Michael Flynn Sets Up Legal Defense Fund As Russia Probe Heats Up

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Under scrutiny in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, has set up a legal defense fund to help pay his attorney fees.

“The enormous expense of attorneys’ fees and other related expenses far exceed their ability to pay,” Flynn’s brother and sister said in a statement Monday, per Politico. “To help ensure that he can defend himself, we have set up a legal defense fund, and we are asking Mike’s supporters, veterans, and all people of goodwill to contribute whatever amount they can to this fund.”

His family said that the fund would not accept donations from foreign governments or from the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign, according to Politico.

Flynn is under investigation for his contacts with Russian officials during the transition to the White House, as well as for lobbying work he did during the campaign that benefitted the Turkish government.

The former Trump administration official also reportedly pushed a private-sector plan to build nuclear reactors throughout the Middle East both during the transition and while serving as national security adviser. House Democrats said last week that Flynn failed to disclose a 2015 trip to the Middle East, where he worked on that deal, and alleged that he violated federal law by failing to note the trip while applying for a security clearance.

As Flynn faces scrutiny from both the federal and congressional Russia probes, he’s likely to rack up astronomical legal fees. Flynn has hired a team of seven lawyers from the prominent Washington, D.C. law firm Covington, as well as a few others, Buzzfeed News reported Monday, citing a source familiar with the matter. The source told Buzzfeed that Flynn’s legal expanses will likely hit seven figures. Michael Caputo, another former Trump adviser who has obtained legal representation as he also faces questions in the probe, predicted to the Daily Beast that Flynn’s legal fees could hit $1 million. Caputo said that some lawyers he spoke to who specialize in congressional investigations billed at least $1,200 per hour.

This post has been updated.