Trump Says Flynn Should Seek Immunity; Russia Probe 'Witch-Hunt'
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Apr 01, 2017,
Apr 01, 2017, 20:06
With the FBI investigating links between Trump associates and Russian Federation during the presidential election, both committees are unlikely to wade into an issue that is the subject of a potential criminal investigation.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is negotiating with the House and Senate intelligence committees to testify about any Trump campaign dealings with Russian Federation - after he is given immunity from prosecution, according to his lawyer.
Mr Flynn, who as national security adviser for 24 days had access to top United States intelligence information, had contacts with Russian Federation before his appointment by Mr Trump.
President Trump had taken to Twitter to support Flynn's demand, accusing Democrats of orchestrating a "witch hunt''".
Asked by journalists Friday if Trump though Flynn was guilty of something, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the president just wants Flynn to testify.
Mr Flynn's lawyer also suggested immunity is justified, because Mr Flynn was "the target of unsubstantiated public demands by members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated".
The overture is notable in part because during the presidential campaign, Flynn said that people who are given immunity "probably committed a crime".
"I would suspect both Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will first generate additional evidence from smaller players before deciding to immunise General Flynn", Mr Zaid said, according to the Times.
"He should go up there and do what he needs to do to get the story out", The Hill magazine quoted Spicer as saying.
A congressional aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that discussions with the Senate intelligence committee involved immunity.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called Flynn's immunity request "a grave and momentous step".
That inquiry already is figuring into the deliberations of congressional committees now weighing Flynn's request for immunity.
Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz told Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer he found it "very mysterious" why former National Security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn wanted immunity in return for testimony on Russia, Politico reported Friday.
But as one Democrat argued, if the committee is determined to bring to light any ties Trump's inner circle may have to Russian Federation, the president himself must release his tax returns.
But Flynn's request for immunity faces roadblocks.
"No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution", Kelner said.
Using similar language, Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, said in a written statement late Thursday that his client had little recourse but to pursue legal protection.
In the 24 pages of assorted 2015 emails and documents voluntarily handed over to the House Oversight Committee by Leading Authorities, RT did not mention that the December 10, 2015, conference and dinner in Moscow celebrating the Russian network's 10th anniversary would be broadcast on television worldwide or that the star speaker - within arm's reach of Flynn in a video of the televised event - would be Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The lobbying occurred while Flynn was a top Trump campaign adviser.
In the letter, he also blamed "the fast pace of events" during the presidential transition for causing him to "inadvertently leave out key details of phone calls with the Russian ambassador prior to inauguration".
Lawyer William Taylor said grants of congressional immunity "are rare, and there are rules and regulations about consulting with the attorney general before you give somebody immunity".