UPDATE 2 — 5/22, 10:16 a.m. EDT: AP is reporting a source close to the situation has said Michael Flynn will invoke the 5th Amendment in refusing a subpoena issued by the Senate intelligence committee to hand-over all materials related to his dealings with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
UPDATE — 5/21, 9:07 a.m. EDT: Anonymous current and former U.S. government officials told CNN Friday that the Russians believed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn could be used as a Kremlin advocate within the Trump administration.
During the White House transition period, Flynn spoke with Russia’s U.S. ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, about sanctions levied by the Obama administration against Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election. Flynn allegedly told Kislyak that the incoming administration would consider lifting those sanctions once the new president was sworn into office.
Flynn’s personal relationship with Kislyak dates back to June 2013 when he met the ambassador in Russia during an official visit as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In December 2015, Flynn attended a ceremony in Moscow honoring Russian television network RT, for which he was paid a $45,000 appearance fee.
Despite receiving a summons on Wednesday, May 10, to turn over documents related to an ongoing Senate intelligence committee probe over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, attorneys representing President Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn have not signaled whether Flynn intends to comply.
Gen. Flynn had failed to comply with a Senate request for documents on April 28, which apparently consisted of any records related to contacts with Russian entities, including business interests.
“General Flynn’s attorneys have not yet indicated their intentions regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoena. Consistent with the committee’s position since the beginning of (our) investigation, I welcome their willingness to cooperate,” Senate intelligence chair, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), said in a statement.
Reports conflict, however, with some congressional sources stating committee members were in negotiations with Flynn’s attorneys and Burr telling reporters lawyers representing the former Army general would not comply with requests for documents.
Just as what appears to be a congressional showdown between Flynn and the intelligence committee began to take shape, a report by McClatchy’s Washington bureau suggests Flynn is now embroiled in a matter that occurred while serving as a paid agent for the government of Turkey.
According to the report, as a member of the Trump transition team, Flynn met with officials of the Obama administration 10 days prior to the presidential inauguration and argued against a plan conceived by the former White House for a planned attack against the Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold, Raqqa.
The plan orchestrated by the Obama administration revolved around the U.S. alliance with Kurdish partners in the region and the possibility of arming Kurdish groups, which are at odds with Turkey.
According to documents provided to Congress, Flynn disapproved of the move, telling then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice to halt implementation of the plan, also opposed by the Turkish government, which Flynn was representing for a fee of $530,000.
There is no evidence Flynn had consulted with Trump officials prior to or after the meeting, nor is there any indication Flynn’s disapproval was documented.
President Trump eventually agreed to a similar plan and has directed the Pentagon to arm Kurdish groups over the objections of the Turkish government.
[Reuters] [AP] [McClatchy DC] [Photo courtesy Getty Images/Washington Post via Esquire]