Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pushed to delay a plan to retake Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stronghold Raqqa that Turkey opposed, according to a new report.
McClatchy reports that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE and his national security adviser, Susan Rice, informed then President-elect Trump of a Pentagon plan to retake the city of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold, with the help of Syrian Kurdish forces. Obama’s team informed Trump because while the plan would be approved under Obama, it would likely be executed after Trump took office.
Flynn told Rice to delay approving the mission. His explanation for the delay was not recorded, according to McClatchy, but the decision to delay approval lined up with Turkey’s interests in the region. Turkey has been a staunch opponent of the United States partnering with Kurdish forces in the region.
The recommendation to delay the mission approval took place during the Trump team's transition period, ahead of Trump's inauguration.
Flynn was under investigation for lobbying for Turkey during the presidential campaign without declaring it. He admitted earlier this year he lobbied on behalf of the Turkish government — and received payment of more than $500,000.
The report follows the revelation that Trump knew about Flynn being under investigation weeks before his inauguration, but appointed him at national security adviser anyway.
Flynn resigned from his post after it was revealed he discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office and misled top administration officials, including Vice President Pence, about the nature of the talks.