President Donald Trump rejected a request from the House Oversight Committee for more information on payments from foreign governments to former national security adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
"It is unclear how such documents would be relevant to the stated purpose of the committee's review, which according to your letter is to examine Lt. Gen. Flynn's disclosure of payments related to activities that occurred in 2015 and 2016, prior to his service in the White House," Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short wrote in a April 19 letter sent to committee leaders, according to The Hill.
"To ask the White House to produce documents that were not in possession of the White House is ridiculous," White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded the media, according to NBC News.
Despite Trump's refusal to hand over the information on Flynn, the House Oversight Committee said the former general might have broken the law by not previously disclosing payments from Russia and Turkey he received wwhile working as a political adviser to foreign governments, a common occupation for American politicians and ex-military personnel.
"As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else," said Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah. "And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for the violation of law."
It is unclear which law Chaffetz is referring to. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have each made millions of dollars from numerous paid speeches to foreign governments and business interests, according to Politico.
Flynn was reportedly paid $45,000 from the Russian government to speak at a media event and was paid more than $500,000 from the Turkish government for lobbying work in Washington D.C.
In a statement from his attorney, Flynn stated that he made proper disclosures before taking the job as Trump's national security adviser.
"As has previously been reported, Gen. Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of [the Department of Defense], extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip, and he answered any questions that were posed by DIA concerning the trip during those briefings," said attorney Robert Kelner.
Although the White House refused to hand over documents about Flynn's payments, Chaffetz denied the Trump administration was being uncooperative.
"The reality is I just don't think there are any documents because Gen. Flynn was required to proactively ask permission prior to engaging with Russia and Turkey," Chaffetz said, according to NBC News. "Not only was he supposed to ask for permission, he was supposed to get permission, and he didn't."