Michael Flynn, former president Donald Trump’s national security adviser, invoked his Fifth Amendment right Thursday during a deposition before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
Warrington argued that during Thursday’s deposition, “committee staff insinuated that General Flynn’s decision to decline to answer their questions constituted an admission of guilt.”
“According to the Supreme Court, ‘no implication of guilt could be drawn from [one’s] invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege,' ” Warrington noted, accusing the committee of holding views on the amendment that are “in conflict with nearly 250 years of American jurisprudence.”
Flynn has perpetuated Trump’s baseless claims that widespread voting fraud cost him the election, false complaints embraced by the mob that stormed the Capitol to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win. The attack resulted in five dead and injuries to 140 members of law enforcement.
Warrington said the committee’s “insistence on proceeding with this deposition while this matter is still being litigated left General Flynn with no other choice” and called it “political theater.”
“Most of the questions lacked any relation to the legislative purpose contained in House Resolution 503, and many were clearly sourced from fringe news and conspiracy websites and rumors. No American should have to endure such harassment by the legislative branch of our government,” Warrington said.
Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who served as an adviser to the former president for the first 22 days of his administration, was subpoenaed by the committee last year along with five other top Trump advisers. According to the committee, all reportedly participated in discussions about challenging the election results.
In its letter to Flynn, the committee asked specifically about his attendance at the Dec. 18 meeting in the Oval Office “during which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers and continuing to spread the message” that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud.
The letter noted that the previous day, Flynn had spoken with a Newsmax TV interviewer about seizing voting machines, foreign influence in the election, and the purported precedent for deploying military troops and declaring martial law to “rerun” the election. It asked Flynn for all documents and depositions related to these matters.
On March 1, the White House Counsel’s Office informed Flynn and former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro that President Biden would not back claims of executive privilege to shield them from testifying before the select committee.
In response to the White House counsel, Warrington said his client had not asserted executive privilege in connection with the select committee’s subpoena. In addition, Warrington said his client had never refused to appear before the panel.
Flynn sued the House special committee last December in an attempt to block the subpoena, but a judge denied Flynn’s motion for a temporary restraining order.
This would not be the first time Flynn pleaded the Fifth in connection to an investigation into the former president. In 2017, the former national security adviser invoked his right instead of complying with a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena. At the time, the committee was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump has bashed the Fifth Amendment publicly several times, saying only “the mob takes the Fifth” in 2016. Back then, he was referencing former aides to Hillary Clinton, who pleaded the right during inquiries into the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server.
“If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Trump said during the 2016 campaign, as he attacked Clinton and her staff.
Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.