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Data firm: Flynn advisory role never materialized

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A firm connected to a data mining and analysis company that worked on President Donald Trump's campaign said Monday that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was in talks about taking an advisory role less than a week before Election Day. But the company says the position never materialized.

SCL Group said in a statement to The Associated Press that Flynn signed a "statement of work" with the company on Nov. 2, 2016, about "possible advisory work." Flynn didn't take the position after Trump's victory and Flynn's subsequent appointment as the top national security aide.

The statement came just days after Flynn disclosed his interactions with the firm in an amended public financial disclosure filed with the White House. The AP reported the contents of the filing last week. The White House has since released it publicly in response to an AP reporter's request.

On the disclosure, Flynn lists briefly serving as an adviser to a Virginia-based entity of SCL Group, which is the British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the firm that worked with Trump's campaign.

Wealthy Republican donor Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager who also supported the Trump campaign, is a financial backer of Cambridge Analytica. The president's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was also a vice president at the company before he joined the Trump campaign.

Congressional Democrats and Trump critics have singled out Cambridge Analytica as they've pressured congressional committees to scrutinize the Trump campaign's data operation as part of probes into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates.

Trump campaign officials have denied any connection with Russia. They have also downplayed Cambridge Analytica's role in the campaign, saying they used the company briefly for television advertising and paid some of the company's employees.

The AP reported last week that Flynn ultimately performed no work for SCL Group and wasn't paid. A person close to Flynn told the AP last week that Flynn had agreed to the advisory role just before the end of the campaign but the details of the position were never fully determined.

In the statement, SCL Group confirmed it didn't pay Flynn, and he didn't perform any work. It said Flynn signed the statement of work but "no contract agreement was signed" and the advisory role was never formalized. In response to questions, SCL Group declined to say the nature of the planned advisory role or share the signed statement of work.

Flynn's filing of his amended financial disclosure came as special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees are scrutinizing Flynn's business deals and foreign connections. Flynn was forced out of his national security post in February for misleading the vice president about conversations he had with the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S.

___

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