Mike Flynn’s son is subject of federal Russia probe

WASHINGTON — Michael G. Flynn, the son of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, is a subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, according to four current and former government officials.

The inquiry into Flynn is focused at least in part on his work with his father's lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, three current and former officials said. It's unclear when the focus on Flynn began.

Barry Coburn, who said he is serving as the younger Flynn's legal counsel, said he couldn't comment on the matter.

Michael G. Flynn's status as a subject of the Russia investigation widens the publicly known scope of the probe. NBC News has reported that those under investigation have included the elder Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Others under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller include Trump campaign ally Carter Page, Trump son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and President Trump's son, Donald Jr.

Trump Jr. may be called to appear before the Senate Judiciary committee sometime this fall. He has denied any collusion with Russia.

RELATED: Michael Flynn through the years

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Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
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Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
National security adviser General Michael Flynn delivers a statement daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Retired United States Army lieutenant general Michael T. Flynn introduces Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump before he delivered a speech at The Union League of Philadelphia on September 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trump spoke about his plans to build up the military if elected. Recent national polls show the presidential race is tightening with two months until the election.

(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event with veterans at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, where Trump stated he believes President Obama was born in the United States, September 16, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) yields the briefing room podium to National Security Adviser Michael Flynn February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Flynn said the White House is 'officially putting Iran on notice' for a recent missile test and support for Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, prepares to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Current and Future Worldwide Threats,' featuring testimony by he and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (C) arrives prior to a joint news conference between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn boards Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
National security adviser General Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (L) arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: (AFP OUT) White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (R) walks down the West Wing Colonnade following a bilateral meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump and Abe are expected to discuss many issues, including trade and security ties and will hold a joint press confrence later in the day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) SCAD Dramatic writing professor Chris Auer, Producer Sandra Leviton, Executive producer and writer Michael Flynn, Tv literary agent Jeff Greenberg and Literary manager and producer Kaila York speak on stage during the 'Inside the Writers Room' event on Day One of aTVfest 2017 presented by SCAD on February 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.), National Security Advisor Designate speaks during a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, U.S. national security advisor, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Michael Flynn walks out after a morning worship service on Inauguration day at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (R), talks with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn inside of the inaugural parade reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president today. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, center, stands in an elevator at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Donald Trump is slated to meet with AT&T Inc.'s top executives on Thursday to discuss the company's proposed $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The president-elect has said he opposes the deal. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Gen. Michael T. Flynn (R) arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.) and National Security Advisor Designate and Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor during a ceremonial passing of authority while participating in a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Kushner, Manafort and Page have denied any collusion with Russia during the campaign. The elder Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment Tuesday when asked how his client responds to allegations of collusion with Russia. The president also has come under scrutiny for possible obstruction of justice and has denied colluding with Russia.

The younger Flynn worked closely with his father, whose connections to foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey, have been a subject of the federal and congressional investigations.

Michael G. Flynn accompanied his father, for instance, on a trip to Moscow in December 2015 for the elder Michael Flynn to deliver a paid speech at a gala for the state-sponsored Russian television network RT. He can be seen in video from an associated event.

The elder Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was seated at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin during the dinner. Records released by the House Oversight Committee show he was paid nearly $34,000 for his speech; RT also paid for Flynn and his son's airfare to Moscow and lodging at a luxury hotel from December 9 to December 12.

RELATED: Close look at the Trump-Russia timeline

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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
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Flynn Intel Group also was paid $530,000 in 2016 for work the Justice Department has said benefited the government of Turkey. The elder Flynn did not register as a foreign lobbyist at the time, but did so retroactively this year. According to his filing with the Justice Department, he was hired by a Turkish businessman to gather information about Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric residing in Pennsylvania whom the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating an attempted coup there in July 2016.

Related: Obama Warned Trump Against Hiring Mike Flynn

The elder Flynn was fired as Trump's national security adviser in February after it became public that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S.

A former business associate of Michael Flynn's said his son, Michael G. Flynn, had a heavy hand in the day-to-day operations of Flynn Intel Group and served as his father's chief of staff. Those responsibilities included attending meetings with his father and communicating with prospective clients, the former business associate said.

Several legal experts with knowledge of the investigation have told NBC News they believe Special Counsel Mueller, following a classic prosecutorial playbook, is seeking to compel key players, including Flynn and Manafort, to tell what they know about any possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Mueller has brought onto his team a federal prosecutor known for convincing subjects to turn on associates. Any potential criminal liability for Michael G. Flynn could put added pressure on his father, these legal experts said.

"Any time a family member is identified as a subject that does increase pressure," said Peter Smith, a former federal prosecutor. "In the typical parent-child relationship the last thing any parent would want is for their child to get in trouble for something they initiated."

That pressure appeared to mount Wednesday, when House Democrats released information they said confirmed that the elder Flynn omitted from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 that he had traveled to the Middle East in 2015 to meet with foreign leaders about a proposal to partner with Russia in a plan to build nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.

In a letter to Flynn's former business partners who had turned over documents to Congress, Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Eliot Engel of New York also accuse Flynn of concealing the trip from background check investigators who interviewed him during that 2016 process. The congressmen, ranking members on the House Oversight and House Foreign Affairs committees respectively, told the former business partners that because "it appears that General Flynn violated federal law" they are turning over their documents to Mueller.

Related: Flynn, Manafort Are Key Figures in Russia Probe

Peter Carr, the spokesman for Mueller, and did not respond to a request for comment. Kelner, the elder Flynn's lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment on the Cummings-Engel letter.

The younger Flynn, 34, has a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an associate degree in golf course management. He is married, has one son and lives in Northern Virginia. He worked for a golf company and then a healthcare management firm between 2008 and 2015, and since 2014 has worked for the Flynn Intel Group, according to LinkedIn. He was a registered Republican in Charlotte, N.C., from 2004 to 2008, according to public records.

He was a controversial figure during the presidential campaign and during the Trump transition, known for writing inflammatory comments on Twitter and circulating conspiracy theories.

He perpetuated a so-called "pizzagate" conspiracy theory that surfaced in the days before the November election alleging Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had used the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. to run a child sex-trafficking operation. About a month later, in December 2016, a North Carolina man fired gunshots in the pizzeria allegedly in response to the false "pizzagate" story. At the time, Flynn wrote on Twitter: "Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story."

During the Trump transition there were questions about whether Flynn had an official role. He had a government transition email address and was said to be helping his father, who had been named national security adviser. But after the shooting at the "pizzagate" restaurant, Pence, who was in charge of the transition, said Flynn "has no involvement in the transition whatsoever."

The younger Flynn continues to express political opinions on social media, tweeting in support of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and tweeting criticism of Black Lives Matter.

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