Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor to former President Donald Trump, is suing the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack.
Flynn is suing the January 6 commission to block a subpoena of his phone records and to avoid facing consequences for refusing to give a deposition on Trump’s plans to overthrow the 2020 election.
Flynn’s lawsuit contends that the commission’s demands are in violation of his constitutional rights, including Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.
Several other Trump associates have recently invoked the Fifth Amendment as a strategy to avoid giving a deposition before the commission.
The commission had initially agreed to postpone Flynn’s deposition until December 20, noting that he and his lawyers had been trying to negotiate the terms of his pending testimony. But Flynn failed to appear at the deposition, and filed his lawsuit against the commission one day after he was supposed to appear.
The commission has said that it wants Flynn to appear before them in spite of his objections, according to Flynn’s attorney, “to invoke his 5th Amendment privilege before the Committee, even if it was effectively the only thing he could do.” After Flynn appeared before them, “the Committee could refer General Flynn for prosecution for contempt of Congress” if members of the commission deemed it appropriate.
The commission wants to discuss a number of issues with Flynn, including a plan he allegedly concocted last year to seize voting machines in order to perpetuate Trump’s false claims of election fraud. According to a letter the commission sent him outlining the subpoena request last month, Flynn attended a meeting in the Oval Office with Trump and his inner circle on December 18, 2020. At that meeting, “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 day before that meeting, Flynn pushed some of those same claims during an appearance on Newsmax TV, asserting that Trump could “[deploy] military troops and [declare] martial law to ‘rerun’ the election,” the commission said.
According to Politico’s senior legal affairs reporter Josh Gerstein, Flynn’s lawsuit doesn’t appear to be in response to recent actions of the commission or the failure to reach an agreement on the terms of his testimony, as it contends to be. Rather, the “suit reads like it’s been on the shelf a while,” Gerstein said on Twitter, pointing out that Flynn’s lawyers refer to over 500 Trump loyalists being charged in relation to the Capitol attack, even though the number is now over 700. The lawsuit also refers to arguments within a lawsuit filed by Trump on November 30, “but not the decision adverse to Flynn’s side on Dec. 9,” Gerstein said.
Main Street Law founder and frequent Trump critic Tristan Snell has contended that Flynn’s lawsuit against the January 6 commission — and similar suits from Trump and his former aides — aren’t legally sound.
“The ‘lawsuits’ from Michael Flynn, Mark Meadows, and Donald Trump not only lack any merit — they are frivolous,” Snell said, “and the attorneys who filed them should be sanctioned and fined.”