New subpoenas issued to Flynn's companies

WASHINGTON • The Senate Intelligence Committee is issuing two new subpoenas for information from former national security adviser and retired lieutenant-general Michael Flynn's companies and challenging his lawyer's refusal to comply with an existing subpoena for documents detailing his contacts with Russian officials, committee leaders announced on Tuesday.

"A business does not have the right to take the Fifth," Senator Mark Warner, the committee's lead Democrat, told reporters as he and chairman Richard Burr pledged to "keep all options on the table".

Mr Burr and Mr Warner announced they would subpoena documents from the two Flynn businesses they were aware of - Flynn Intel LLC and Flynn Intel Inc, both based in Alexandria, Virginia.

They are also sending a letter to Mr Flynn's lawyers challenging them on "whether Flynn can take the Fifth as it relates to document production", and itemising more specifically what documents they want Mr Flynn to furnish.

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Under the US Constitution, the Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being witnesses against themselves.

The commitee's moves stop short of seeking a citation of contempt against Mr Flynn for failing to comply with its subpoena - for now.

"We've taken actions that we feel are appropriate right now," Mr Burr said. "If in fact there's not a response, we'll seek additional counsel on how to proceed."

Tuesday's moves come after lawyers told intelligence leaders in a letter on Monday that Mr Flynn would invoke his right against self-incrimination because the documents the committee was requesting were "testimonial" in nature.

They argued that the request for records of calls between June 16, 2015, and Jan 20 this year was especially broad, adding that Mr Flynn had "more than a reasonable apprehension that any testimony he provides could be used against him".

Committee leaders were frustrated with the response and changed the request in a seeming attempt to call Mr Flynn's lawyers' bluff.

Mr Warner also said director of national intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency director Michael Rogers "owe the committee some explanation" about the conversations they had with President Donald Trump in which he asked them to pressure then FBI director James Comey to drop his investigation into alleged links between Mr Trump's campaign and transition teams, and Kremlin officials.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'New subpoenas issued to Flynn's companies'. Print Edition | Subscribe