The White House claims it didn't know about it when he was hired as national security adviser—and Mike Pence says it backs up President Trump's decision to fire him. Mike Flynn filed paperwork this week stating that he was a foreign agent lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government and despite the White House denial, sources tell the New York Times and the AP, among other outlets, that Flynn's lawyers told the Trump team before the inauguration about the work he did on behalf of Inovo, company owned by a Turkish businessman. Flynn's work "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey," the filing on behalf of Flynn and his company, Flynn Intel Group, states.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer admitted Friday that Flynn's lawyer had contacted a transition lawyer wondering whether he should register as a foreign agent, but it was considered a private decision, NBC reports. "That wasn't the role for the transition," Spicer said. "This was a personal matter, it's a business matter." Flynn's company received $530,000 under a contract that continued until the day after Election Day, meaning that Flynn was a paid foreign agent while he was sitting in on classified briefings as an adviser to Trump. The day before the election, Flynn wrote an op-ed in the Hill calling for the extradition to Turkey of "shady Islamic mullah" Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania resident Turkey blames for last year's coup attempt.