Senate considers holding Michael Flynn in contempt
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 18:03
Mark Warner of Virginia, announced that the committee had issued new subpoenas to two firms associated with Flynn after Flynn rejected an earlier demand for the documents, saying he would plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in a letter Monday to the panel's chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, that government documents he's reviewed showed inconsistencies in Flynn's disclosures to USA investigators in early 2016 during his security clearance review.
The fired USA national security adviser will refuse to hand over documents to a Senate panel investigating alleged Russian meddling in the u.s. election.
Warner added that the panel keeps "all options on the table" with respect to Flynn's investigation.
The Justice Department says Robert Mueller's work at a law firm that represented relatives and associates of President Donald Trump does not disqualify him from overseeing an FBI investigation into possible ties between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation.
Burr said the committee was still interested in taking Flynn's testimony.
He said the most immediate step for himself and his staff was to draw up new subpoenas, but added that they would be doing research about what to do should they "have to go the route of contempt".
"We'll leave that up to the committees, but he should comply and there will be consequences if he doesn't", the minority leader said. From left, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen.
"It does us no good in having people pleading the Fifth if we are trying to get information", Burr said.
On Monday, one of Trump's top GOP supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, told reporters during a news conference in Trenton that he had expressed concerns about Flynn during the presidential transition.
But ordering Flynn to appear isn't the only option open to the Senate.
"It is not our plan today to offer immunity", Burr said Tuesday. He said the head of the FSB denied that Russian Federation was meddling, but said he would raise the issue with President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, the Senate committee's subpoena to Flynn focused on his interactions with Russian officials. "We need to know what the President, the Vice President, White House Counsel, and other top officials knew about General Flynn-and when they knew it", Cummings wrote.
"We have taken the actions that we feel are appropriate right now", Burr said.
Flynn is one of several former Trump aides to whom Senate investigators have sent requests for information to as part of the panel's investigation into connections between Trump associates and Russian officials. But Burr and Warner questioned "whether you can take the Fifth, as it relates to document production".
Legal experts have said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the personal documents without immunity because he would be waiving some of his constitutional protections by doing so.
The reason all this matters so much: Flynn's role appears to be increasingly at the center of efforts by Trump and the White House to slow the FBI investigation.
Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies before Congress on the Trump-Russia investigation on Tuesday.