Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has refused to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee’s demand for testimony and documents, Chairman Adam Schiff wrote in a letter released Monday.
“Notwithstanding repeated efforts by committee staff to engage with your counsel and accommodate your adjournment requests, you have, to date, failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena or cooperate with the committee’s efforts to secure your compliance,” Schiff wrote in the letter to Flynn, which demands that the retired Army lieutenant general appear for testimony on Sept. 25.
Schiff said Flynn’s new counsel, Sidney Powell, “exhibit[ed] a troubling degree of unprofessionalism” in conversations with committee staffers, outlining a series of interactions between Powell and Schiff’s aides.
According to Schiff, Powell “refused to accept service” of the subpoena issued by the panel in June. Schiff indicated that Powell repeatedly sought deadline extensions for Flynn’s cooperation before ultimately ignoring phone calls attempting to arrange Flynn’s testimony for late July, just ahead of Congress’ six-week summer recess.
Schiff also said Powell told the committee that Flynn would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and would not answer any questions other than confirming his name.
“The Fifth Amendment privilege must be invoked in response to specific questions or topics that might tend to incriminate you if answered truthfully,” Schiff said. “Your counsel’s blanket invocation of the Fifth Amendment … is, therefore, inadequate.”
The Intelligence Committee has been attempting to delve into the FBI’s counterintelligence findings about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia in 2016.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador in the weeks before Trump took office, denying that they had discussed sanctions imposed by the outgoing Obama administration for Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
After his guilty plea, Flynn cooperated with former special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, providing evidence that helped bolster allegations of obstruction of justice against Trump, as well as filling in details about the campaign’s interactions with Russians. But Flynn’s decision to oust his legal team and hire Powell earlier this year — just as he was preparing to face sentencing — signaled a shift in strategy.
Powell has been intensely critical of Schiff and Mueller, and she was a fixture in conservative media and a frequent guest on Fox News.
Last week, Powell filed a brief with the judge in Flynn’s case spelling out a litany of allegations of prosecutorial misconduct — much of which aligned with Trump’s unsupported allegations against Mueller and his team — and suggested that the government had withheld evidence from Flynn.
Prosecutors intend to sentence Flynn in the fall. Schiff previously suggested that his cooperation with Congress could influence the sentencing judge, Emmet Sullivan, in a way that could ultimately reduce his sentence.