White House pushes back on story Flynn notified transition about probe

White House pushes back on story Flynn notified transition about probe
© Greg Nash

The White House on Thursday pushed back on a story that former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his lawyer told President Trump's transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under investigation for working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey.

"The New York Times story is flat wrong," a White House spokesman said in a statement to NBC News's Peter Alexander.

"Neither Michael Flynn nor his attorneys told Transition Counsel 'that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign,'" the statement added.

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The Times reported Wednesday that Flynn had first divulged the existence of the investigation to the transition team's chief lawyer, Don McGahn, who now serves as White House counsel. Flynn's lawyer told transition lawyers about the investigation again two days later, according to the report.

Flynn was fired in February, 24 days after Trump took office, amid revelations that he had failed to disclose to top White House officials the nature of conversations he had with Russia's ambassador in the month before Trump took office.

In March, Flynn retroactively registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department for his work for a company owned by a Turkish businessman that his lawyer said "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey."

Vice President Pence, who led Trump's transition, maintained Thursday that he did not know about Flynn's lobbying work until March. 

“[Pence] 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,” the vice president's office said in a statement.