The former national security adviser will invoke his constitutional rights against self incrimination when he refuses to hand over vital documentation to a Senate Intelligence Committee investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In this file picture former national security adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, on February 1, 2017.
In this file picture former national security adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, on February 1, 2017.

Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn will invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination on Monday when he declines to hand over documents to a Senate panel investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

Associated Press reported that Flynn is expected to cite Fifth Amendment protections in a letter Monday to the Senate intelligence committee.

The news agency cited a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The person spoke on condition anonymity because they weren't authorised to publicly discuss private interactions between Flynn and the committee.

The letter was expected to stress that Flynn invoking his constitutional protections was not an admission of wrongdoing but rather a response to the current political climate in which Democratic members of Congress are calling for his prosecution, the person said.

Door not fully closed

The letter does not fully close the door on Flynn's future cooperation with the committee. Flynn's attorney Robert Kelner said in March that Flynn wants to tell his story "should the circumstances permit."

At the time, Kelner noted it would be unreasonable for Flynn to agree to be questioned by the committee "without assurances against unfair prosecution."

Flynn's decision comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for Flynn's documents as part of its ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

In addition to the Senate investigation, Flynn is also being investigated by other congressional committees, as well as an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe and a separate federal criminal investigation in northern Virginia.

Representatives for the Senate committee's Republican chairman, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, and ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, didn't immediately respond to calls and emails inquiring about the committee's next steps.

Second time

Flynn's decision was the second time he has declined to cooperate with requests for documents from the Senate committee.

Flynn also turned down an April 28 request that was similar to ones received by other Trump associates, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump associate Roger Stone and former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

According to copies of letters sent to Page and Stone, the committee sought electronic and paper records involving any contacts between people associated with the Trump campaign and Russian officials and businesses.

The request included emails, text messages, letters, phone records and financial information and documents.

Legal experts had said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the documents without immunity because doing so might compel him to waive some of his constitutional protections.

Flynn has previously sought immunity from what he described as "unfair prosecution" to cooperate with the committee.

Fired in February

Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was fired from his position as Trump's national security adviser in February.

Trump has said he fired Flynn because he misled senior administration officials, including the vice president, about his contacts with Russian officials including Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

As Flynn notified the Senate committee, members of key congressional committees are pledging a full public airing as to why former FBI Director James Comey was ousted amid an intensifying investigation into Russia's interference with the U.S. election.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies