Michael Flynn is keeping quiet. Trump’s former national security adviser will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination Monday, when he informs the Senate Intelligence Committee that he will not honor its subpoena, the Associated Press reports.
Flynn’s decision is not a surprise. The Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced last week that Flynn was not honoring its request for private documents. And legal experts have suggested that such defiance is probably wise. The retired general has already learned the virtues of keeping quiet the hard way: Flynn agreed to speak with the FBI without a lawyer back in January, and, reportedly, lied to the agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador — a felony offense that could land him in jail.
Flynn has previously signaled a willingness to cooperate with the Senate committee in exchange for immunity from “unfair prosecution.”
The retired general’s tenure in the White House was cut short by revelations that he had misled Vice-President Pence about the nature of his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Weeks after his departure, Flynn acknowledged that he had been on the payroll of the Turkish government while serving as a top surrogate and adviser to Trump’s campaign — even as the GOP standard-bearer accused his rival of making “pay-to-play” arrangements with foreign governments.
Weeks after that, news broke that Flynn had neglected to list three Russia-linked sources of income — including $45,000 in speaking fees from the Kremlin-backed RT news network — in his legally required White House ethics forms.
Last month, the top Democratic and Republican members of the House Oversight Committee announced that Flynn’s failure to disclose the payments he received from foreign governments likely constituted a violation of U.S. law.
That same day, Flynn reportedly told friends, “I just got a message from the president to stay strong.”