Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser currently under investigation for his ties to Russian officials, will not be cooperating with the Senate investigation into the 2016 election, the Associated Press reported.
Flynn reportedly plans to plead the Fifth Amendment — the right against self-incrimination — to avoid disclosing documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which lawmakers subpoenaed last week.
Last week, rumors swirled that Flynn would not cooperate with the Senate investigations, consistent with reports today. Should Flynn plead the Fifth, dodging testimony and subpoena, then Congress would have three options to proceed, as the Huffington Post reported: 1) detain Flynn until he complies, 2) refer him to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution, or 3) get a civil judgment from a federal court to push Flynn to cooperate. Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has not made clear which path forward, if any, Congress would pursue.
There was already pressure for the Intelligence Committee to accelerate its investigation into Flynn after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9 — but those calls reached a fever pitch after reports revealed memos from Comey, in which Trump told the FBI he hoped they would drop investigations into Flynn. The Intelligence Committee has now demanded the FBI turn over all of its Comey memos and issued a formal subpoena to Flynn — which he plans to ignore.
The White House has come under the scrutiny of its own party over the onslaught of Russia-related scandals in the past weeks. Trump abruptly fired Comey from the FBI two weeks ago, admitting to the press that he had been frustrated with the Russia investigations. Then the Washington Post released a report alleging that Trump had revealed highly classified intelligence to the Russian foreign minister during his Oval Office visit.
Despite all of this, Trump reportedly maintained a close relationship with Flynn — telling him to “stay strong” during investigations.
It’s some rich irony coming from Trump — and Flynn; both had said, when Hillary Clinton was engulfed in investigations, that her aide pleading the Fifth Amendment was essentially an admission of guilt.
“So there are five of them taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right?” Trump said at rally in Iowa during the campaign. “The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
The tables have turned.
- There are a lot of different investigations into the Russia-related scandals. Here’s a breakdown of every investigation related to Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.
- Congressional Republicans are desperate to move on from these scandals and focus on legislating. But these investigations will continue to loom over their agenda.
- The American public has begun forming opinions on these Russia-related scandals — and it doesn’t look good for Trump.