The Trump ally and former nationwide safety adviser is the most recent high-profile witness to sidestep questions from the Home committee by citing the appropriate in opposition to self-incrimination.
WASHINGTON — The Home committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol bumped into a well-recognized roadblock on Thursday as yet one more high-profile witness invoked his proper in opposition to self-incrimination relatively than reply questions concerning the occasions that led to a mob assault on Congress.
Michael T. Flynn, a former nationwide safety adviser who was one of the most extreme voices in former President Donald J. Trump’s push to overturn the election, repeatedly cited the Fifth Modification earlier than the committee as a result of, his lawyer stated, he believes the panel is exploring prison referrals in opposition to Mr. Trump and his allies.
“This privilege protects all People, not simply Normal Flynn,” Mr. Flynn’s lawyer, David Warrington, stated in a press release.
Mr. Flynn turned at the very least the fifth high-profile witness to take a seat for a prolonged interview with the panel solely to say no — time and again — to reply the committee’s questions. Others citing the Fifth Modification earlier than the committee embody Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Division lawyer who participated in Mr. Trump’s frenzied makes an attempt to overturn the election; John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who wrote a memo that some in each events have likened to a blueprint for a coup; the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr.; and the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Mr. Eastman and his lawyer invoked the Fifth Amendment 146 times throughout his deposition, repeatedly stating the phrase “fifth” as an alternative of uttering full sentences. Mr. Jones stated he invoked the Fifth Amendment nearly 100 times. Mr. Stone stated he did so to every question asked.
Some high-profile witnesses settled on that technique after the committee initially really helpful prison contempt of Congress expenses in opposition to three witnesses — the previous Trump adviser Stephen Ok. Bannon, the previous White Home chief of workers Mark Meadows and Mr. Clark — who refused to reply questions.
However earlier than the committee forwarded a contempt suggestion to the complete Home, Mr. Clark’s lawyer let the panel know he would sit for one more interview wherein he repeatedly invoked his proper in opposition to self-incrimination. That successfully ended the potential contempt cost in opposition to him.
Regardless of the refusal of some high-profile witnesses to reply questions, the committee has used different ways to get solutions, together with questioning lower-level workers members. The panel has additionally mentioned the opportunity of granting some witnesses immunity to encourage them to take part, a technique that was used dozens of occasions throughout Congress’s investigation of the Iran-contra scandal within the 1980s.
The Home committee has stated it needs data from Mr. Flynn as a result of he attended a meeting in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, wherein members mentioned seizing voting machines, declaring a nationwide emergency, invoking sure nationwide safety emergency powers and persevering with to unfold the false concept that the election was tainted by widespread fraud.
That assembly got here after Mr. Flynn gave an interview to the right-wing media website Newsmax wherein he talked concerning the purported precedent for deploying army troops and declaring martial legislation to “rerun” the election.
Capitol Riot’s Aftermath: Key Developments
The primary trial. Man Wesley Reffitt, a Texas man who helped lead a pro-Trump mob in opposition to the police in the course of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, was convicted of obstructing Congress’s duty to certify the 2020 election. The decision introduced an finish to the primary prison trial to stem from the riot.
After the deposition on Thursday, Mr. Warrington took umbrage at what he stated have been insinuations from the committee’s workers that Mr. Flynn’s “resolution to say no to reply their questions constituted an act of contrition.”
“The committee’s view that the invocation of the Fifth Modification is an act of contrition is in battle with practically 250 years of American jurisprudence and signify a disturbing denial of the which means and existence of this very important constitutional proper,” Mr. Warrington stated.
Mr. Flynn has sued the committee to try to block its subpoena, and Mr. Warrington argued that the panel ought to have waited to depose Mr. Flynn till after his lawsuit was resolved. He additionally accused the committee of basing a few of its questions on data from “fringe information and conspiracy web sites and rumors.”