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Flynn Invokes Fifth Amendment In Rejecting Senate Subpoena

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Flynn Invokes Fifth Amendment In Rejecting Senate Subpoena

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn declined on Monday to comply with a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee as it investigates possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment constitutional protection against self-incrimination, according to a letter to the Senate committee from his attorney, which was seen by Reuters.

Flynn’s attorneys did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The retired lieutenant general is a key witness in the Russia probe, which has roiled the first months of President Donald Trump’s presidency with a spate of negative news reports.

Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the top Republican and Democrat on the intelligence panel, said in a statement they were disappointed by Flynn’s decision, but would “vigorously pursue” his testimony and documents related to the investigation.

The committee is conducting one of the main congressional probes into U.S. intelligence agency reports of Russian meddling in the election and whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and Trump denies any collusion.

Separately on Monday, the Washington Post reported that Trump asked two of the country’s top intelligence officials, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers, to help him deny any collusion between his team and Russia during his presidential campaign.

Coats and Rogers declined the request, the Post reported.

Despite criticizing Clinton staffers for pleading the fifth, Trump is supporting Michael Flynn's decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment in Russia probe. Seth Lemon reports. (5/22/17)

Flynn apparently misled Pentagon investigators about his foreign connections when he sought to renew his security clearance in early 2016, according to a document obtained by congressional Democrats and released in part on Monday.

Interviewed as part of the clearance renewal process, Flynn said all of his foreign trips as a private citizen “were funded by U.S. companies,” according to excerpts of a March 14, 2016, report compiled by security clearance investigators.

In fact, a trip Flynn made to Moscow in December 2015, where he attended a gala dinner and sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was paid for by Russia Today, which U.S. officials consider a state-run propaganda arm, according to documents previously released by the House Oversight Committee.

The document is the latest to shed light on how Flynn received a clearance and was hired as Trump’s national security advisor. He was forced to resign in February after less than a month for failing to disclose the content of his talks with Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Excerpts were released by Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House committee.

Flynn’s decision to decline to comply with the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena was first reported by the Associated Press.

His attorney wrote to the committee that “the context in which the Committee has called for General Flynn’s testimonial production of documents makes clear that he has more than a reasonable apprehension that any testimony he provides could be used against him.”

Flynn’s legal team said he was rejecting the subpoena because the committee spurned his offer, made by the retired Army general in a May 8 letter, “to give a full account of the facts and to answer the committee’s questions, should the circumstances permit, including assurances against unfair prosecution. We stated that, absent such assurances, General Flynn would respectfully decline your request for an interview and for production of documents.”

It was not clear what the committee would do if Flynn decided not to comply.

Burr and Warren did not elaborate. Several panel members said they were waiting to learn more before coming to any conclusion about what might come next.

“We’ll see what the future brings,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein told reporters, adding: ” This may portend that [Flynn] faces something serious.”

Senator James Lankford, a Republican panel member, said Flynn was within his rights to invoke the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“We will get to the truth one way or another,” Lankford said on Twitter. “We need facts, not speculation [and] anonymous sources.”

A Congressional Research Service report outlined three main options if Congress decides to enforce the subpoena: seeking criminal prosecution through the executive branch, asking the courts for a civil judgment and using a dormant power of “inherent contempt” to detain and imprison an individual.

The latter option has not been used in 75 years. Congress has more often relied on the criminal contempt statute recently.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Flynn and other advisers to Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the U.S. presidential race.

Two other former Trump associates – one-time campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Republican operative Roger Stone – have turned over documents the Senate panel had requested, while a third – campaign adviser Carter Page – had not yet complied, NBC News reported, citing a congressional source.

Flynn has acknowledged being a paid consultant to the Turkish government during the campaign.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay, Doina Chiacu, and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)

IMAGE:  Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then U.S. national security adviser, arriving to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, February 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

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15 Comments

  1. Mama Bear May 23, 2017

    What’s the next step? An immunity deal? Is there a lawyer among us?

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker May 23, 2017

      Because Flynn was a decorated career military, I don’t think he is going to want to go to a military prison if evidence against him proves he may have consorted with Russia in violation of the sanctions.

      This is where Trump goes totally off the rails trying to make Russia our friend. Do you make friends with someone who steals voter information from you? No matter where Trump goes with his “Arts and Crats” Big Business deals, he cannot erase that Russia IS guilty of hacking into our elections. We have the evidence as even the Republicans are forced to admit.

      That there are Republicans who take no offense only proves how low they have stooped to win.

      1. Mama Bear May 23, 2017

        I personally believe that the entire Rethug party is complicit. Many knew and took Russian money, many hid themselves from knowing…but knew.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker May 23, 2017

          MB…You are right. Here’s why. The Republicans already got away with rigging 2 elections in 2000 and 2004 using hanging chads, the SC and GWB’s brother’s state of FL to win.

          But, the Republicans knew that by 2004, they couldn’t use those same strategies because American voters were already suspicious.

