The US Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a subpoena to force former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to turn over documents related to the panels probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the media reported. The subpoena issued on Wednesday night is the first the committee has announced in the course of its Russia investigation, The Washington Post reported.
Committee chairman Republican Richard Burr had previously warned he would issue subpoenas for those who did not cooperate with the investigation. “Everything has been voluntary up to this point, and we’ve interviewed a lot of people, and I want to continue to do it in a voluntary fashion,” Burr said earlier on Wednesday.
“But if in fact the production of things that we need are not provided, then we have a host of tools,” Burr added, indicating that a subpoena was one of them. Flynn, who was forced to resign in February, has come under the committee’s scrutiny over communications he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while a representative of then President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.
Undisclosed payments that Flynn received from Russian-backed entities have also inspired questions from lawmakers looking into allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. In announcing the subpoena, the Senate Intelligence Committee said that Flynn “declined, through counsel, to cooperate with the Committee’s request”, reports The Washington Post.
The announcement comes a day after the Trump administration fired James B. Comey from his post as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), citing his handling of a probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails as the reason for his termination.
The Flynn subpoena also comes one day before the committee is scheduled to hold an annual hearing with the heads of the various government intelligence agencies to discuss worldwide threats. The FBI’s acting director, Andrew McCabe, would attend the briefing.