Devin Nunes attended a breakfast with Michael Flynn and Turkey’s foreign minister just before the inauguration

0


Devin Nunes
Rep.
Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee.

J. Scott
Applewhite/AP


Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee, attended a breakfast meeting in January
that Michael Flynn, then the incoming national security adviser,
and Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, also
attended.

The breakfast event, held on Wednesday, January 18, was closed to
the press, and it is still unclear what exactly was discussed.

The Washington correspondent for
the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, which tends to be
pro-government, reported at the time that an aide to Cavusoglu
said he “was the only foreign leader at the breakfast and the
topics on the US-Turkish agenda were discussed by the attendees.”

The invitation, obtained by the newspaper, said the breakfast
would “be a small event for about 50-60 guests” and that the
incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, “might join
the meeting,” Daily Sabah reported.

Nunes’ spokesman, who did not return a request for comment on
Friday, issued a statement earlier this year downplaying the
importance of the breakfast.

“Chairman Nunes was a speaker at that event, but it was a large
breakfast event, not a small, private meeting as described in
that article,” the spokesman, Jack Langer, told the
fact-checking website Snopes.

He continued:

“Mr. Cavusoglu was one of about 40 attendees at the event, which
included 20-30 ambassadors to the U.S. and about 10 other foreign
dignitaries and officials. The attendees heard some remarks from
Flynn, Chairman Nunes, and other representatives on national
security issues — the discussion topic was not Turkey or any
other single country … if [Nunes did speak to Cavusoglu], it
would’ve been among all the other ambassadors and officials at
the event. There was no separate, private meeting.”

Nunes’ attendance at the event is newly relevant amid revelations
that the special counsel
Robert Mueller is investigating a meeting that another
congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, took with Flynn in September
2016. Flynn had begun lobbying on behalf of Turkish government
interests one month earlier.


FILE PHOTO - U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn boards Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S. on February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files
Michael
Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Thomson Reuters

That lobbying work continued into the presidential transition and
through December, according to a Wall Street Journal report
published Friday. Mueller is scrutinizing an alleged
plot involving Flynn to return an exiled Turkish cleric to
the country, the report said.

It is unclear whether Flynn was still being paid to lobby for
Turkish government interests when he attended the breakfast
meeting on January 18.

But on January 10, Flynn reportedly met with
the national security adviser at the time, Susan Rice, and asked
her to hold off on implementing an anti-ISIS plan that involved
arming the Syrian Kurds. The Turkish government vehemently
opposes any plan that would empower the Kurds, whom Ankara views
as a threat to Turkey’s sovereignty.

Nunes, meanwhile, has been at the center of a series of
controversies since the House Intelligence Committee began
investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

The California Republican stepped aside from the investigation in
early April after it emerged that he had briefed Trump and the
press on classified intelligence without first telling his fellow
committee members. But he quickly began conducting his own
investigations into “unmaskings” by
the Obama administration and the credibility of a
dossier, compiled by the former British spy Christopher
Steele, alleging ties between Trump’s campaign team and Russia.

In June, Nunes angered the Democrats when he demanded more
details from the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency about why
Obama administration officials requested the unmasking of Trump
associates last year. He also threatened in September to hold
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray in
contempt of Congress if they did not respond to a subpoena for
documents relating to the Steele
dossier.

Share.

Leave A Reply