Gene. Flynn to Fight Back Against Pentagon Penalty for Russia Trip

Lt. Gene. Michael Flynn, former head of military intelligence and national security adviser, will file a motion against a penalty imposed on him by the Pentagon for allegedly violating the Emolument Clause by giving a paid speech in Russia in 2015.

“I’m fighting back against that,” Flynn told EpochTV’s “Facts Matter” host Roman Balmakov during a recent interview.

The Department of Defense decided to charge Flynn’s retirement account for nearly $40,000 he was paid in cash and in-kind services for attending and giving an on-stage interview at a 2015 anniversary event of the Russian state-sponsored RT television.

Flynn previously said his attendance was arranged by his speakers bureau. The Pentagon acknowledged that Flynn informed the department of his attendance, was briefed before, and debriefed after.

“I went and did a classified briefing prior. I did a classified briefing after, which means, you go get a counterintelligence assessment,” he told Balmakov, explaining that people from the relevant government agencies would convey what kind of information they’re looking for from the people he might talk to during the trip.

“Then you try to get the answers for those people. And you come back and you give those answers back,” he said. “That’s normal, you know. Diplomats, retired government officials, like me, would do stuff like that routinely.”

Now, the Pentagon says Flynn violated the Constitution’s Emolument Clause, which prohibits military members from receiving anything of value from foreign governments without authorization.

Flynn said he’s planning to file a motion against the penalty.

“We’ve got to do things by letter, right? And it comes at a legal cost. I mean, this is what they do. They tried to wear us out—all of us. They’re going to try to wear the American people out,” he said.

The RT event was visited by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who briefly next to Flynn at a table before giving his speech and leaving, several other previously told The Epoch Times.

Flynn’s attendance was later used by the FBI to open a counterintelligence case against him as part of the Crossfire Hurricane probe of alleged collusion between Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump. The probe failed to establish any such collusion. The FBI used false information paid for by the campaign of Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to get spying warrants on Trump campaign aid Carter Page. At least two of the warrants were invalid and in illegal surveillance, the bureau acknowledged.

The Flynn case was riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies. FBI agents had already decided to close his case by early January 2017, but higher-ups intervened to keep it open on the justification that Flynn may have violated the Logan Act by discussing with foreign diplomats the priorities of the incoming administration during the transition period. DOJ officials at the time rejected the legal theory. The 1799 Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized diplomacy, has never been successfully prosecuted. The government had only used it twice, more than a century ago.

Flynn was charged in 2017 with lying to the FBI during a January 2017 interview. He pleaded guilty later that year, but then withdrew his plea. The DOJ dropped the charge in 2020, after Attorney General William Barr ordered an outside prosecutor to review the case. The prosecutor concluded that it seemed the FBI’s purpose for interviewing Flynn was to try to catch him in a lie, which isn’t a legitimate investigative purpose.

Then, in an unusual move, the judge trying the case refused to grant the dismissal, only dropping the case after Trump pardoned Flynn.

Flynn is now suing the FBI and the Department of Justice for their alleged efforts to oust him as Trump’s national security adviser.

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Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.

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