Michael Flynn reportedly invokes Fifth Amendment in letter to Senate

Criminal Justice

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn. Photo by JFK Jr. Forum, Photographer Kristyn Ulanday

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Updated: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has reportedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to give the Senate Intelligence Committee records about his communications with Russian officials.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter declining the subpoena request, while the New York Times obtained confirmation of Flynn’s decision from a person familiar with the decision. The Washington Post also has a story.

The letter, written by Flynn’s lawyers at Covington & Burling, says that producing the documents would be a testimonial act that is entitled to Fifth Amendment protection.

The letter says the current environment, along with the appointment of a special counsel, makes clear that Flynn “has more than a reasonable apprehension” that any material provided could be used against him.

“Multiple members of Congress have demanded that he be investigated and even prosecuted,” the letter says. “He is the target on nearly a daily basis of outrageous allegations, often attributed to anonymous sources in Congress or elsewhere in the United States Government, which, however fanciful on their face and unsubstantiated by evidence, feed the escalating public frenzy against him.”

The letter says Flynn is willing to give a full account of the facts if he receives “assurances against unfair prosecution,” a phrase the Washington Post translates as a reference to immunity from prosecution.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating Russian attempts to influence the election.

A letter released Monday by the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee accuses Flynn of misleading the Pentagon when he applied for a top-secret security clearance last year, the New York Times reports. The article points out that intentionally lying to federal investigators is a felony that could bring a five-year prison sentence.

The letter by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said Flynn made misleading statements when he said that a trip to Russia was funded by U.S. companies and when he characterized his contacts with foreign nationals as insubstantial.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. to include information about Cummings’ letter.


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