Armenian Assembly Reiterates Call for Public Congressional Hearings on Turkey’s Surreptitious Influence on America’s Democratic Institutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty for making “materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to federal officials, reports the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted Flynn for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) about conversations with the Russian Ambassador during the presidential transition, as well as false statements about his involvement with the Republic of Turkey.
The Statement of the Offense in the United States of America v. Michael T. Flynn identifies Turkey under the category “Other False Statements Regarding Flynn’s Contacts with Foreign Governments.” The statement notes multiple documents pertaining to a project performed by him and his company, the Flynn Intel Group, Inc., “for the principal benefit of the Republic of Turkey (‘Turkey Project’).” According to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Flynn made “materially false statements and omissions” regarding his lobbying activities on behalf of the Republic of Turkey and the Erdogan government.
“The newest revelations about Flynn are just the tip of the iceberg. While prosecutors have uncovered some vital information, there is much more yet to come to light, especially regarding Turkey’s continued use of illegal funds to influence national security at the highest levels. This practice has been ongoing and needs to be halted,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian said. “As we have previously urged, there needs to be thorough public Congressional hearings to fully expose Turkey’s attempts to influence the United States Government, which is a direct attack on our democratic values,” they added.
Reports indicated that Flynn would be paid $15 million to secretly carry out Turkey’s bidding. Flynn was already paid $530,000 last year for work the Justice Department says benefited the government of Turkey, and did not register as a foreign agent at the time.
On October 18, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), alongside 17 Members of Congress, sent a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) requesting a subpoena on the White House to produce all documents related to Flynn’s “egregious conflicts of interest” in business dealings with foreign governments, which includes his unreported lobbying contract as a foreign agent on behalf of the Turkish government in 2016.
The letter stated: “We believe this paper trail must be pursued to answer the gravest question of all: Did Gen. Flynn seek to change the course of our country’s national security to benefit the same private interests he previously promoted, whether by advising President Trump, interacting with foreign officials, or influencing other members of the Trump administration?”
The Assembly has repeatedly highlighted Turkey’s attempts to gain surreptitious influence over U.S. officials to the detriment of U.S. national security, and has called for investigations therein. The Assembly has also urged Representatives who joined the Turkish and Azeri Caucuses to withdraw their membership. Some already have.
“Members ought not to associate themselves with such corrupt and authoritarian regimes. Given Turkey’s treatment of Christians, dangerously rogue behavior, denial of the Armenian Genocide and support for Azerbaijan’s ISIS-style beheadings and other attacks, it is well past time for Members of Congress to withdraw their membership from the Turkish and Azeri Congressional Caucuses,” reiterated the Assembly Co-Chairs.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.