House intel panel will subpoena Flynn businesses: Top Dem

House intel panel will subpoena Flynn businesses: Top Dem
© Michael Bonfigli, Christian Science Monitor

The House Intelligence Committee will issue subpoenas to former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its investigation into Russian election interference, the committee’s top Democrat confirmed Wednesday.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump DOJ lawyers resign en masse over Roger Stone sentencing MORE (Calif.) told reporters he intends to subpoena Flynn’s businesses, following in the footsteps of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That panel on Tuesday issued a second round of subpoenas directed at two Alexandria, Va., companies associated with Flynn — Flynn Intel Inc. and Flynn Intel LLC.

The orders “will be designed to maximize our chance of getting the information that we need,” Schiff said Wednesday during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

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Flynn earlier in the week rebuffed a subpoena for documents from the Senate panel, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

But corporations are not subject to Fifth Amendment protections, providing committee leaders with an alternative avenue to obtain the information they want.

Should Flynn deny either the House or Senate subpoenas for records from his businesses, the two committees will have to decide how far to go in enforcing them.

At the far end that scale is holding Flynn in contempt of Congress — the first step in seeking Justice Department support to enforce the orders.

“We need to use whatever compulsory mechanism necessary to get the information he possesses,” Schiff said Wednesday.

Flynn has for months said he would testify before Congress only if granted immunity, a deal lawmakers have shied away from making to avoid interference with the separate, federal probe into Russian interference in the election. 

Both the House and Senate intel panels are investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election. The Senate panel has not yet asked Flynn to testify — its requests have so far been for documents.

Schiff said that the House committee has asked Flynn to come forward.

Congressional investigations have a longstanding history of coordinating with any simultaneous federal probes to avoid inadvertently damaging the Justice Department’s ability to levy prosecutions in a given case.

In Flynn’s case, the Senate panel has taken a grant of immunity off the table completely. The House panel has been almost as reluctant.

“That’s not something I think we would entertain until far later, if at all,” Schiff said Wednesday. “You can certainly count me as very skeptical that we would get to that point.”