Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has rejected a subpoena from senators investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and instead invoked his right against self-incrimination, a person familiar with his decision said Monday.
Mr. Flynn had been ordered by the Senate Intelligence Committee to hand over emails and other records related to any dealings with Russians. His decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right puts him at risk of being held in contempt of Congress, which can result in a criminal charge.
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It is up to lawmakers to decide whether to pursue that path. It was not immediately clear how the committee’s leaders would respond, though Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the panel’s Republican chairman, signaled late last week that it might not take that route.
Mr. Flynn’s decision was first reported by The Associated Press.
Mr. Flynn’s legal issues have been a problem for the White House from the start. He is under scrutiny by congressional committees, federal law enforcement officials and the Pentagon’s inspector general for his ties to Russia and Turkey while advising the Trump campaign and then serving as a senior administration official with access to the top secrets of the United States and influence over national security decisions.
The Trump transition team was told weeks before the inauguration that Mr. Flynn was under federal investigation, The New York Times reported last week. White House officials have declined to comment.
Mr. Trump told James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director at the time, that he hoped the director would drop the investigation, according to a memo from Mr. Comey whose contents were shared with The Times. The president made the request not long after Mr. Flynn was forced out of the administration for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his communications with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.