- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2017

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s onetime top national security aide who has emerged as a central figure in the Russian election meddling probe, is now facing such enormous legal bills that his family has established a defense fund for him as inquiries into his actions continue to mount.

“The various investigations arising out of the 2016 presidential election have placed a tremendous financial burden on our brother Mike and his family,” Mr. Flynn’s brother Joe Flynn and sister Barbara Redgate wrote in a statement announcing the Michael T. Flynn Legal Defense Fund.

After serving as a top security adviser to Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign, the former Army general in February was forced to resign his White House post after it was determined that he had misled top officials including Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of diplomatic conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

The retired general has been dogged by questions about his lack of disclosure of a Turkish lobbying operation and of foreign payments he accepted after leaving the military in 2014.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is scrutinizing his foreign interactions as part of his probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and any possible coordination with Trump associates. Earlier this year, that investigation incorporated an ongoing federal probe into Mr. Flynn’s lobbying for a Turkish businessman during the final months of the Trump presidential campaign.

Last week reports surfaced that during his most recent security clearance process the retired general reportedly failed to disclosed trips he took to the Middle East in 2015 to support a plan to build nuclear power plants across the region. He then allegedly promoted the project secretly while working at the White House.

After not being seen or heard from publicly in almost eight months, on Monday morning Mr. Flynn tweeted from his personal account to thank his family for establish the legal defense fund.

“Lori [Mr. Flynn’s wife] and I are very grateful to my brother Joe and sister Barbara for creating a fund to help pay my legal defense costs,” he tweeted. “We deeply appreciate the support of family and friends across this nation who have touched our lives.”

A source close to Mr. Flynn told ABC News the fund will not accept contributions from foreign nationals, anonymous sources, the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization.

“Mike devoted 33 years of his life to our country serving in the United States Army, spending years away from his family while he fought this nation’s battles overseas, including the war on terror,” his brother and sister said as part of their plea for financial support.

New White House communications office director Hope Hicks recently became the latest campaign or White House figure to hire a persona lawyer, as investigations from Mr. Mueller and a string of congressional panels continue to gain speed.

The Daily Beast website recently reported that there have already been discussions about organizing a legal defense fund for White House staffers caught up in Mr. Mueller’s probe, which President Trump has repeatedly denounced as a “witch hunt.” Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, former press secretary Sean Spicer, White House counsel Don McGahn, McGahn aide James Burnham, and Kushner aide and White House spokesman Josh Raffel are among those expected to be questioned, the Daily Beast reported.

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