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Evan Vucci / AP

Ten days before President Trump took office, Michael Flynn helped delay a Pentagon plan to attempt to retake the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, McClatchy reported Wednesday night. The plan was opposed by Turkey, which had previously paid Flynn for lobbying work.

  • How it reportedly happened: Then-national security advisor Susan Rice approached Flynn about having Trump sign off on the plan, which was to utilize Syrian Kurdish forces and be executed under Trump's administration. Flynn told her to hold off, without consulting anyone else on the transition team and without any explanation
  • Flynn was already under federal investigation for his undeclared lobbying on behalf of Turkey. The NYT reported Wednesday that Trump's team was aware of that investigation.
  • Why it matters: Per McClatchy, some in Congress have privately accused Flynn of treason. This could also complicate matters further for Trump, who reportedly asked James Comey to back off the Flynn investigation.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
38 mins ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.