Democrats kept hammering former national security adviser Michael Flynn as a pre-eminent example of what they call the Trump administration’s questionable ethics.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called Thursday for the declassification of documents related to the activities of Flynn, a onetime head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a senior Trump campaign official.
The Maryland Democrat worked with Pentagon officials to release redacted versions of three documents on Thursday that showed Flynn was notified when he retired from the military in 2014 of his responsibilities to get approval to receive payments from foreign sources.
“We have no evidence, not a shred, that he disclosed his payments,” Cummings said of funds Flynn obtained from the Russian government-run media outlet RT.
Cummings was speaking at a news conference with Senate and House Democrats to highlight areas where President Donald Trump has failed to drain the metaphorical swamp.
He also said the Pentagon inspector general has informed the Oversight panel that Flynn is now being investigated over the payments from Russia and whether or not there was appropriate reporting and approval.
Cummings refuted the White House’s contention that documents about Flynn requested by the panel for events since the start of the Trump administration were not relevant.
“These guys are playing games, and when you see Mr. Spicer, you can tell him I said that today,” Cummings said, referring to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. “All of these documents are relevant because they go to what his relationship was with Russians, what his relationships were with Turkey.”
Cummings said he wants to review Flynn’s SF-86 to see whether he was properly vetted, as well as what he told the Trump administration about his foreign ties.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse referred to Trump as the “Swamp Thing,” making a direct reference to the monster truck.
“That’s Trump. He is the Swamp Thing. After all those phony promises about draining the swamp,” the Rhode Island Democrat said.
The Democrats’ press conference comes two days after Cummings and Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz appeared at a rare bipartisan media appearance to state that the classified documents show Flynn did not ask for permission to receive the payments for a trip to Russia.
Flynn resigned in February after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Michael Pence and other White House officials about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Further questions were raised in March, when Flynn belatedly registered with the U.S. government as a foreign agent for work he did on behalf of the Turkish government during the 2016 campaign.