TV news outlets filled Monday’s dead time in President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel ruminating on news that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn refused a subpoena to cough up documents to the Senate Intel Committee.
Rather than turn over the records, the retired lieutenant general’s lawyers sent the committee a letter saying their client is invoking his Fifth Amendment rights because of the “escalating public frenzy against him” and DOJ’s naming former FBI Director Rob Mueller as special counsel, creating a “legally dangerous environment for [Flynn] to cooperate with a Senate investigation.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting an investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential race and whether Trump campaign members colluded with Russia on that. Multiple intelligence agencies in this country agreed in January that Russia meddled in the race to hurt Hillary Clinton.
Trump asked Flynn to resign in February, attributing the move to press revelations that he misled Veep Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Subsequent press reports indicate Team Trump had known about that much sooner.
Flynn asked for immunity in March, but the Senate Intel Committee was not receptive. Flynn’s attorney said his client wanted to talk in exchange for immunity, teasing, “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”
Which brought to mind that gag of Flynn’s, which he tried out on NBC’s Sunday Beltway show Meet the Press a few months before that: “When you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.” Of course, he was talking about Clinton, of whom Flynn led “Lock Her Up” chants at the RNC. And Trump, at a campaign rally back then, had echoed those thoughts on Clinton, telling fans and TV cameras, “If you’re not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?”
When Flynn sought immunity, Trump reacted via Twitter:
In addition to the Senate committee, the House and the FBI are also investigating Russian meddling in the election.