Flynn would testify on Trump-Russia links in exchange for immunity
President’s ex-security adviser could shed light on talks with Moscow’s ambassador to US
Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is in discussions with the House and Senate intelligence committees about speaking to their probe into links with Russia in exchange for immunity, his lawyer has said.
“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” said a statement from Mr Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner.
Testimony from Mr Flynn could help shed light on the conversations he had with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kisylak last year when he was the national security adviser for Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.
Mr Kelner said discussions had taken place about Mr Flynn’s availability to testify with officials of the intelligence committees of both the US Senate and the House of Representatives.
Both committees are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the US election campaign last year as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Mr Flynn was forced to resign as Mr Trump’s national security adviser in February for failing to disclose talks with the Russian ambassador before Mr Trump took office about US sanctions on Moscow and misleading vice president Mike Pence about the conversations.
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017
Questions remain about the scope of the discussions and what other contacts took place between other Trump advisers with the Russians. Earlier this week, the White House disclosed that Mr Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, in December.
US intelligence agencies have said Russia hacked emails of senior Democrats and orchestrated the release of embarrassing information in a bid to tip the presidential election in favour of Mr Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with the Moscow’s. Russia has denied the allegations.
Mr Trump has dismissed suggestions of links with Moscow as Democratic sour grapes for losing the election.
The Wall Street Journal, citing officials with knowledge of the matter, reported on Thursday that Mr Flynn had sought immunity from the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) and the House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony. The newspaper said he had so far found no takers. The House denied the Journal report.
“Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity,” committee spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement. The FBI declined to comment.
The Senate committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr Kelner’s statement did not mention the FBI.
He said Mr Flynn “is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated.” Mr Kelner said Mr Flynn would not “submit to questioning in such a highly politicised, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.”
Independent Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN he could not confirm the Journal report, but “if that turns out to be the case, that’s a significant development I believe because it indicates that he has something important to say.