US House panel calls on former top Trump aide Flynn to testify

House intelligence panel demands Trump's former national security adviser testify before the committee on September 25.

    Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia's ambassador to the United States [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
    Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia's ambassador to the United States [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

    The United States House Intelligence Committee has sent a letter to Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, demanding he testify before the panel on September 25, a committee aide said on Monday.

    In a letter sent on Friday and seen by Reuters news agency, the committee said Flynn had failed to comply with its subpoena, served on June 12, or cooperate with its efforts to secure his compliance.

    Lawyers for Flynn did not immediately respond to Reuters's request for comment.

    Flynn, a retired US Army lieutenant general, resigned as Trump's national security adviser in February 2017.

    He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about conversations with Sergey Kislyak, who was Russia's ambassador to the US, about US sanctions imposed on Moscow by former President Barack Obama.

    That plea came in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

    Flynn was one of the first people in Trump's inner circle to be charged by Mueller's prosecutors for lying to investigators.

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    Flynn worked on Trump's election campaign and the conversations with Kislyak took place between Trump's November 2016 election victory and his inauguration in January 2017.

    After pleading guilty, he cooperated with Mueller's investigation. US media noted, however, that Flynn has since hired a new legal team and has appeared to change his strategy. 

    Flynn's lawyer reportedly told the committee her client would invoke the Fifth Amendment and would not answer any questions from the committee.  

    "The Fifth Amendment privilege must be invoked in response to specific questions or topics that might tend to incriminate you if answered truthfully," Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was quoted by Politico as saying. "Your counsel's blanket invocation of the Fifth Amendment … is, therefore, inadequate."

    Flynn is expected to be sentenced in October or November. 

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    Mueller, who concluded his 22-month investigation earlier this year, did not find evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. He made no final recommendation on whether there was obstruction of justice by President Trump, but outlined multiple incidents in which Trump tried to impede the investigation.

    Mueller told Congress that he had not "exculpated" Trump as the president has claimed. Trump has repeatedly referred to the Mueller investigation as a "witch-hunt". 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies