The White House said Thursday that President Trump didn’t know his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was working as a foreign agent for Turkey during the campaign last year.
“I don’t believe that was known,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
But Mr. Spicer said Mr. Flynn, who was fired by the president last month for misleading top administration officials about his conversations with a Russian diplomat before the inauguration, had done nothing wrong in his lobbying work.
“This is what he did for a living. He was being compensated,” Mr. Spicer said. “He was a private citizen at the time. There’s nothing nefarious about doing anything that’s legal as long as the proper paperwork is filed.”
Mr. Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department on Tuesday for lobbying work he did for the Turkish government during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign. He claimed $530,000 worth of work from August through November 2016 that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”
Private U.S. citizens who lobby for a foreign government must disclose their work to the Justice Department.
On his Twitter account, Mr. Trump said Thursday, “Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!”