Former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn won’t respond to a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee, instead invoking the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination.
Sources confirmed to the NBC News that Flynn will make his demand official in a letter to the committee Monday afternoon.
Flynn is the subject of an ongoing investigation, within the SIC and across Congress, delving into whether the Russian government sought or had inappropriate contact with high-level officials inside the Donald Trump for President campaign.
Flynn was asked, earlier in May, to produce any documents he had related to his time serving Trump as an adviser, and his eighteen days as a Trump administration official. The due date for production is this Wednesday.
But while the move to plead the Fifth has fueled speculation that Flynn feels he could face consequences for potential contacts with Russia, it’s not particularly surprising that Flynn will avoid contact with the Senate committee.
The committee hasn’t offered Flynn immunity for his testimony (even though Flynn and his lawyers ask for it regularly) so the former national security adviser has already refused several requests to appear or produce documents.
Members of the committee called Flynn’s request, then, “wildly preliminary,” but it now seems as though Flynn has decided he won’t offer any help to investigators until he’s successfully bargained for protection in the Russia probe. By pleading the Fifth, he’ll at least avoid a charge of contempt of court for refusing to hand over everything he has on the subject.
The more difficult part for Flynn—and for the Trump administration as a whole—will be maintaining that Flynn isn’t guilty, just because he decided to invoke his Constitutional rights. After all, the Trump team, including Flynn himself, has been adamant that refusing to testify gives one an air of culpability.
That didn’t age well.
The bad news for Flynn is, even if he can avoid the Senate Intelligence Committee, he may not be able to avoid Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to handle the Trump-Russia investigation within the Department of Justice. That may prove to be a tougher interrogation to avoid.