbying work. Lawmakers are now questioning whether Flynn made that decision at the behest of a foreign government, with some going so far as to ask whether it constitutes treason, McClatchy reported. While Trump eventually approved the military plan, Flynn’s decision 10 days before Trump took office delayed the operation by several months. Long after he was fired amid scrutiny over his contact with Russian officials, Flynn continues to be a headache to the Trump administration, with new questions arising Wednesday after a report said Trump’s team was aware Flynn was under federal investigation for his Turkish lobbying long before the president’s inauguration.