Hands raised, Trump aides rush to try to testify on Russian Federation

The White House sent mixed messages Friday about former national security adviser Michael Flynn's conditional offer to cooperate with congressional investigators looking into contacts between President Donald Trump's campaign advisers and Russian Federation.

And that's what a lawyer for the former national security adviser is asking of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the congressional intelligence committees all now eager to hear Flynn's story.

Trump echoed that sentiment Friday on Twitter, encouraging Flynn to seek immunity from a "witch hunt".

On Thursday evening, Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, released a statement confirming the former Trump aide offered to testify in exchange for immunity, saying, "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit". He has now apparently been told by senior congressional officials that immunity is not currently on the table.

Flynn himself allowed as much previous year about the immunity deals in the Clinton email investigation, saying in a television interview, "When you are given immunity, that means that you have probably committed a crime".

Michael Flynn is said to be in discussions with Washington's House and Senate intelligence committees about speaking to their probe into links with Russian Federation.

US intelligence agencies have said Russian Federation hacked emails of senior Democrats and orchestrated the release of embarrassing information in a bid to tip the presidential election in favor of Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with the Moscow's.

A government official with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters that lawyers for Mr Flynn raised the immunity request roughly 10 days ago with representatives of the Senate panel.

The lobbying occurred while Flynn was a top Trump campaign adviser.

"So why bring Michael Flynn back when Michael Flynn inside the White House when Michael Flynn is no longer part of the White House".

When asked whether the President thought that Mike Flynn was guilty of a crime, Mr Spicer said "I think he believes that Mike Flynn should go testify".

Before granting immunity to Flynn, Schiff said, the committee would first need "a detailed proffer of any intended testimony".

Flynn's ties to Russian Federation have been scrutinized by the FBI and are under investigation by the congressional committees.

But the attorney added it would not be reasonable to submit to questioning in a "witch-hunt environment" without assurances against "unfair prosecution".

Congress has the authority to grant a limited type of immunity, called derivative use immunity, through which a witness can be compelled to testify, on the condition that their statements to Congress will not be used by prosecutors to gather evidence for a future criminal prosecution.

"As with any investigation - and particularly one that grows in severity and magnitude by the day - there is still much work and many more witnesses and documents to obtain before any immunity request from any witness can be considered", Schiff said Friday in a statement.

If the full House or Senate, or two-thirds of a congressional committee, vote to issue a subpoena to a witness who refuses to testify, a federal court will order that person to appear and answer questions - and the answers can not be used against them in any criminal proceeding.

Flynn's ties to Russian Federation have been scrutinized by the FBI and are under investigation by the congressional committees.

The offer by Flynn's lawyer was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Since July, the FBI has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia's interference in the election and possible coordination with Trump associates.

Even if Flynn is granted congressional immunity, he could still face prosecution by the Justice Department.

The lawyer described the talks as ongoing and said he would not comment on the details.

  • Salvatore Jensen