Senate panel seeks Flynn documents in Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate intelligence committee subpoenaed former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn for documents related to the panel’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling.
Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, issued a joint statement saying the panel decided to issue the subpoena after Flynn, through his lawyer, declined to cooperate with an April 28 request to turn over the documents.
Flynn and other associates of President Donald Trump have received similar requests from the committee for information and documents over the past few weeks.
Copies of request letters sent to longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page were shared with The Associated Press. Those letters, which were nearly identical, sought emails, text messages, letters, phone records or any other relevant information they have about meetings or contacts that they or any other individual affiliated with the Trump campaign had with Russian officials or representatives of Russian business interests. They also ask for information about any financial or real estate holdings related to Russia, including any since divested or sold.
Stone, Page, Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort all received similar requests for information, a person familiar with the Senate investigation said. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the committee’s investigation.
The requests sent to Stone and Page covered documents and information from June 2015 through Jan. 20 of this year. During that period, Flynn accepted tens of thousands of dollars from a Russian state-sponsored television network. He later worked as a foreign agent on behalf of a Turkish businessman, while serving as a top Trump campaign adviser. It also covers the post-election time period in which Trump and his transition team decided to appoint Flynn as national security adviser.
Flynn was fired by Trump after less than one month on the job. The White House said Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials about his communications during the presidential transition with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
The subpoena comes as both the Senate committee and its counterpart in the House are investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump associates colluded with those attempts to sway the election. Flynn’s Russia ties are also being scrutinized by the FBI as it conducts a similar investigation.
Flynn attorney Robert Kelner declined to comment on the newly issued subpoena or say why Flynn declined to provide the information earlier. Flynn had previously been in talks with the committee about agreeing to be interviewed as long as he was granted immunity.
In March, Kelner said in a statement that Flynn had a “story to tell,” but said no reasonable person would agree to be questioned by the committee without “assurances against unfair prosecution.”
Other congressional committees and the Pentagon’s inspector general are also separately examining whether Flynn was fully forthcoming about his foreign contacts and earnings from organizations linked to the governments of Russia and Turkey.
The top Democrat and Republican on a House oversight committee have said that Flynn likely broke federal law by failing to get approval from the U.S. government to accept foreign payments and not disclosing them after accepting them.
Among the payments they cited were more than $33,000 from RT, a Russian state-sponsored television network that U.S. intelligence officials have branded as a propaganda front for Russia’s government. The network paid Flynn for attending a December 2015 gala in Moscow during which Flynn was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Turkish payments under scrutiny are part of $530,000 worth of lobbying and investigative work that Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group, performed for a Turkish businessman. In March, Flynn and his firm belatedly registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department for the work, acknowledging it could have benefited the Turkish government.
On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that Flynn is at odds with his former Turkish client over two unusual payments totaling $80,000 that Flynn’s firm sent back last year to the client.
Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group, told the Justice Department in March that the two $40,000 payments were consulting fees for unspecified work. But Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin has told the AP that the payments from Flynn’s firm were refunds for unperformed lobbying. The difference matters because Flynn’s foreign business relationships and the veracity of his disclosures are under scrutiny by congressional, military and intelligence inquiries.
Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Julie Pace contributed to this report.