Senate intel chair backtracks on claim Flynn won't honor subpoena

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Burr told reporters Thursday that Flynn's lawyer informed the panel he will not abide by a subpoena for private documents. A lawyer for Flynn did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

But following his departure, a lawyer for Flynn said that the retired lieutenant general would testify in front of the Senate committee in exchange for "assurances against unfair prosecution".

The subpoena probing Flynn's ties to Russia is part of a broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged collusion between President Trump's campaign and Moscow.

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Flynn signed a $600,000 contract last August with a Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin.

The communications had been intercepted by the USA intelligence community because they involved Russian officials, who are routinely monitored for national security concerns.

Flynn Intel was paid only $530,000 for the work, which ended in November after Trump's election victory. (Interestingly, the current U.S. Attorney for D.C. Channing Phillips was not yet asked to resign because of the nature of his appointment.) Flynn, however, is not a current official and, recent federal grand jury subpoenas to Flynn's associates were issued by the Eastern District of Virginia. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe and requested anonymity. Flynn, who had worked as Trump's national security adviser during the campaign and served in the White House for less than a month, has been at the center of the controversy.

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Congress could seek civil enforcement of the subpoena, a step the House tried to take against former Attorney General Eric Holder after he was held in contempt of Congress in relation to the "Fast and Furious" operation scandal. That inquiry is looking into whether Flynn was fully forthcoming about his foreign contacts and earnings from organizations linked to the governments of Russian Federation and Turkey.

Flynn is separately being investigated by the Defense Department's inspector general.

The top Democrat and Republican on a House oversight committee have said Flynn likely broke federal law by failing to get approval from the US government to accept foreign payments, including $33,000 in 2015 from RT, Russia's state-sponsored television network.

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"The criminal contempt process takes forever - you vote [for] it and then it goes to the USA attorney and he has to decide what to do with it", senior counsel Stanley Brand of the Akin Gump firm told Politico.

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