Michael Flynn became the latest Trump loyalist to sue the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. The disgraced former national security advisor filed suit Tuesday to halt the enforcement of a subpoena for testimony and documents.
Flynn’s attorneys argued in the filing that complying with the subpoena could violate his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech as well as his right not to self-incriminate. “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,” the lawsuit said.
Flynn, who served a short stint as Trump’s national security adviser and was later pardoned by Trump after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, claimed in the suit that he hired a vendor “to collect and process General Flynn’s documents, which it did, so that they could be preserved, reviewed and produced to the Select Committee.” But, the filing said, talks between him and the committee started to crumble when Flynn tried to limit the topics the committee could ask him about. The suit also mentioned Flynn’s confession to the FBI, claiming that he “was famously led into a perjury trap” by the law enforcement agency.
In a letter to Flynn on Nov. 8, Jan. 6 committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote that the panel wanted to speak with him about a meeting Flynn attended with Trump and others in the Oval Office in Dec. 2020. At 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 suit acknowledged that Flynn could be charged with criminal contempt. “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 said.
Fellow Trump ally Steve Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt in November, and the House of Representatives voted earlier this month to hold former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt.
A number of potential witnesses have filed suit against the committee, including Meadows, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and Stop the Steal organizers, among others. Many of the suits claim that the Jan. 6 committee lacks constitutional authority and a required “legislative purpose.” But a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in a suit filed by Trump against the panel found that “the January 6th Committee plainly has a ‘valid legislative purpose’ and its inquiry ‘concern[s] a subject on which legislation could be had.'”