U.S. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to cooperate with a Senate subpoena to hand over documents related to the probe into Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election, U.S. media reports said Monday.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking the documents as part of its investigation.
It is one of several probes looking into Russian interference aimed at helping Trump defeat his Democratic challenger, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interests.
Flynn had previously sought congressional immunity from prosecution before testifying, although no one has granted it to him. Legal experts say that if he had complied with the subpoena for the documents, he risked being unable to invoke his constitutional right against testifying against himself.
Trump fired Flynn in February from his key White House posting after 24 days on the job after learning Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to Washington in the weeks before Trump assumed power in late January.
Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the country’s top investigative agency, was named last week as a special prosecutor to oversee the government’s criminal investigation.
The New York Times said in a report last week the new Trump administration named Flynn as national security adviser even though Flynn told the president-elect’s transition team weeks before the January 20 inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working during the presidential campaign as a paid lobbyist for Turkish interests in the United States.
Flynn was paid more than $500,000 for his Turkish representation. He was also paid more than $30,000 for his involvement with Russian interests, including attending a 2015 dinner in Moscow celebrating the Kremlin-supported RT television network, where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.