Flynn Sues Jan. 6 Committee as House Republican Rebuffs Investigators

Nelita Collins

WASHINGTON — Two allies of former President Donald J. Trump took steps on Tuesday to try to stonewall the House committee investigating the Capitol attack as Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, filed a lawsuit against the panel, and a House Republican who played a key role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election refused to meet with investigators.

Mr. Flynn, who spent 33 years as an Army officer and has emerged as one of the most extreme voices in Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the election, filed suit against the committee in Florida, trying to block its subpoenas.

“Like many Americans in late 2020, and to this day, General Flynn has sincerely held concerns about the integrity of the 2020 elections,” his lawsuit states. “It is not a crime to hold such beliefs, regardless of whether they are correct or mistaken.”

The House committee has said it wants information from Mr. Flynn because he attended a meeting in the Oval Office on Dec. 18 in which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers and continuing to spread the false idea that the election was tainted by widespread fraud. That meeting came after Mr. Flynn gave an interview to the right-wing media site Newsmax in which he talked about the purported precedent for deploying military troops and declaring martial law to “rerun” the election.

Mr. Flynn’s suit comes as Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican closely involved in Mr. Trump’s push to undermine the election, said on Tuesday that he was refusing to meet with the Jan. 6 committee.

Mr. Perry, the incoming chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, called the committee “illegitimate.”

“I decline this entity’s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical Left who desperately seek distraction from their abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan, and the horrendous crisis they created at our border,” Mr. Perry wrote on Twitter.

The committee on Monday sent a letter seeking testimony and documents from Mr. Perry, the first public step it has taken to try to obtain information from any of the Republican members of Congress who were deeply involved in Mr. Trump’s effort to stay in power.

The committee asked Mr. Perry to meet with its investigators and voluntarily turn over all “relevant electronic or other communications” related to the buildup to the Capitol riot, including his communications with the president and his legal team as well as others involved in planning rallies on Jan. 6 and the objections in Congress to certify Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

To date, the panel has been reluctant to issue subpoenas for sitting members of Congress, citing the deference and respect lawmakers in the chamber are supposed to show one another. But Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the panel, has pledged to take such a step if needed.

“Representative Perry has information directly relevant to our investigation,” said Tim Mulvey, a committee spokesman. “The select committee prefers to gather relevant evidence from members cooperatively, but if members with directly relevant information decline to cooperate and instead endeavor to cover up, the select committee will consider seeking such information using other tools.”

Mr. Flynn and Mr. Perry are among a small number of witnesses who have not cooperated with the panel. More than 300 witnesses have met with investigators, most voluntarily without receiving a subpoena.

There have been consequences for those who refuse.

The House has voted twice to hold allies of Mr. Trump in criminal contempt of Congress, referring those cases to federal prosecutors. A grand jury indicted Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump adviser, who faces charges that carry up to two years in jail and thousands in fines. Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, awaits a decision from federal prosecutors.

Mr. Meadows and Mr. Trump have sued to block the release of thousands of records, after the former president asserted executive privilege over a vast array of documents.

Some key witnesses have settled on the tactic of invoking their right against self-incrimination to avoid answering questions. Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who participated in Mr. Trump’s plans to overturn the election, has said he would invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to questions.

John Eastman, a lawyer who wrote a memo on how to overturn the election, also has cited the Fifth Amendment. A third potential witness, the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr., invoked his right against self-incrimination last week to every question the committee asked.

Mr. Flynn joins a growing number of potential witnesses who have filed suit against the committee seeking to block its subpoenas for data about their phone calls and text messages. Two other Trump allies, the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and the lawyer Cleta Mitchell, also filed suit this week seeking to block the subpoenas.

Four witnesses who were involved in organizing the rally that preceded the violence — Justin Caporale, Maggie Mulvaney, Megan Powers and Tim Unes — filed suit against Verizon, trying to prevent the company from turning over cellphone data to the committee. Mr. Eastman also sued, claiming “a highly partisan” invasion of his privacy.

Ali Alexander, a conservative activist and rally organizer for the “Stop the Steal” movement who turned over thousands of pages of documents to the committee, accused the panel in a lawsuit of issuing “an unlawful and overbroad subpoena” that violated his rights to free speech and privacy.

In his suit, Mr. Alexander said he was in contact with Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama, all Republicans, in the buildup to Jan. 6.

“In January, Mr. Alexander held an organizing call where members of Congress might have been present, and some were invited,” Mr. Alexander’s suit states. “He doesn’t recall who was in attendance because there was no roll call of attendees because the call was so large.”

Mr. Perry joined Mr. Gosar, Mr. Biggs and Mr. Brooks in a campaign to fight the results of the election.

In the weeks after the election, Mr. Perry compiled a dossier of voter fraud allegations and coordinated a plan to try to replace the acting attorney general with Mr. Clark. Mr. Perry also introduced Mr. Trump to Mr. Clark and was communicating with Mr. Meadows via an encrypted app, Signal, the committee said.

Alan Feuer contributed reporting.


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