1. Wide of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
2. Mid of reporters
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary
"What the AP is reporting, just to be clear, is that a personal lawyer of General Flynn's contacted a transition lawyer and asked for guidance about what he should or should not do. The lawyer was instructed that it wasn't the role of the transition, and it was up to the personal lawyer to work with the appropriate authorities or subject matter experts to determine what was appropriate and what was not appropriate in terms of filing."
4. Cutaway of reporters
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary
"Each person that goes through the process in government seeks counsel in many cases about the assets they own and the activities they conducted as to what they have to do or not do. This is something like asking if they needed to file if they had a client whether or not they had a lobbying disclosure form. That's not up to us to determine, that's up for them and their counsel to deterimine if they engaged in activities in the past, or whatever it is or if a doctor needed to go and up their certification, that is not up for government to determine.
6. Cutaway of reporters
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary
(Reporter) "The person who is in line to be the national security adviser may need to register as a foreign agent, and that doesn't raise a red flag? (Spicer) It's not a matter of raising a red flag, John, it's a question of whether they gave them the advice that they are supposed to. It is not up to them to make decisions about what you need to do or not do."
8. Wide of Spicer at podium
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary
(Reporter) "We're talking about the judgment of the president, the vice president and your team made to select this man as national security adviser when you had information that he had these dealings with Turkey. (Spicer) What dealings are you referring to, that he had a client. He was also the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Unbelievably qualified, 40 years in the military with impeccable credentials, so what is it. What is it you are getting at? Because so far, he has impeccable credentials, he had a stellar career in the military, widely respected, and I think for you to start to impugn his int...(Reporter) But Vice President Pence said yesterday....(Spicer) But again, there was no disclosure at the time."
9. Cutaway of reporters.
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary
"We trust people to fill out the forms that they are required to in an honest and legal manner. And in this case, he retroactively filed the forms he was supposed to do, but we advised him to do what the legal and proper thing was and that's the right thing for this administration, so we did the right thing then and we expect every employee to follow the law. This president when it comes to ethics and when it comes to lobbying, he instituted a five-year ban, he has ran on a commitment to drain the swamp. He has been very committed to making sure we instituted high standards here and they were held to them. And so at the end of the day, when he found out Gen. Flynn had betrayed the trust of the vice president back in the day, he let him go."
11. Wide of Spicer at podium
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary
"I believe that everybody has done what is legally required of them, but I can't tell you that every single person has done everything. I can tell you the president has made clear to everyone in this administration you are expected to live up to the high standards he has set for them, and that if you don't you will be dismissed."
Lawyers for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told President Donald Trump's transition team before the inauguration that Flynn might need to register with the government as a foreign agent, but Trump was not aware of the possible move, the White House said Friday.
The disclosure by White House officials confirms the Trump transition team was aware of the situation involving the president's pick for a top national security post either before he joined the government or soon afterward.
But the White House's acknowledgement raised new questions about whether Trump's transition team, and later, his White House lawyers, fully vetted Flynn after being informed about his possible filing as a foreign agent for his lobbying during the presidential campaign that may have benefited the government of Turkey.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer dismissed questions about whether the information should have given the transition team pause, saying Flynn had "impeccable credentials."
Trump fired Flynn last month after less than a month on the job saying he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.
Spicer confirmed that Flynn's personal lawyer contacted Trump transition attorneys before the inauguration about the possible filing. But he added that Flynn's representative only asked for guidance and did not provide more details about the lobbying work or Flynn's business dealings.
Spicer said Flynn's decision whether to file as a foreign agent was a personal matter that his own attorney would need to handle.
Among those told of Flynn's lobbying work was Don McGahn, Trump's campaign lawyer who served in the transition and later became White House counsel, said a person with direct knowledge of the conversations between Flynn's representatives and the transition team.
That person, who was not authorized to describe confidential conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity, said that during discussions after the inauguration White House lawyers were told Flynn was moving ahead with plans to file as a foreign agent.
On Thursday, Spicer had said he did not believe Trump had been told of Flynn's work as a foreign agent. Later that day, Vice President Mike Pence said he was unaware of Flynn's foreign agent work until this week.
Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., filed paperwork this week with the Justice Department formally identifying him as a foreign agent and acknowledging that his work for a company owned by a Turkish businessman "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey."
In the filings with the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit, Flynn and his company described $530,000 worth of lobbying before Election Day on behalf of Inovo BV, a Dutch-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin. The lobbying occurred from August through November while Flynn was a top Trump campaign adviser.
In an interview with the AP, Alptekin said Flynn and his firm filed the registration after pressure from Justice Department officials. Alptekin said he disagreed with the decision to register. He also said he had asked for some of his money back.
Flynn's registration comes as he has drawn scrutiny from the FBI for his contacts with Russian officials. Through a spokesman, Flynn declined to discuss the registration. In the filing, his attorney said the lobbying contract quickly ended after Trump's election in November.
On Thursday, Spicer defended Flynn's work, saying he did it as a "private citizen," but he declined to say whether Trump would have hired Flynn if he had known about the lobbying.
"There's nothing nefarious about doing anything that's legal as long as the proper paperwork is filed," Spicer said.
After Flynn joined the administration, he agreed not to lobby for five years after leaving government service and never to represent foreign governments. It appears that Flynn's work wouldn't violate the pledge because it occurred before he joined the administration in January. The pledge bars Flynn from ever doing the same type of work again in his lifetime.
Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, U.S. citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign governments or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department. Willfully failing to register is a felony, though the department rarely files criminal charges in such cases. It routinely works with lobbying firms to get back in compliance with the law by registering and disclosing their work.
According to Flynn's filings, his firm's work involved research, informational materials and a video on the cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, of orchestrating a botched coup last summer. Erdogan has called for Gulen's extradition, a request the Obama administration rebuffed.
Alptekin, the Turkish businessman, has denied having any ties to Erdogan's government. But he is a member of a Turkish economic relations board run by an Erdogan appointee.