Vice President Mike Pence called revelations that former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lobbying efforts may have benefited Turkey an "affirmation" that President Trump was right in firing him.
"It is an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask Gen. Flynn to resign," Pence said in response to Fox News’ Bret Baier asking if he was disappointed by the news.
Flynn’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, did lobbying work in the months leading up to his White House appointment that may have benefited the Turkish government, according to a filing made on Tuesday.
The vice president’s comments came just hours after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed during Thursday’s press briefing that Trump was unaware of Flynn’s ties to Turkey.
"I don’t believe that that was known. I would refer you to General Flynn and to the Department of Justice in terms of the filings that have been made," said Spicer.
Asked if the Trump would have appointed Flynn as his adviser had he known the nature of his lobbying work, Spicer said "I don’t know."
"That’s a hypothetical that I’m not prepared to ask," said Spicer. "I don’t know what he discussed prior to be appointed in terms of his background, his resume, his client base. I don’t know any of that. I know that, from what I have read, he has filed the appropriate forms with the Department of Justice."
The paperwork filed on behalf of Flynn and his firm indicated a payment of $530,000 for lobbying work he did in 2016 for a Dutch company that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey."
Flynn penned an editorial that appeared in The Hill on November 8 last year — Election Day — calling Turkey a "vital" ally and criticizing the media for one-sided reporting on the country’s "crackdown on dissidents."
Flynn Intel Group shut down its operations in November 2016, according to the filing.
Flynn’s work was previously disclosed in a Lobbying Disclosure Act registration with Congress, but Tuesday’s filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act to the Justice Department was the first admission that his actions also affected the Republic of Turkey.