WASHINGTON — Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to testify before federal and congressional investigators in their ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections, but only if he is granted immunity.
The possibility that Flynn — formerly a key adviser to President Donald Trump during the campaign — could testify potentially represents a major development in the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Questions have swirled about the nature of Flynn’s ties to Russia and whether he violated any restrictions on contacts with foreign officials.
He was forced to resign after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
“Gen. Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit. … 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,” Robert Kelner, Flynn’s lawyer, said in a statement late Thursday.
Aides to the House intelligence committee said they have not received any requests from Flynn yet. A spokesman for the Senate intelligence committee declined comment Thursday evening.
Friday morning, Trump urged Flynn to ask for immunity to protect himself from a “witch hunt.”
“Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!” Trump tweeted.
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
Asked about Flynn’s offer, Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said Friday the Russian government has not given it “any evaluations.”
He pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments on Thursday in which he dismissed claims that Russia meddled in the US election as “fictional, illusory, provocations and lies.”
Three former Trump aides who are at the center of the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections have already come forward and said they would testify freely — without the promise of immunity.
Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former adviser Roger Stone and former foreign policy adviser Carter Page all said, via their lawyers, last week that they were ready to come before House and Senate investigators.
House investigators have been discussing bringing Flynn in for weeks now, but they have also expressed concerns that Flynn would plead the Fifth Amendment if forced to testify.
Democrats, meanwhile, quickly shot around a comment Flynn made last year on MSNBC, that “when you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.”