Former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was fired over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, has declined to comply with a Senate committee’s subpoena to provide documents related to Russia.
Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because no assurances against “unfair prosecution” have been given, said Robert Kelner, one of Flynn’s lawyers, in a letter to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. He said Flynn would also decline a request for an interview.
“Multiple Members of Congress have demanded that he be investigated and even prosecuted,” Kelner said. “He is the target on nearly a daily basis of outrageous allegations, often attributed to anonymous sources in Congress or elsewhere in the United States Government, which, however fanciful on their face and unsubstantiated by evidence, feed the escalating public frenzy against him.”
The letter suggests Flynn would cooperate with the investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election if he is given immunity. “No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, with hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution,” Kelner said on March 30.
Also on Monday, U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings urged Jason Chaffetz, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to compel the White House to produce documents about what President Donald Trump and other senior officials knew about Flynn, and when they knew it.
“The Oversight Committee has in our possession documents that appear to indicate that General Flynn lied to the investigators who interviewed him in 2016 as part of his security clearance renewal,” Cummings said in a letter.
Cummings referred to a March 2016 report that suggests Flynn told investigators that “U.S. companies” paid for a 2015 trip to Moscow where he attended a gala with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The trip was actually paid for by Russia’s state-funded news organization RT, which paid Flynn more than $45,000.
Flynn came under scrutiny in late January when U.S. intelligence officials began looking into a claim that he had discussed U.S. sanctions during a phone call with Russia’s ambassador on December 29, the day the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russia.
Flynn denied the reports, but U.S. officials told the Washington Post in February that Flynn’s call with Russia’s ambassador was interpreted by some as an ‘inappropriate and potentially illegal signal’ to Russia that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration.
Flynn was forced to resign on February 13, admitting in his resignation letter that he had mistakenly provided “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence, who initially insisted during TV interviews that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
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