Mike Pence Insists He Didn't Know Flynn Was Under Investigation For Turkey Lobbying

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Vice President Mike Pence waves his hand before delivering a speech during a meeting with Japanese and U.S. business leaders in Tokyo on April 19, 2017.(Photo: TORU YAMANAKA, AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence is standing by his claims that he did not know former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been secretly lobbying for the Turkish government until March, despite a new report claiming Flynn had actually disclosed to the Trump transition team back in January that he was under a federal investigation.

Pence's office, in a statement Thursday, said the vice president “stands by his comments in March upon first hearing the news regarding General Flynn's ties to Turkey and fully supports the president's decision to ask for General Flynn's resignation.”

However, on Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Flynn first told Trump’s transition team on Jan. 4 that team he was under federal investigation for not initially reporting he was a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. The Times said the disclosure was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel.

All this renewed questions about why Flynn was still hired for the national security adviser position — and whether Pence, who was head of the Trump transition team, knew about it.

Pence told Fox News in March that he was hearing about Flynn’s work for Turkey for the first time after news reports. “It's the first I heard of it, and I think it is an affirmation of the president's decision to ask General Flynn to resign,” Pence said.

Flynn was fired in February for misleading Pence about discussions with a Russian official. He didn't officially file the papers required for lobbyists of foreign governments until March.

Flynn was fired after misleading administration officials — including Pence — that sanctions placed on Russia by the Obama administration hadn't been discussed during a December phone call between Flynn and Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Eavesdropping by U.S. intelligence officials undercut Flynn's denial, which Pence had repeated on national TV.

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Now, the FBI is in the middle of an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump campaign associates, including Flynn, colluded with Russia in the country's attempts to interfere in the American presidential election.

On May 8, former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified to Congress that she had been so disturbed that Flynn misled Pence about his talks with Kislyak that she alerted the White House counsel he was vulnerable to blackmail and could even face criminal charges.

Yates recounted before a Senate panel the details of a Jan. 26 meeting in which she alerted McGahn, the White House counsel, that Flynn had lied.  "Compromise was the No. 1 concern,'' Yates said, referring to the possibility that Russian officials, aware that Flynn had misled his colleagues, could blackmail him by threatening to expose his lies and tank his career.  "It was a whole lot more than one White House official lying to another. It involved the vice president of the United States."

Meanwhile, the Pentagon Inspector General is investigating whether Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, accepted payments from a foreign government without seeking the required prior approval.

President Trump on Thursday denounced the Russia investigation as the biggest "witch hunt" in U.S. political history.

The Justice Department one day earlier appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be a special counsel, taking over the ongoing probe examining possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. The news came days after the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey and revelations he kept notes of his conversations with Trump — including one that indicated the president pressed Comey to drop the inquiry into Flynn.

The news is another setback for Republicans who haven’t made significant progress on major legislation despite controlling both the White House and both chambers of Congress.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked Thursday about lawmakers who have been wondering, after the latest bombshell revelations, whether, as the reporter put it, “We might be better with Vice President Pence.”

“I’m not even going to comment on that,” Ryan said.