          So, they came up with a new strategy: Foreign hackers who could get the voter registry information and a candidate with ties to a Russian dictator with billionaire oligarchs at his beck and call.

          The problem is that Republican strategists never once counted on our European allies warning the CIA, NSA and FBI that their elections had already been hacked by the Russians courtesy of Vladimir Putin. That’s where it all went wrong for the RNC and GOP.

          The minute the CIA, NSA and FBI had the evidence of European election hacking, it was clear where all of the nastiest, most hateful and deleted voter registries in the US 2016 election came from.

          Stupid is as stupid does among dimwitted Republicans. Now, they have to stop all investigations because they simply cannot afford the luxury of open and honest elections.

  2. FireBaron May 23, 2017

    “Senator James Lankford, a Republican panel member, said Flynn was
    within his rights to invoke the Fifth Amendment of the U.S.
    Constitution.

    “We will get to the truth one way or another,” Lankford said on
    Twitter. “We need facts, not speculation [and] anonymous sources.” ”
    Of course, that does not apply when investigating Democrats.

    Reply
  3. Eleanore Whitaker May 23, 2017

    Flynn may stand on the fifth. So did John Gotti, Al Capone and Chin Giganti. They had to or face the reality they’d end up dead. However, that didn’t stop the government from hauling them into jail until they were ready to cough up their testimony.

    Now. Let’s look at this another way. Or what the Contwat calls, “alternate facts.” Let’s say that Flynn, Trump, Manafort and the rest of the Trump entourage think they will all take the fifth. That doesn’t begin to squash the investigations. For one very good reason. There is evidence of Russian hacking into the DNC and Rubio’s voter registeries.

    Trump and his mobsters all seem to have a problem getting one fact straight: The only thing it ever comes down to is the U.S. Constitution that sets forth the foundation of our laws. Trump, like all crooks, ignores the Constitution because it gets in his way as it does all criminals.

    If you are innocent, you want the truth to come out. You don’t send in Republican lackies like Nunes and Chaffetz to try to sabotage an investigation you want to prove your innocence.

    Flynn knows that if he testifies, he might incriminate himself under miltiary law and the U.S. Constitution.

    The reality of this entire mess is not about Hillary Clinton anymore. It is about ALL future elections being hacked by the RNC and anyone with billions to fund the candidate THEY, not WE, want.

    Reply
    1. Dapper Dan May 23, 2017

      Wasn’t it Flynn who said not that long ago that those who take the 5th to avoid incrimination are hiding som

      1. Eleanore Whitaker May 23, 2017

        Yes. He did say that. It was also Flynn who stood in front of a Trump crowd of supporters chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” with Trump joining in.

        When Trump tried to tie Obama to Flynn’s not being vetted, that too was proven to be a lie. What really happened according to the FBI was that Obama did vet Flynn. When it was time for Flynn to be revetted, Obama was given information that Flynn had accepted money from the Russians which at that time had sanctions for invasion of the Ukraine and also for Afghanistan. So Obama fired Flynn. Obama and Hillary both warned Trump not to hire Flynn but as usual, Trump has to show ass and did what he always does, Mr. Obstinate, Belligerent Knows All, hired Flynn anyway.

        It took him 18 days to fire Flynn because Trump had his lawyers working over time to keep Flynn on.

      2. The lucky one May 23, 2017

        His hypocrisy is obvious but not surprising. Reminds me of Rush Limbaugh’s “all drug users should go to prison” until he was caught and then he was strangely silent on that issue.

      3. Mariaeminnick May 24, 2017

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  4. A. D. Reed May 23, 2017

    I think there’s another option, though not for Congress to take: the Army can prosecute Flynn as well, since, as a retired general, he is subject to recall for active service at any time. They can charge him with numerous counts of not seeking permission before addressing a foreign organization or accepting money from a foreign government or foreign agency (like RT); they can strip him of his rank — demote him to colonel or major or private; reduce his pension accordingly; and even imprison him for lying while renewing his security clearance. He certainly could end up in a military prison for a decade or more, or in a civilian one. And if Trump (or Pence) were to commute his sentence or pardon him, the way Ford did Nixon, well, you know what happened to Ford’s election chances.

    Reply
    1. johninPCFL May 23, 2017

      Agent Orange can’t reverse an Army decision to bust Flynn down and drum him out. Orange could, however stall the careers of any officers who chose to discipline Flynn.

      That’s how corruption works from inside the system.

  5. itsfun May 23, 2017

    Sounds like the Lois Lerner defense

    Reply
    1. I keep telling you you’re way too stupid to have opinions, and yet here you are again.

  6. 788eddie May 23, 2017

    Both Flynn, as well as his former boss, tRump, have said, on video, that anyone who takes the Fifth, is doing so because they’re probably guilty of the charges.

    It looks as if Flynn and tRump both have something else in common; they both know how to shoot themselves in the foot!

    Reply

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