Michael Flynn’s lawyers cite ‘misunderstanding,’ say he is not joining a new lobbying firm

Michael Flynn had to resign from the White House in February 2017.

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Michael Flynn had to resign from the White House in February 2017.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

  • President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is not joining a new lobbying firm after all, according to his lawyers, who released a statement on the matter Tuesday evening.
  • The lobbying firm, Stonington Global LLC, announced earlier Tuesday that Flynn, who pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, and was also under a separate FBI investigation for his lobbying work for the Turkish government, would join the new firm.
  • Flynn’s attorneys blamed the mix-up on a “misunderstanding.”

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Michael Flynn’s attorneys say the former national security adviser will not be joining a new lobbying firm, as was reported earlier Tuesday.

Citing a “misunderstanding,” Flynns lawyers told The Wall Street Journal a statement the lobbying firm, Stonington Global LLC released on Tuesday was premature.

“General Flynn has not joined Stonington and did not personally issue any public statement,” Flynn lawyers, Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony said Tuesday night, according to The Journal.

Kelner and Anthony continued: “He was aware a statement was being drafted, but did not intend that it be issued at this time.”

Flynn is awaiting sentencing in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Mueller is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether members of President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. Flynn pleaded guilty in December to one count of lying to federal investigators about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador during the transition period.

Earlier, The Journal reported that both Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., would join Stonington Global LLC, saying they would work with two other lobbyists: Nick Muzin and Joey Allaham, both of whom previously worked together on an influence campaign in Qatar.

They stopped their work for Qatar last month after helping the royal family connect with Jewish leaders in the US and Trump associates, the report said. Stonington will work with both domestic and foreign clients.

The two men told The Journal they did not know Flynn but that Allaham approached him because “his experience speaks for itself.”

Flynn said in a separate statement that he will “work every day to put my 33 years of experience in the military and serving Presidents of both parties in the White House to good use in helping companies and governments enhance the goals of freedom and liberty.”

The report came after Flynn appeared in federal court this morning as his attorneys and federal prosecutors gave US District Judge Emmet Sullivan an update on where they stand on his sentencing. Sullivan did not set a sentencing date. He will get another update from lawyers representing the two parties on August 24.

What Flynn is under investigation for

Flynn was one of Trump's earliest supporters.

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Flynn was one of Trump’s earliest supporters.
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George Frey/Getty Images

In addition to drawing scrutiny over his Russia ties, Flynn was also under a separate FBI investigation for privately working as a paid lobbyist for the Turkish government during the election.

Flynn reportedly informed the Trump transition team that he was being investigated before being brought on board as national security adviser.

Flynn received $530,000 in 2016 from the businessman Ekim Alptekin, who is a member of a Turkish economic-relations board run by an appointee of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Alptekin is also the head of Inovo, a consulting firm.

Flynn’s now-defunct lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, was tasked with fomenting dissent inside Turkey. It also lobbied the US government to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania who Erdogan believes is responsible for planning 2016’s attempted coup.

Flynn Intel Group was required, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, to register as a foreign agent as soon as it secured the contract with Inovo, but it did not do so until months later. It acknowledged in a filing that its work could have “principally benefited” Turkey.

Flynn was forced to resign from the Trump administration in February 2017 when it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the US, during the transition period. Three weeks earlier, Sally Yates, then the acting attorney general, warned the White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail over his conversations with Kislyak.

During the transition period, Trump also ignored former President Barack Obama’s advice to steer clear of Flynn. Obama had fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.