Mueller Investigation Expands Focus to Probe Flynn's Finances
The special counsel is examining whether former national security advisor Michael Flynn concealed payments from the Turkish government
Financial entanglements of former national security advisor became the focus of the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election on Friday night.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly questioning witnesses about whether Flynn's company, Flynn Intel Group, received secret payments from the Turkish government late in 2016. The alleged payments were reportedly made in exchange for a campaign discrediting a cleric accused of orchestrating the military coup that threatened to overtake Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.
Investigators also want to determine whether Flynn paid a Turkish businessman to help conceal the source of the payments, which amounted to $530,000.
Such payments and the attempt to hide the source of the money could lead to criminal charges for Flynn, including fraud. His potential failure to register as a foreign agent could also carry a felony charge.
Mueller’s focus on the payments marks the first time his investigation has asked the White House to submit documents for its review. It’s also an indication that despite President Donald Trump’s repeated statements warning Mueller not to investigate his finances or those of his family and associates, the investigation is including a close examination of financial dealings.
Reports of the close examination of Flynn's finances came a day after it was announced that Mueller is assembling a grand jury to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
The investigation also includes questions about whether Trump's actions amounted to obstruction of justice when he allegedly asked former FBI director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn at the beginning of his term.