The 5th Amendment allows someone to remain silent rather than say something that could be self-incriminating. Remaining silent is not a crime whereas making false statements, even inadvertently, may subject someone to prosecution. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has decided to both invoke the 5th Amendment and to refuse to comply with a subpoena. The Senate Intelligence committee issued a subpoena for Flynn’s records on May 10 after he declined to cooperate with an April 28 request for documents. That request was similar to ones received by other Trump associates, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump associate Roger Stone and former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, a person familiar with the Senate investigation told the Associated Press. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential details of the committee’s investigation.

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

Page and Stone shared copies of their request letters with The Associated Press. Those letters sought a wide array of electronic and paper records related to any contacts made between people affiliated with the Trump campaign and Russian officials and businesses. Emails, text messages, letters, phone records and information about financial and real estate holdings associated with Russia were among the information requested by the committee. Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee is not finished:

Responding to the prospect that Flynn would refuse to turn over documents, which was reported earlier Monday by the Associated Press, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an emailed statement that “both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees should continue to seek other ways to gain access to this information.”

Feinstein said she and Republican Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley “have sent requests to the White House, FBI and Defense Department for memos, recordings, notes and other documents. The investigation will go on.”

So the search for documentation of the Trump-Russia scandal continues. And in the background the voice of Donald Trump is chiming in from 2016, when Hillary’s email server was under investigation: “Here’s people taking the Fifth Amendment,” Trump said at the time. “Like you see on the mob, right? You see the mob takes the Fifth.” “If you’re innocent,” he added, “why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” 

Ask Mike Flynn, Donald. 

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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