Former national security adviser Mike Flynn's lawyers will not be honoring the Senate Intelligence Committee's subpoena for documents related to his communications with Russian officials, according to the committee's chairman.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told reporters on Capitol Hill that the committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, is evaluating its next steps.
[W]hen they are stonewalled by a witness, there's often little the committees can do to force quick compliance. Congressional subpoenas, according to lawyer Stanley Brand, sometimes amount to little more than “a piece of paper.”
“They can go the civil route in the Senate, but that’s a lengthy process. That can take a year or more. They could go under the criminal statute, but that’s sort of unavailing because by the time that gets decided, it’ll be the next Congress.”
Senate leaders [will] have to decide whether to vote to hold him in contempt. The matter would then go either to the Justice Department, which could file criminal charges, or to federal district court for civil enforcement.
The decision to vote to hold Flynn in contempt could be a tough one for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has so far backed Trump at every turn of the Russia saga. The issue would force him to choose between his “political prerogatives” of protecting a Republican president and his “institutional prerogatives” of safeguarding the authority of the Senate, according to a Democratic congressional aide who has experience with subpoenas.
The drawn-out congressional subpoena process underscores the limitations of the congressional investigations into Trump’s Russia ties — and why the FBI’s investigation [...] is the one that really matters.