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Posted 2017-05-23 10:11:58 - by Hà Trung Thành

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Media captionGen Michael Flynn explains Donald Trump's appeal during the campaign

Fired US national security adviser Michael Flynn has refused to hand files to a Senate panel probing alleged Russian political meddling.

Mr Flynn invoked his right against self-incrimination, his lawyers said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Kremlin.

Meanwhile President Trump is reported to have asked two top national security officials to publicly deny that there was any evidence of collusion.

The Washington Post says he made the request to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Admiral Michael S Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, in March.

Both refused to comply with the request, the newspaper quoted current and former officials as saying. The White House has not yet commented on the allegations.

Michael Flynn stood down from his new role as national security adviser in February after it emerged he lied about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairmen Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner said they were "disappointed" at his decision not to hand over files.

Mr Flynn also faces new allegations that he misled officials about his connections with Russia.

He claimed his overseas trips were paid for by US companies but one high-profile visit to Moscow was in fact financed by an arm of the Russian government, according to documents released by the Democratic Party.

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Media captionPresident Trump said Michael Flynn had been "treated very unfairly by the media"

The Senate committee issued a subpoena - a legal summons - two weeks ago to obtain documents related to Mr Flynn's contacts with Russians dating back to June 2015.

Two other former top Trump aides - Paul Manafort and Roger Stone - have reportedly complied with the committee's request for information.

Two congressional inquiries and an FBI investigation are looking into claims that Russian hackers tried to help Mr Trump win last November's presidential election, and whether members of his campaign colluded with the alleged Kremlin conspiracy.

However Mr Flynn's letter to the Senate panel says that his refusal to testify is not an admission of wrongdoing.

Image copyright Russian Foreign Ministry
Image caption Trump met with the Russians at a meeting that US media were not invited to cover

The former Army lieutenant general is invoking the fifth amendment to the US constitution, which protects Americans from being legally compelled to testify against themselves in a criminal case.

The letter said his decision was a response to the current political climate and an "escalating public frenzy against him".

If Mr Flynn continues to refuse to comply, it is thought Senate investigators could vote to hold him in contempt of Congress or even refer his case for possible criminal charges.

Shortly after Mr Flynn left the White House, the Department of Defense also launched an inquiry into payments he received for a speech in Moscow to media outlet RT, and for lobbying on Turkey's behalf.

Mr Flynn misled the White House about discussing US sanctions against Russia with Moscow's envoy, Sergei Kislyak, before Mr Trump took office.

Mr Trump injected fresh impetus into the Senate investigation after he himself met the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the White House earlier this month, only a day after firing FBI chief James Comey.

The US president said in that encounter that Mr Comey was a "real nut job" and his dismissal eased "a great pressure because of Russia", the New York Times reported.

Last week, former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to lead the FBI investigation following Mr Comey's dismissal.

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