Thursday 27 July 2017

Subpoenas pile up for Michael Flynn's documents in Russia probe

Michael Flynn is also the subject of an FBI counter-intelligence investigation and a Defence Department inspector general's inquiry (AP)
Michael Flynn is also the subject of an FBI counter-intelligence investigation and a Defence Department inspector general's inquiry (AP)

Subpoenas for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn are piling up as the House intelligence committee pressured him to co-operate with its investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The prospect of new congressional subpoenas came a day after the committee's Senate counterpart served its own subpoenas to Mr Flynn's businesses.

The FBI also informed a House committee that it would not be complying with a Wednesday deadline to turn over memos written by former FBI director James Comey detailing his discussions with President Donald Trump.

One memo reportedly shows Mr Trump pressuring Mr Comey to shut down the bureau's investigation into Mr Flynn's Russia ties.

Meanwhile, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page said he will testify next month before the House intelligence committee, and the New York Times reported that US intelligence services obtained information during the 2016 election that showed senior Russian officials discussing how to influence Mr Trump through his advisers.

Citing three current and former American officials, the Times said US intelligence officials collected information last summer showing Russians zeroed in on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Mr Flynn, a former head of US military intelligence who was a key Trump campaign adviser.

The Russian officials thought the pair could be used to influence Mr Trump's views on Russia.

The Times said some of the Russian officials bragged about ties to Mr Flynn, and others thought they could use Mr Manafort's association with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who led a pro-Russian political party, to their advantage.

A day earlier, former CIA director John Brennan told a House committee that he had seen intelligence that "revealed contacts and interactions" between Russian officials and Americans "involved" in the Trump campaign.

Representative Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee's top Democrat, told reporters Mr Flynn declined to turn over records to the committee, and he said it will be "following up with subpoenas".

The attempts to compel Mr Flynn to produce documents were another sign of the intense focus on Mr Trump's former national security adviser, who was fired in February after the White House said he misled administration officials, including vice president Mike Pence, about his contacts with Russian officials.

In addition to the congressional scrutiny, he is a target of an FBI counter-intelligence investigation, a federal probe in Virginia and a Defence Department inspector general's inquiry into the propriety of foreign payments he accepted.

In a letter to the Senate committee on Monday, Mr Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination in deflecting the panel's subpoena for a wide array of documents and information related to his contacts with Russians.

AP

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