WASHINGTON - The White House has refuted claims that former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his lawyer told President Donald Trump's transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under investigation for working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey.
"The New York Times story is flat wrong," a White House spokesman said in a statement on Thursday (May 18) to NBC News' Peter Alexander, The Hill political website reported.
"Neither Michael Flynn nor his attorneys told Transition Counsel 'that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign'," the statement added.
The New York Times had reported Flynn's purported disclosure, citing two people familiar with the case.
The paper said Flynn's disclosure, on Jan 4, was first made to the transition team's chief lawyer, Donald McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel.
That conversation, and another one two days later between Flynn's lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.
His legal issues have been a problem for the White House from the beginning and are at the centre of a growing political crisis for Trump.
Flynn was fired after only 24 days in the job.