After stonewalling requests to provide information related to the investigation into the Trump campaign’s involvement in Russian influence on the 2016 presidential campaign, sources close to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said today that he will provide at least some business and personal documents sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Flynn, who is a central figure in the multiple investigations, had refused a prior request to provide documents, invoking the Fifth Amendment right of an individual that says he is not obligated to incriminate himself.
Flynn did offer to testify if he was given immunity, but that request was refused.
Now, according to an Associated Press report published by CNBC, he will turn over a trove of documents, probably next week.
The reason he is now cooperating to at least some extent is that he can no longer hide behind the Fifth Amendment. The Senate subpoena this time asks for all information related to his incorporated business entities, which is not protected by the Fifth Amendment.
Flynn came to prominence in the U.S. Army, serving for about 33 years all over the world, but most notably working in the areas of military intelligence. When he retired from the military in 2014, he held the rank of Lieutenant General.
In 2012, Flynn had been appointed by President Obama director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was fired from that job by Obama in 2014, reportedly for a chaotic management style and after clashing with his superiors over his vision for the agency.
After the Army, Flynn formed a private consulting company with his son, to provide intelligence services to business and government. Among his early clients were some large companies in Russia.
Flynn wrote an op-ed praising the ruling AKP party of Turkey and its dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan; it was later revealed that he was paid over half a million dollars by Turkey for his work as a lobbyist in Washington.
During the 2016 presidential election, Flynn consulted for several Republican candidates, including Scott Walker and Ted Cruz, before going to work for Donald Trump. In July 2016, he became an advisor to the Trump campaign.
Flynn gave a keynote address at the Republican convention that nominated Trump for president. In his speech, he criticized President Obama and attacked Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Flynn helped lead a chant about Clinton, with the crowd calling out, “Lock her up.”
For a time Flynn was reported to be under consideration to be Vice President under Trump. Instead, he was named National Security Advisor. However, instead, he was hired as National Security Agency head in November 2016, only to be fired in February 2017, according to the Trump administration, for lying to Vice President Pence about his connections to Russia and Turkey.
In March 2017, Flynn registered as a foreign agent representing Turkey in D.C.
It was after he was forced out of the NSA that the extent of his contacts with, and connections to, shady Russians and Russian intelligence began to leak out.
As the demands for an investigation into Russian interference in the election grew, so did distrust of Flynn, who is a central figure being investigated not just by the Senate, but also by the House Intelligence Committee, the government ethics office, a grand jury, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
What Flynn has to say directly or through his documents may be a key to opening up a new phase of the Russia-Trump collusion investigation. It is expected to provide links between the Trump campaign and the Russian hacking and interference in the American electoral process.
This adds significant momentum to the investigations and will put added pressure on Trump and those around him and his former employees who have yet to tell the whole and true story of Putin, Trump, the dirty tricks of 2016 and the cover-up.