General Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor, on Monday forcefully refused to turn over subpoenaed documents demanded by the Senate Intelligence committee, blasting it for its “sweeping” subpoena for documents.
A source close to Flynn told The Daily Caller News Foundation its Russia investigation request appeared to be a “fishing expedition.”
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert K. Kelner, charged the committee displayed “foregone conclusions” that the decorated three-star general was guilty as part of an “escalating public frenzy.”
The committee’s original May 10 letter to Flynn demanded the general turn over information about all meetings and communications between himself and unnamed Russian officials and all records of communications between himself and all of President Trump’s campaign staff over an 18 month period, from June 16, 2015 to Jan. 20, 2017.
“The broad sweep and lack of specificity of these demands clearly reflect that the Committee does not have specific knowledge regarding the existence of any particular responsive documents,” charged Robert K. Kelner, Gen. Flynn’s lawyer, in a May 22 letter to Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and ranking Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia.
Kelner charged the committee already had drawn “forgone conclusions” and that the senators do not appear impartial.
“Multiple Members of Congress have demanded he be investigated and even prosecuted,” Kelner wrote. “He is the target on a nearly a daily basis of outrageous allegations often attributed to anonymous sources in Congress.”
Keller said the committee’s request was so broad it really was a request for direct testimony. “This not merely a demand to produce existing documents. It is actually an interrogatory.”
Flynn is facing a daunting task of responding to numerous probes, including the Senate inquiry, an official investigation by a new special counsel, an FBI investigation and requests to his business associates for a sitting grand jury.
The general was fired by the president after only 17 days in office for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversation with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador, on Dec. 29 — the same day President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats over electoral meddling.
During the presidential transition period, Flynn told TheDCNF he contacted more than 30 heads of states and ambassadors as part of his new job advising Trump. One of those conversations included Kislyak.
TheDCNF reported last week that Russian officials had 18 previously undisclosed exchanges with various Trump administration officials, but “they saw no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the two.
Rep. Maxine Waters, the outspoken California Democrat who is critical of the Trump administration, admitted when pressed on MSNBC that there still is no evidence of collusion.
Flynn originally told Pence that there had been no discussion with the Russian ambassador over the sanctions and diplomatic expulsion, but a recording by the National Security Agency furnished to the Obama administration suggested he did.
The NSA “unmasking” of Flynn and potentially other Trump transition team by the Obama White House has become a second firestorm in the nation’s capital.
Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, allegedly ordered the unmasking of Flynn and other Trump officials. The information was subsequently leaked to The Washington Post in a Feb. 9 article citing Flynn’s discrepancy. The newspaper only quoted anonymous “current and former U.S. officials.”
Widespread leaking of confidential presidential conversations also has rocked Washington.
Yesterday Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told ABC “This Week” that those who leak classified information about Trump’s meeting with Russia’s foreign minister should be prosecuted and jailed.”
“I want to see that this person is prosecuted,” Chaffetz said. “I think the president makes a very good point. No matter who is in the White House, you cannot have the type of leaking of information, sources, methods, classified information,” he said. “I don’t care who it is, Democrat or Republican, you cannot have that happen. So, not only do you need to wall them off, you probably ought to put handcuffs on them and put them in jail.”
It was again The Washington Post that accused President Trump of disclosing “highly classified information” during his Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak. National Security Adviser H. R. McMasters told reporters the day the Post allegations surfaced that the information shared with the Russians was “wholly appropriate.”
Flynn, who also served as the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, offered to testify before the Senate intelligence committee but under the protection of immunity. The committee declined to extend any legal protection. It has been previously reported that Flynn sought immunity from the Department of Justice.
The Justice Department has also appointed former FBI Director James Mueller as special counsel to direct its Russia probe.
The U.S. Attorney for Alexandria, Virginia has further issued subpoenas of business records of Flynn’s business associates for a lobbying company he owned.
Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group, received $530,000 from Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting firm owned by a Turkish businessman with ties to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The final payment came on Nov. 14, days after Trump won the election.
Congress has been concerned about the fate of the FBI’s role in probing the Russian issue after President Trump unexpectedly fired Director James Comey.
But less than 48 hours after President Trump fired Comey, Andrew McCabe, now the acting FBI director, reassured the Senate Select Committee that the probe was going forward.
“The work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions, so there has been no effort to impede our investigation to date,” McCabe said.
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