WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to force former national security adviser Michael Flynn to turn over documents related to the panel’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, including possible ties between the Kremlin and the presidential campaigns.
It is the first subpoena the committee has announced in the course of its Russia investigation — a step Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., was long reluctant to take. But the chairman began signaling this week that if Trump surrogates did not turn over requested materials to the committee by Tuesday — a deadline that some missed — he and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., might begin issuing subpoenas.
‘‘Everything has been voluntary up to this point, and we’ve interviewed a lot of people and I want to continue to do it in a voluntary fashion,’’ Burr said Wednesday morning.
‘‘But if in fact the production of things that we need are not provided, then we have a host of tools,’’ Burr added, indicating that a subpoena was one of them.
Flynn attorney Robert Kelner declined comment. Flynn had previously been in talks with the committee about agreeing to be interviewed as part of the investigation as long as he was granted immunity.
In March, Kelner said in a statement that Flynn had a ‘‘story to tell’’ but no reasonable person would agree to be questioned by the committee without ‘‘assurances against unfair prosecution.’’
Burr and Warner originally requested the documents addressed in the Wednesday subpoena in a letter dated April 28. In announcing the subpoena, the Senate Intelligence Committee said that Flynn ‘‘declined, through counsel, to cooperate with the Committee’s request.’’
Flynn has come under committee scrutiny over communications he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while a representative of then-President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. Undisclosed payments that Flynn received from Russian-backed entities, such as Kremlin-sponsored television network RT, have also inspired questions from lawmakers looking into allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
BREAKING: the Senate Intel Cmte has issued a subpoena to Michael Flynn for Docs related to their Russia Investigation: pic.twitter.com/TrNcyMJbn7
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) May 10, 2017