Michael Flynn and his relationship with Russia: a timeline of events
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Michael Flynn's role in Russian meddling of the 2016 presidential election has been at the center of conversation over the last couple of months. Here is a timeline of what has occurred.
2012: Flynn was nominated by President Barack Obama as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
2014: Flynn was “forced out,” according to The Washington Post. Flynn didn’t get along with the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. Clapper informed Flynn at the time that the administration was ready to change directions.
2015: Flynn developed a relationship with Russia’s state television network. He attended and spoke at a gala about world affairs and was paid $45,000 for his duties. He would subsequently make appearances on the network, according to Politico.
February 2016: Flynn was named to the Donald Trump campaign as a security adviser. Trump almost considered Flynn as his pick for vice president.
July 2016: Flynn speaks at the Republican National Convention and declared, “if I did a 10th of what [Hillary Clinton] did, I’d be in jail today.” He also led the crowd in cheering “Lock her up!”
November 2016: President Trump beats Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential election.
December 2016: Flynn is in frequent contact with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. After the Obama administration instilled sanctions against Russia for meddling in elections, Flynn spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the same day.
January 2017: It was revealed that counterintelligence officials were investigating communications between Flynn and Russian officials. It was also revealed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into the possibility of collusion between Trump officials and Russia. Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the White House she believed Gen. Flynn could be blackmailed by the Russian government.
February 2017: The New York Times reported the Army was investigating if Flynn “received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015.” Flynn also misled Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn denied he had conversations with Russia's ambassador and Pence repeated the claim during national television interviews. After the transgression, Flynn resigned from the Trump administration as a national security adviser.
March 2017: Gen. Flynn offers to testify and be interviewed about possible connections between the Russian government and Trump's campaign in exchange for immunity. The Senate declined Flynn's immunity request.
April 2017: The Pentagon’s inspector general opened an investigation into whether Gen. Flynn accepted money from foreign governments without permission. Flynn also revealed in papers he filed that he was paid $500,000 by a client to represent the interests of the Turkish government while on the campaign trail.
May 8, 2017: Yates and Clapper testified in a congressional hearing about Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and how Gen. Flynn was involved. Yates was quoted as saying: "We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was making false statements to the public and because we believed that Gen. Flynn was possibly compromised."
May 10, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Gen. Flynn for documents related to the Russian election meddling investigation. The subpoena was issued after Flynn failed to turn in documents voluntarily on April 28.
May 16, 2017: President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end his investigation into Gen. Flynn. President Trump reportedly told Comey, "I hope you can let this go." The conversation is cited in a memo written by Comey himself. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, says he is ready to subpoena the memo.
May 18, 2017: During a press conference, President Trump told Sinclair Broadcast Group National Correspondent Scott Thuman that he did not ask Comey to end the Flynn investigation.
May 19, 2017: CNN reported that Russian officials believed they could use Gen. Flynn to influence President Trump and his advisers. U.S. intelligence officials decided to keep the information they would tell Gen. Flynn to a minimum. It is also reported by The New York Times that President Trump called Comey a "nut job." Trump said, according to the Times, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
May 22, 2017: Gen. Flynn decided not to turn in the documents the Senate subpoenaed him for by invoking the Fifth Amendment, specifically his constitutional right to not incriminate himself. Flynn said in a letter that there is "escalating public frenzy against him." It is also reported that Flynn lied to federal investigators about the source of payments he received from Russia's television station.
May 23, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee decides to subpoena two of Gen. Flynn's businesses for documents that could relate to the Russian meddling investigation. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Sinclair Broadcast Group that he doesn't believe Gen. Flynn has the right to use the Fifth Amendment. "I don't think Gen. Flynn can invoke the Fifth Amendment for business records, which is what the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed. We're not asking him for his personal notes; we're asking him for the business records of the company that he had."