Former Trump aide Flynn paid over $55,000 by Russian entities

Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn is raising money for his legal costs in the sprawling Russia election interference probe

Russian and Russia-linked entities paid President Donald Trump's former national security advisor Mike Flynn $55,500 for work that included attending a gala with President Vladimir Putin, according to documents released Thursday.

The retired general, who once headed the US Defense Intelligence Agency, earned $33,000 just to go to the December 2015 party held by RT, the international television agency that the US now says is an arm of Russian intelligence.

Flynn's Moscow trip, where he sat at the gala's central table together with Putin, was well-known.

But the amount he was paid was revealed for the first time in documents released by Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, who called for a probe into whether Flynn broke Defense Department security rules in taking that and other payments from Russian entities.

Flynn was forced to resign as Trump's national security advisor on February 13 after it emerged he had lied about the content of phone calls with Russia's ambassador in late 2016.

Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Government Oversight Committee, noted in a letter addressed to Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and FBI chief James Comey, that Flynn also received $11,250 from a Russian charter airline and $11,250 from the US arm of Kaspersky, a prominent Russia-based cyber security company.

He also pointed out that Flynn only in recent weeks officially reported that he had been hired late last year to lobby for Turkey, for $530,000.

"I cannot recall any time in our nation's history when the president selected as his national security advisor someone who violated the Constitution by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from an agent of a global adversary that attacked our democracy," Cummings said.

Cummings' letter spelled more trouble for Flynn, a once-lauded army general who fell from grace in February only weeks into his job as a top presidential aide.

According to reports, he first met Trump in mid-2015 and later became an advisor to his campaign.

After the election Trump named him White House national security advisor -- only to have to ask for his resignation weeks later amid a storm over his calls with the Russian ambassador.

The calls came at a time when the Obama administration was preparing to retaliate against Moscow for its alleged interference in the US election. Flynn later admitted he discussed that retaliation -- new sanctions and expulsions -- with the ambassador.

Cummings said that Flynn, as a retired general, was bound by government rules not to accept payments from rival governments, and called on the Defense Department take steps to seize Flynn's earnings from those deals.