Flynn Violated Constitution With Russia Speech, Democrats Say

Flynn was seen in a 2015 video appearing with Vladimir Putin at a banquet.

Flynn has declined to provide details about any payments from RT, which he has told reporters came through a speaker’s bureau.

The letter requests Defense Secretary James Mattis provide Congress all of the pentagon documents on file relating to Flynn’s speaking engagements in Russia, and in any other foreign state.

Because Flynn holds a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance, he would have been required to report to the Defense Department any repeated contacts or payments from foreign nationals or foreign-owned firms as well as foreign travel.

In an August interview with the Washington Post, Flynn said he saw no problem with attending the event, or with getting paid.

“I was asked by my speaker’s bureau,” he said. “I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity. I get paid so much. The speaker’s bureau got paid so much, based on our contract.”

Flynn has been advising Trump on foreign policy matters since at least early 2016, according to published reports.

He was forced to leave his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and retire as three-star general officer in 2014 over his management style and clashes with the Obama administration over policy. Flynn had spent decades as an intelligence officer in the military and oversaw intelligence used to by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command to kill Iraq's top insurgent leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006, who led the al-Qaeda branch that later became known as ISIS.

"He was that close to a despot, an enemy to the U.S., at an event for the Russian government's propaganda arm," a senior U.S. intelligence official said at the time about Flynn's attendance at the RT celebration.

The letter sent by the Democrats today is the latest attempt to invoke an obscure clause in the Constitution, called the “emoluments clause,” which restricts certain U.S. government officials from accepting money from foreign governments.

Congress is responsible for enforcing the emoluments clause and also has the power to exempt someone from it.

A spokesman for the chairman of The House Intelligence Committee declined to comment on whether the panel was investigating Flynn as part of its larger probe into Russian interference in the election.

The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW) filed a lawsuit against President Trump arguing that his vast global holdings – even while placed under the management of his children – have opened the door to violations of the emoluments clause.

Trump has dismissed the case as frivolous and has argued that removing himself from daily operations of his business has helped to insure he will not face any conflicts of interest while serving in the White House.

“The Members of Congress raise a troubling and important question,” Eisen said in a statement emailed to ABC News. “If Lt. Gen. Flynn is subject to recall, and accepted foreign government funds WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL CONSENT, then that is a foreign emolument and so a violation of the Constitution. Nor would it be a merely technical one. Concern about the alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia, and its effect on our national security, is precisely the kind of worry that led the Founders to include this prohibition in the Constitution.”