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Here's All the News About Michael Flynn You Missed Last Night

Things are heating up for the disgraced former national security adviser.

by Drew Schwartz
May 18 2017, 4:42pm

Photos via Wikimedia Commons

As bombshell stories seem to drop daily about Trump's administration, one key figure keeps popping up in the headlines: Michael Flynn. The president's former national security adviser was canned after just 24 days on the job for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he'd had with the Russian ambassador, and has since come under fire for failing to disclose he took more than $500,000 from a company linked to the Turkish government* in his capacity as a lobbyist.

But new reports this week have raised even more red flags about Flynn's activities before and after he was brought into the White House, as well as how much Trump knew about those activities. For starters, Trump's team apparently knew that Flynn was under federal investigation for his connection to Turkey, according to the New York Times.

Even more damning was a Miami Herald report that during the transition Flynn made the decision to put off an assault on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa by Kurdish forces—a move that the Turkish government opposes because it's wary of the US-Kurd partnership. (Trump later approved the attack on Raqqa, though not until Flynn left office.)

Flynn has also been wrapped up in stories about communications with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Anonymous US officials told Reuters Thursday that the FBI is now reviewing 18 previously undisclosed calls and messages between members of Trump's campaign and Russian officials and surrogates. A number of those were between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak—and their frequency ramped up after Trump won the presidency.

According to Reuters, Flynn and Kislyak even planned to set up a backchannel through which Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin could communicate.

On top of everything, Trump and Flynn are apparently still communicating, or at least they were even after Flynn was forced to resign. That connection is at the center of Trump's most pressing scandal—the president reportedly asked former FBI director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn before firing him. Why Trump was so loyal to his former adviser remains an open question.

An earlier version of this piece misstated the nature of the company that paid Flynn's lobbying firm. It was a Dutch company whose owner has ties to the Turkish government, not a Turkish company.

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