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Pence Stands by Comments He Was Unaware of Flynn Lobbying

Image: Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during their "Invest in America!" Summit on May 18, 2017 in Washington.Alex Brandon / AP

Vice President Mike Pence’s office on Friday said it backed the White House’s rejection of a report that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn informed White House counsel Don McGahn in January of the investigation into his work as a foreign agent for Turkey during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A White House spokesman called The New York Times' report "flat wrong" on Thursday, and on Friday, the vice president’s office echoed that statement and stood by Pence’s comments in March that the news reports about Flynn’s connections to Turkey were the first he had heard of the National Security Adviser’s potentially improper relationship with the country.

“The Vice President stands by his comments from March upon first hearing the news of Flynn’s ties to Turkey,” the statement from Pence’s office said.

Pence’s office also stated that the the letter sent to then-Vice President-elect Pence by Rep. Elijah Cummings on November 18 warning the transition team of Flynn’s “apparent conflicts of interest” for his possible lobbying representing Turkey was never seen by Pence.

“Rep. Cummings letter did not reach the vice president,” the office said.

Cummings, in an interview on Friday with CNN, accused Pence of “not telling the truth or he was running a sloppy shop.”

But the Maryland congressman acknowledged in March in an interview with NPR that Pence may have never received that letter, noting that “those things do happen.”

The Vice President’s office also is pushing back on the suggestion that there is a “pattern” of individuals in the White House not informing Pence of Flynn’s alleged wrongdoings, or other issues, pointing to the White House’s denial that Flynn informed the White House two months before Pence found out about that federal investigation into Flynn.

The White House had allegedly not made Pence aware of Flynn’s conversations with Russia during the transition, and Flynn’s misleading of Pence at that time over his conversations with Russia led to his resignation.

Last week, Pence asserted to reporters gathered on Capitol Hill that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a memo to the president recommending Comey's removal.

“President Trump made the right decision at the right time — to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to ask for the termination; to support the termination of the director of the FBI was simply the right decision,” Pence said.

A day later, however, Trump contradicted Pence’s statement in in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, saying: “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”

The Vice President’s office said on Friday that Pence “stands by his comments” on Capitol Hill and that Trump “gave additional context in following statements.”