Probe: Trump says former adviser Flynn should seek immunity
- Author: Arturo Norris Apr 02, 2017,
Apr 02, 2017, 23:43
The White House today said that US President Donald Trump wants former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to testify to Congress over allegations that he colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential elections.
Michael Flynn, who was recently forced out of his job as US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, has failed to list payments from Russia-linked entities on the first of two financial disclosure forms released by the administration.
The White House has called for investigations into the disclosure of multiple intercepted conversations that Flynn had with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the inauguration.
On Friday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that his sacked former aide should ask for immunity, also arguing it was a witch hunt.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked at a news briefing if he was concerned that Flynn could provide information that could be harmful to the administration and replied, "Nope".
Flynn lawyer Robert Kelner said that Mr Flynn's first filing was a draft that normally would have been revised through a consultation between the White House counsel's office and the Office of Government Ethics.
Malcolm Nance, an intelligence and terrorism expert from Philadelphia, told the Tribune on Friday that Flynn's request was not unusual, especially in circumstances where an individual has something to hide.
Spicer said the president "thinks he should go out and tell his story". "He should go up there and do what he needs to do to get the story out".
Schiff, who has called for Nunes' recusal from the investigation because of his close ties to the White House, said the committee is interested in Flynn's testimony but is also "mindful" of the Justice Department's interests.
"We will be discussing the matter with our counterparts on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Department of Justice", Schiff said, noting "there is still much work and many more witnesses and documents to obtain before any immunity request from any witness can be considered".
A government official with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters that lawyers for Flynn raised the immunity request roughly 10 days ago with representatives of the Senate panel.
The Wall Street Journal reported Flynn's offer to testify.
Several investigations are looking into alleged Russian hacking during last year's presidential election and whether there was coordination between the Trump campaign and the hackers.
As NBC News reported Thursday, Flynn told the Intelligence Committee he was willing to be interviewed about the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation in return for a no-prosecution guarantee.
At least four investigations are under way into allegations that Moscow tried to swing November's presidential election in Trump's favour, as questions swirl about whether some in the Republican's inner circle colluded with Russian Federation.
The spokesman for Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, said there was never an immunity deal offered to Flynn.
In his statement, Kelner said the political climate in which Flynn is facing "claims of treason and vicious innuendo" is factoring into his negotiations with the committees.
Russian Federation is not the only foreign agent that Flynn is known to have ties to; it was revealed after his resignation that Flynn had done lobbying work prior to his appointment as national security adviser that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey", according to documents filed with the Department of Justice.
A lawyer for Flynn told Associated Press that he was in talks with congressional panels and seeking to avoid "unfair prosecution". Kelner said the FBI compensation was for a speaking event in 2015 and training Flynn provided to the bureau. He, of course, is the retired lieutenant general who lasted about three weeks as President Trump's national security adviser.