Michael Flynn failed to disclose an important meeting with a Russian government agency, leading congressional Democrats have claimed in a letter that heaps further pressure on Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser over his alleged links to Moscow.
Mr Flynn reportedly flew to Israel and Egypt in the summer of 2015 to help finalise a $100bn business deal between the nuclear power agencies of Saudi Arabia and Russia.
According to Democrats, he failed to disclose the meeting when he returned to the US and reapplied for security clearance. Under US law, it is illegal to knowingly lie about or fail to declare information that might be relevant to obtaining security clearance – for example, contact with representatives of foreign states.
Elijah Cummings, the leading Democrat on the House of Representatives oversight committee, and Eliot Engel, his counterpart on the foreign affairs committee, have passed their evidence to Robert Mueller, the special counsel responsible for investigating alleged links between Trump’s team and the Russian state.
They have also asked Mr Flynn’s former business partners to provide further information about his overseas trips and contacts, according to CNN. His lawyer declined to comment.
Mr Flynn, a retired army general, was forced to resign as Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser after it emerged that he had misled senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about the nature of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US.
In their letter to Mr Flynn’s business partners, Mr Cummings and Mr Engel wrote: "It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process.”
Mr Flynn is said to have flown to the Middle East to help negotiate a deal that would see US consulting companies, the Saudi government and Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear energy agency, build 16 new nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia.
The energy would then be sold to eight other Arab states, including Jordan and Egypt. Under the agreement, those countries would also agree to purchase military hardware from Russia.
Mr Flynn updated his official financial disclosure form in March – after he had resigned from the Trump administration and several weeks after he had first submitted the form.
In the initial version he failed to disclose that he had received thousands of dollars from three Russian companies, including RT, the Kremlin-backed television network.