Facing ‘enormous’ legal bills, Michael Flynn establishes legal defense fund

Relatives of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, one of the key subjects of multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, made a rare public statement Monday to call attention to the “tremendous financial burden” the probes are placing on former advisers to President Donald Trump.

“The enormous expense of attorneys’ fees and other related expenses far exceed their ability to pay,” said Joe Flynn and Barbara Redgate, the retired general’s brother and sister.

The relatives made the statement to bring attention to a legal defense fund they have formed to help raise money for the man who briefly served as the nation’s top national security official under President Trump. Flynn joined the Trump campaign as an adviser in 2016, and President Trump later named him as his first national security adviser. He was forced to resign, however, after just 24 days on the job, when it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversation with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

Flynn, a decorated military officer who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 until his retirement in 2014, was only out of the spotlight briefly. He emerged as an early target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the campaign. Congress also began pursuing information from Flynn, but the retired general has so far provided only limited information to the House and Senate committee’s charged with investigating election interference.

Rep. Elijah Cummings told ABC News last week that his committee was looking deeply into Flynn’s foreign contacts in 2015 and 2016 that they said he failed to disclosed during reviews of his security clearance. Those communications — which involved high ranking foreign officials and business executives — were so numerous they could not have been inadvertent omissions or incidental contacts, Cummings said.

“He has, over and over again, omitted information that he should have disclosed,” Cummings said. “It’s not an aberration, and that’s clear.

The omissions are a serious matter. While Cummings said intentionally omitting foreign contacts when applying for security clearance can carry a five-year prison term, he also acknowledged that penalties are rarely so severe. The leverage alleged transgressions provide, however, could prove useful to prosecutors seeking to use the threat of prosecution to compel…

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