Former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday sued the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, claiming its subpoenas violate his rights to free speech and against self-incrimination.
"Without intervention by this Court, General Flynn faces the harm of being irreparably and illegally coerced to produce information and testimony in violation of the law and his constitutional rights," said the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Florida where Flynn now lives.
In a letter to Flynn last month, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee's chair, said the panel wanted to ask the retired lieutenant general about a meeting he had with then-President Donald Trump and others in the Oval Office in December 2020. During the meeting, the letter said, "participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers, and continuing to spread the message that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud."
The letter noted that Flynn, who briefly served as Trump's national security adviser, made similar suggestions in an interview with Newsmax the day before the White House meeting.
Flynn's lawsuit makes many of the same arguments put forth by other Trump allies challenging their subpoenas, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and radio host Alex Jones. It contends the House committee doesn't have the power to issue subpoenas because it doesn't have enough Republican members and that it lacks the necessary "legislative purpose" – an argument a Washington, D.C., appeals court has already knocked down.
The nine-member House panel consists of two Republicans and seven Democrats.
Flynn's lawyer argued in Tuesday's lawsuit that his client had nothing to do with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and accused the committee of overreaching with its subpoenas. The suit said the panel wants documents including "a broad set of document requests that pertain to his 1st Amendment activity as a private citizen, including the basis of his political beliefs, what he communicated about his political beliefs, and to whom he communicated those political beliefs."
It argues the committee is also violating Flynn's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by asking for documents involving a nonprofit, founded by Flynn's former criminal lawyer Sidney Powell, where Flynn was briefly the director. The nonprofit, called Defending the Republic, is being investigated by the Department of Justice, the suit said.
"Compelling General Flynn to produce the types of records identified in the Subpoena would violate General Flynn’s 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to the extent that admissions that certain records exist, that they are in his possession, and that they are authentic may be used as evidence against him in the aforementioned criminal investigation," the suit says.
Neither the House committee nor the Justice Department immediately responded to requests for comment.
Flynn's lawsuit went on to say that he is concerned he could face a criminal contempt of charge if he does not cooperate with the Jan. 6 panel.
"General Flynn is caught between alternatives that both risk criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice, either in an ongoing criminal probe, or in a new prosecution for contempt of Congress," the suit says.
Flynn has been prosecuted by the Justice Department before. He pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about a conversation he had with a Russian diplomat while cooperating with now-former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He later stopped cooperating and sought to withdraw the guilty plea. Trump granted him a full pardon last year.
The suit filed Tuesday said Flynn "was famously led into a perjury trap" by the FBI.
Source: Read Full Article