Michael Flynn to decline Senate invite, source says

Michael Flynn to decline Senate invite, source says
Posted at 6:37 AM, May 22, 2017

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn won't provide records to the Senate intelligence committee and will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to a subpoena from the committee, according to a source close to Flynn.

Flynn's refusal to cooperate comes as he faces scrutiny in several inquiries, including on Capitol Hill and a federal grand jury that has issued subpoenas to associates of the ex-national security adviser.

Flynn's refusal to cooperate will also intensify scrutiny over Trump's decision to hire him initially for the job and his decision to keep him on staff for 18 days after the President was warned by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn may have been compromised by the Russians.

The Senate committee had asked Flynn earlier this month to produce all records over his communications with Russian officials by this Wednesday. But Flynn is expected to send a letter later Monday invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

The source close to Flynn said it would be "highly imprudent for him not to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights" given that several members of Congress have called for his prosecution.

The Associated Press first reported Flynn's plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

Flynn's decision to decline the subpoena does not come as a surprise to Senate intelligence leaders, as Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, also told the panel last month he would not provide documents in response to an April request.

Flynn was back in the news last week following the revelation that former FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked Comey in a meeting to end his investigation into the former national security adviser.

Flynn resigned from the Trump White House in February after it was revealed he'd misled White House officials over his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which included communication about sanctions.

Flynn previously sought immunity from the Senate committee in exchange for his testimony. Leaders of both the Senate and House panels, which are conducting separate investigations into Russia's election-year meddling, rejected that request.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump blasted aides to Hillary Clinton for taking the Fifth Amendment in relation to the investigation of her use of a private email server while secretary of state. He said at a September Iowa rally: "So there are five people taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right? You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence panel after Memorial Day.

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.

The panel has also sought documents from former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former adviser Roger Stone.

The House intelligence panel, meanwhile, is requesting documents from former Trump campaign communications adviser Michael Caputo.