Elijah Cummings; Michael Flynn (Wikimedia/Angela Stafford/AP/Lauren Victoria Burke/Manuel Balce Ceneta/Photo Montage by Salon)

Mike Flynn lied to the Pentagon about his relationship with Russia, letter from Elijah Cummings alleges

Senators won't rule out holding Flynn in contempt of Congress for invoking the Fifth Amendment


Taylor Link
May 23, 2017 1:20PM (UTC)

Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, lied to federal investigators who interviewed him in 2016 as part of his security clearance renewal, according to a letter written by Rep. Elija Cummings, the ranking member on the House oversight committee.

Cummings wrote Monday that his committee was in the possession of documents that showed that Flynn misled security clearance investigators when he told them that he was paid by "U.S. companies" when traveled to Moscow in December 2015 to attend a gala with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cummings claimed in the letter that the actual source of the funds for Flynn's trip was Russia Today, the state-run media outlet.

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Flynn submitted his application for his security clearance in Jan. 2016, roughly one month after he traveled to Moscow. He was later questioned by investigators who would not learn of the $45,000 Flynn was paid by RT for dining with Putin, Cummings' letter alleged.

Cummings addressed the letter to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House oversight committee, to request a subpoena against Flynn to compel him to hand over relevant documents to Congress.

Even if Chaffetz issued a subpoena, however, Flynn has already invoked the Fifth Amendment in the investigation in the Senate intelligence committee. Flynn's lawyer wrote a letter informing the committee that Flynn was going to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against production of documents, CNN reported.

Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said Monday that he was reviewing options to compel Flynn to comply, including holding Flynn in contempt, CNN reported.

"It does us no good in having people pleading the Fifth if we are trying to get information," Burr said. "The only thing I can tell you is immunity is off the table."

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The case against Flynn has become more and more public in recent weeks as Congress prepares to start reviewing officials from the Trump campaign. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump adviser Roger Stone have produced documents to the Senate intelligence committee.

Meanwhile, one member of the Trump transition is trying to distance himself as much as possible from Flynn. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that he warned Trump about hiring Flynn, CNN reported.

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"I think it's safe to say that General Flynn and I didn't see eye-to eye," Christie said at a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey. "I didn't think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the President or to the administration, and I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump."


Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

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