Lawyers: Flynn mistakenly billed as joining consulting firm

Lawyers: Flynn mistakenly billed as joining consulting firm
© Camille Fine

Lawyers for Michael Flynn say that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE's embattled former national security adviser has not joined a new consulting firm, despite a release from the firm on Tuesday making such an announcement.

Stonington Global founder Nick Muzin, who has been a consultant for the Qatari government and the Democratic Party of Albania, had said in an initial statement on Tuesday that Flynn would use his “military and national security experience” to help clients.

“The General’s uniquely American story and his commitment to national security, freedom and counter-terrorism are an inspiration to millions of Americans, and we are excited to work with him to promote these values around the world,” Muzin said in the release.

Stonington Global is billed as a firm that “will help domestic and international clients navigate global equity markets and facilitate interactions with governments.” It has offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, Flynn's lawyers said he had not actually become part of the firm and quotes attributed to him were issued due to an apparent "misunderstanding."

"The Wall Street Journal reported today that Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael T. Flynn has joined the firm Stonington Global LLC and quoted a statement that it attributed to General Flynn. General Flynn has not joined Stonington and did not personally issue any public statement. He was aware that a statement was being drafted, but he did not intend that it be issued at this time. Its issuance now in his name appears to have been the result of a misunderstanding," Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, Flynn's lawyers, wrote in an email.

Neither Stonington Global nor Flynn's lawyers could comment on whether Flynn would be joining the firm at some point.

"We cannot comment on General Flynn's considerations about the timing of the announcement, but we have faith in his patriotism and long history of service to our country. We look forward to working together," Muzin said in a statement after the response from Flynn's lawyers.

The initial news of the hire came as Flynn is looking at potential jail time stemming from the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The retired lieutenant general pleaded guilty last December to lying to the FBI. He is currently cooperating with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE. On Tuesday, Flynn faced another sentencing hearing where his lawyers pushed to speed up the process, saying Flynn is “ready to get this chapter of his life behind him.”

Joey Allaham, a co-founder of Stonington Global, had mentioned Flynn earlier Tuesday while saying that the new venture “is about the power of creative minds to change the world.”

“We will use our combined experience in Washington, on Wall Street, and across the globe to provide innovative and tailored solutions to governments, companies, and private individuals. Stonington Global is honored to welcome General Flynn as we expand our services around the world,” he said in the earlier statement.

Muzin, through another firm he created, worked for foreign governments and political parties, and credits the firm’s work for helping to improve the U.S.-Qatari bond.

“In the course of eight months [we] saw the Gulf Emirate go from isolation, blockade, and Presidential criticism, to the strengthening of the US-Qatari security and economic relationship, culminating in the bilateral Strategic Dialogue and subsequent Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump and the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani,” reads the release.

Qatar has more than 20 lobbying and public affairs firms on retainer.

In its first release, the firm quoted Flynn as saying: “The world is changing rapidly, and now is America’s moment to lead. I will work every day to put my over 33 years of experience in the defense, intelligence, and national security communities as well as serving Presidents of both parties in the White House to good use in helping companies and governments enhance the goals of freedom and liberty.”

Flynn is also familiar with foreign advocacy.

While working as an adviser to the Trump campaign, he engaged in work that may have benefitted the Turkish government, and retroactively filed disclosures with the Justice Department disclosing it.

Although he has denied it, he was also reportedly planning to work to extradite a cleric living in Pennsylvania back to Turkey. The Turkish government accuses the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of trying to overthrow its government.

Both of Flynn's alleged connections have reportedly been investigated by Mueller as part of his probe.

Flynn's family set up a legal defense fund to help him during the investigation.

"Mike Flynn has served the nation for nearly four decades during time of war and peace, including nearly five years in combat. He has also received numerous awards and military decorations," its website reads. "The costs of legal representation associated with responding to the multiple investigations that have arisen in the wake of the 2016 election place a great burden on Mike and his family. They are deeply grateful for considering a donation to help pay expenses relating to his legal representation." 

— This story was updated at 7:13 p.m.