— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) April 25, 2017
If you’ve been keeping up with the ever-morphing timeline of known ties between Donald Trump and Russia, you already know that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is chief among those implicated in ongoing investigations. Ever since his resignation in February, the retired U.S. Army Lt. General’s name has come up in subsequent reports pertaining to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ separate investigations into the Trump campaign and administration’s Russian connections. Like when, early Tuesday morning, new reports identified the Russian ties possessed by businessman Ekim Alptekin, who paid for Flynn’s Turkish lobbying.
It’s about to get a whole lot worse for Flynn, as later that same day CNN reported the White House was refusing to comply with the House Oversight Committee’s request for documents pertaining to his Russian dealings. According to a letter composed by White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short, which was addressed to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings, they will be “unable to accommodate” the request. Why? Partially because, Short claims, their office doesn’t have custody of the requested items.
As CNN’s Manu Raju points out, however, the White House “did not respond to a lot of the requests from this committee. In fact, [they] mostly blew off the committee from a number of the things they were looking for to determine whether or not Michael Flynn did accurately and legally disclose these Russian payments.” What’s more, Short argued, many of the documents requested by the Oversight Committee for its particular investigation — which differs slightly from the House and Senate Intel Committees’ probes — weren’t relevant.
Despite not being the Intelligence Committee, however, House Oversight can still forcefully acquire what it needs by issuing subpoenas for the Flynn documents. Then again, as Raju notes, the White House can ignore these subpoenas while citing executive privilege — something past U.S. presidents have done before.
UPDATE: While speaking with reporters, Chaffetz stated, “I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law.” Ouch.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 25, 2017