Donald Trump's former national security adviser has reportedly offered to testify but wants immunity from prosecution first.
- Michael Flynn offers to testify
- Wants immunity from prosecution
- Report not confirmed by House, FBI
Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has reportedly offered to give testimony about potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
However, it is claimed Michael Flynn says he wants protection against “unfair prosecution”.
His lawyer, Robert Kelner, says discussions have taken place about Flynn’s ability to testify with officials of the intelligence committees of both the US Senate and the House of Representatives.
Both bodies are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the US election campaign last year as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Mike Flynn is willing to be interviewed about Russia in return for immunity https://t.co/R4wEHn5L5vpic.twitter.com/HrTYGQII2B— NBC News (@NBCNews) 31 mars 2017
Where has the information come from?
The Wall Street Journal. Citing officials, the paper reported on Thursday that Flynn had sought immunity from the FBI, House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony.
The article quotes Mr Kelner as saying Flynn “is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated.”
Kelner said Flynn would not “submit to questioning in such a highly politicised witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.”
Mike Flynn offers to testify in exchange for immunity https://t.co/TH2PTlqcHZ— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) 31 mars 2017
Ex-Trump adviser Flynn talking to Congress about testifying in Russia probe: lawyer https://t.co/bqERyYzKGgpic.twitter.com/r9tHmycYPF— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) 31 mars 2017
What are House officials saying?
The House has denied the newspaper’s report.
“Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity,” said committee spokesman Jack Langer in a statement.
There has been no comment so far from the FBI and the Senate committee involved.
What has prompted the controversy?
Flynn was forced to resign as Trump’s national security adviser in February for failing to disclose talks with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office.
They were about US sanctions on Moscow and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
Is this related to the broader claims of links between the Trump campaign and Moscow?
Yes. 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 Trump.
Investigations are ongoing into what contact there was between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Questions are being asked – what are they?
They centre on the scope of the discussions and what other contact there was between other Trump advisers with the Russians.
For example, earlier this week the White House disclosed that Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met executives from the Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) in December.
What has Russia said?
Russian officials have denied the allegations.
Donald Trump has dismissed suggestions of improper links with Moscow as Democratic sour grapes for losing the election.
How could Flynn’s testimony help?
It could shed light on the conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kisylak.
Flynn was the national security adviser for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Friday briefing: Trump under pressure as Mike Flynn prepares to reveal all https://t.co/NVOwRfN9hG— The Guardian (@guardian) 31 mars 2017
What they are saying
“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” said Flynn’s lawyer Robert Kelner.
“If this turns out to be the case, that is a significant development, I believe, because it indicates that he has something to say,” -*independent Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee* told reporters he could not confirm the report.