Flynn Agrees to Turn Over Documents in Senate Russia ProbeBy
Former national security adviser had faced contempt citation
Flynn ousted after misleading administration on Russia contact
President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, agreed Tuesday to turn over a limited number of documents sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee for its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Flynn has agreed to initially produce documents the committee subpoenaed from his two companies, Flynn Intel LLC and Flynn Intel Inc., according to a person with knowledge of Flynn’s negotiations with the committee. It wasn’t yet determined what kind of documents will be handed over, the person said.
The committee also had issued a separate subpoena for Flynn to turn over personal documents and to testify. Although Flynn initially opposed that subpoena, the committee has since narrowed its focus, the person said. Flynn has now agreed to turn over personal documents that the committee, through legal standards, can prove exist, the person said, but he hasn’t agreed to testify before the committee.
Flynn will start producing documents on June 6, with more to follow, the person said, adding that Flynn wants to cooperate with the committee to the fullest extent possible as long as doing so doesn’t jeopardize his constitutional rights.
Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after revelations that he misled administration officials about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, had been under threat of a contempt citation after turning down the panel’s request for documents and an interview. His lawyer cited the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, arguing that the committee’s request was overly broad.
The committee is investigating Russian meddling in the presidential race and the possibility of collusion by members of Trump’s campaign. Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was a top adviser to Trump during his run for president. He has become a central figure in congressional investigations as well an FBI probe that now is being overseen by a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The investigations have entangled a number of Trump advisers and associates, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior White House adviser. In December, before Trump took office, Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met in New York and talked about possibly setting up a secure and secretive communications channel between the Kremlin and Trump’s transition team, according to a person familiar with the matter. That’s led some Democrats to call for revocation of Kushner’s security clearance.
Separately, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, turned down requests from House and Senate investigators for information and testimony, saying their questions were “poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered.” Like the president and his other allies, Cohen questioned why the investigation was continuing.
“To date, there has not been a single witness, document or piece of evidence linking me to this fake Russian conspiracy,” Cohen said. “This is not surprising to me because there is none.”
Russian officials also deny any collusion. The Kremlin sees “hourly” attempts at “fomenting and maintaining Russophobic sentiments” in the U.S., spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday.
“It has a very negative impact overall on the atmosphere of our bilateral relations,” Peskov said.
Flynn has been under scrutiny since being ousted from the administration. He previously offered to testify to Congress in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a request lawmakers rejected.
Representative Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said last week that Flynn may have lied in his application for a security clearance by saying that his paid speech at a Moscow gala for a Russian TV network in 2015 had been “funded by U.S. companies.” Documents previously released by congressional Democrats show he received more than $45,000 from RT, the Russian government-backed television network, for his participation at a gala where he sat at President Vladimir Putin’s table.
— With assistance by Jennifer Jacobs