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Gov. Mike Pence and Republican presidential candidate
Gov. Mike Pence and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump met at the governor's residence on April 20, 2016.  Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar 2016 file photo>FullscreenIndiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent E. Dickson,
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent E. Dickson, right, administers the oath of office to Gov. Mike Pence during the inauguration ceremony on the west steps of the Statehouse on Jan. 14, 2013. Charlie Nye / The Star.  Charlie Nye, Indianapolis Star>FullscreenCongressman Mike Pence, R-Ind.,  looks down as he speaks
Congressman Mike Pence, R-Ind., looks down as he speaks to the hundreds of people gathered on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 15, 2010, for the "Kill The Bill" rally opposing President Obama's plan for nationalized health care that could come up for a vote in the coming week. (Charlie Nye / The Star).   Charlie Nye>FullscreenIN-PENCE -- GOP Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence,
GOP Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., left, listens as Minority House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks about the newly elected House Republican leadership at a news conference in Washington on Nov. 19, 2008. (Gannett News Service, Heather Wines)  HEATHER WINES, GNS>FullscreenThe governor's office tweeted this photo of Gov. Mike
The governor's office tweeted this photo of Gov. Mike Pence signing Indiana's "religious freedom" bill.  via Twitter>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence spoke to reporters Monday, March 30,
Gov. Mike Pence spoke to reporters Monday, March 30, 2015, about the firestorm created by the “religious freedom” law.  Robert Scheer/The Star>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence signs the Indiana Religious Freedom
Gov. Mike Pence signs the amended Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act on March 26, 2015.  Provided by Micah Clark>FullscreenIndiana Gov. Mike Pence addresses the media about changes
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addresses the media about changes he wants made to the recently signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  Robert Scheer/The Star>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence, who earlier this month spoke at the
Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the Indiana Republican Convention in June 2016.  Doug McSchooler/for IndyStar>FullscreenAngie's List founder, Angie Hicks, was all smiles as
Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks, was all smiles as Gov. Mike Pence talked about her as an Indiana success story at an expansion announcement Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The Indianapolis-based company announced an expansion into the old Ford building on East Washington Street that would consolidate current employees and add 1,000 new jobs. The expansion did not happen.  Mike Fender / IndyStar>FullscreenRepublican governor-elect Mike Pence, middle, celebrates
Republican governor-elect Mike Pence, middle, celebrates the victory with his family at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Nov. 6, 2012. (Matt Dial / For The Star)  Matt Dial , Indianapolis Star>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence takes a selfie with supporters.
Gov. Mike Pence takes a selfie with supporters.  Danese Kenon/The Star>FullscreenSpeaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis (left)
Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis (left) applauds Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as they look out over the assembled state legislators following Pence's third State of the State address on Jan. 13, 2015.  Charlie Nye/The Star>FullscreenMike Pence, Indiana Governor, addresses media members
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addresses media members about changes that he wants made to the recently signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indianapolis, Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. Robert Scheer / The Star  Robert Scheer / The Star>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction
Gov. Mike Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz lead the Indiana Education Roundtable meeting at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis on June 23, 2014.  Anna Reed/The Star, Anna Reed/The Star>FullscreenIndiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a news conference
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a news conference before attending Symphony on the Prairie for a Fourth of July concert in Fishers, Ind. Pence is one of several Republicans Trump is considering for his vice presidential running mate.  Michael Conroy, AP>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence (left) and the Rev. Charles Harrison
Gov. Mike Pence (left) and the Rev. Charles Harrison talk about violence at the intersection of 29th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets in Indianapolis on Monday, July 11, 2016.  Jill Disis/IndyStar>FullscreenGov. Mike Pence speaks before the start of the annual
Gov. Mike Pence speaks before the start of the annual Cops Cycling for Survivors' 13-day ride across Indiana. Riders gathered Monday, July 11, 2016, at the Indiana State Museum in Downtown Indianapolis. Pence and his wife, Karen, rode the first leg.  Jenna Watson/IndyStar>FullscreenGovernor Mike Pence talks to the media about the putting
Governor Mike Pence talks to the media about the putting a halt to the Syrian refugee program Tuesday, December 8, 2015, afternoon at Signature Flight Support at the Indianapolis Airport.   Matt Kryger/The Star, Matt Kryger/The Star>FullscreenPeter Recchio, co-founder of Tea-MAC, the Tea Party
Peter Recchio, co-founder of Tea-MAC, the Tea Party of Michiana Action Coalition, left, and Rick Barr, right, shake hands with Indiana Congressman Mike Pence after his speech at the Indianapolis Tea Party get-out-the-vote rally held in Hummel Park in Plainfield on Friday night, October 15, 2010. Charlie Nye / The Star.   Charlie Nye>FullscreenIndiana Gov. Mike Pence presents NASCAR driver Jeff
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence presents NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon with the Sagamore of the Wabash as Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles (left) looks on during honorary presentations at Scamahorn Park in Pittsboro, Ind. on Jeff Gordon Day, Thursday, July 23, 2015.  Charlie Nye / The Star, Charlie Nye / The Star>FullscreenMike Pence, Indiana Governor, hands out toy balls to
Mike Pence, Indiana Governor, hands out toy balls to spectators at the Circle City Classic parade, Indianapolis, Saturday, September 26, 2015. The event marks the annual Classic football game, this year pitting Central State University against Kentucky State University at Lucas Oil Stadium.   Robert Scheer / The Star>FullscreenRepublican candidate for Indiana governor Congressman
Republican candidate for Indiana governor Congressman Mike Pence takes a shot at the basket as he shoots from a basketball floor marked with the IU satellite campuses around the state at Indiana Black Expo, Inc.'s Summer Celebration in the Indiana Convention Center on Saturday, July 21, 2012. Charlie Nye / The Star.  Charlie Nye, Indianapolis Star>FullscreenGovernor Mike Pence, center, talks about authorizing
Governor Mike Pence, center, talks about authorizing the arming of soldiers at Indiana National Guard facilities and recruiting sites statewide, while speaking to the press at a press conference at the Indiana National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, Sunday, July 19, 2015. He is joined by Col. Timothy Thombleson, from left behind him, Col. Ronald Westfall, and Indiana Adjutant General Major General Corey Carr.  Kelly Wilkinson>FullscreenAfter New Briton Elementary fourth grader Jenna Grubb,
After New Briton Elementary fourth grader Jenna Grubb, left, read her first place Hoosier Bicentennial Celebration Essay, Governor Mike Pence congratulates her, during the Statehood Day Celebration at the Statehouse, Friday, December 11, 2015. This begins the celebration of Indiana's 199th birthday.   Kelly Wilkinson/Indystar>FullscreenGovernor Mike Pence addresses the panel at the end
Governor Mike Pence addresses the panel at the end of the Indiana Education Roundtable meeting at the Government Center South, Monday, April 21, 2014.   Kelly Wilkinson/The Star>FullscreenIN-PENCE -- Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., talks on the phone
IN-PENCE -- Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., talks on the phone on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006, in his office in the Cannon building in Washington. (Gannett News Service, Heather Wines)  HEATHER WINES, GNS>FullscreenIndiana Governor Mike Pence chats with young entrepreneur
Indiana Governor Mike Pence chats with young entrepreneur Nathan Walsh, 7, during Lemonade Day at the Statehouse, Friday, May 30, 2014. Nathan told the governor he is good in math, and that some people say he could help with the budget.   Kelly Wilkinson/The Star>FullscreenGovernor Mike Pence asks school children to join him
Governor Mike Pence asks school children to join him in the popular last line of "Twas the NIght Before Christmas" which he read to them, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" during the Statehouse Christmas tree decorating event at the Statehouse, Friday, December 13, 2013. Children also brought handmade ornaments to hang on the tree.  Kelly Wilkinson/The Star>Fullscreen

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    Source : http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/18/pence-insists-he-didnt-know-flynn-under-investigation/101834078/

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