A look at Fifth Amendment protections invoked by Flynn
- Author: Leroy Wright May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 11:56
Two other former Trump campaign officials have turned over documents to the Senate intelligence committee related to its investigation of Russian meddling in the USA election, but Flynn is expected to plead the Fifth Amendment as opposed to complying with the panel's subpoena, according to a source close to Flynn.
He urged Chaffetz to subpoena the White House for failing to honor their bipartisan request, first made in late March, for all documents relating to Flynn's security clearance applications.
If Mr Flynn continues to refuse to comply, it is thought Senate investigators could vote to hold him in contempt of Congress, or even refer his case for possible criminal charges.
An adviser to Trump's campaign, Flynn later became his first national security adviser, only to be abruptly forced out after it became public that he had failed to disclose conversations with a Russian diplomat regarding US sanctions on the country.
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 us presidential race. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says both the intelligence and judiciary committees "should continue to seek other ways to gain access to this information".
"We will be responding to the Senate Intelligence Committee today", a source close to Flynn told NPR.
Attorneys for Flynn cited that the daily "escalating public frenzy against him", coupled with the appointment of a special counsel by the Justice Department, had created a unsafe legal environment for him to cooperate with the Senate. "If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"
The subpoena came after Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, alerted the panel that he would not provide documents in response to their April 28 request.
Dana Boente, acting head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, announced earlier this month that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Richmond, Virginia had submitted a series of federal grand jury subpoenas for info on Flynn's business associates.
The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena - a legal summons - two weeks ago to obtain documents related to his contacts with Russians dating back to June 2015.
Flynn's ties to Russia are now at the heart of a federal investigation that focuses in part on possible collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign to influence the US election.
Flynn also claimed to investigators he had no substantial contacts with foreign government officials, saying he only had "insubstantial contact". At least two other former Trump associates, Paul Manafort and Carter Page, are under FBI investigation for their ties to Russian Federation.