WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is reportedly offering to testify before the FBI and others about the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia if he’s granted immunity from possible prosecution.
On Thursday Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, issued a statement saying his client “certainly has a story to tell” but is first seeking “assurances against unfair prosecution.”
“You don’t ask for immunity of course unless you feel like you’re in legal jeopardy so we have to be very careful here,” said Rep. Jim Himes who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
During the election, Flynn condemned Hillary Clinton campaign aides for seeking immunity during the probe into Clinton’s private email servers.
“When you are given immunity, that means you’ve probably committed a crime,” Flynn had said on NBC.
Flynn’s bombshell announcement came after news broke showing White House staffers were selectively leaking information to justify the president’s claims that he was unfairly surveilled.
On Twitter, President Donald Trump went on the defensive when he weighed in on the matter.
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
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer fielded questions about Flynn possible testimony for immunity.
REPORTER: “Sean, we heard from the president this morning saying that Mike Flynn should ask for immunity. We also know that the president has long-standing views on what immunity means. I mean, back in September he said, ‘If you are guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?’ So, does the president think that Mike Flynn is guilty of a crime?”
SPICER: “I think he believes that Mike Flynn should go testify. He thinks that he should go up there and do what he has to do to get the story out.”
REPORTER: “With or without diplomatic immunity?”
SPICER: “Well, that’s up to him and his lawyer to decide. I’m not gonna give Mike Flynn or anyone else legal advice from the podium. But I will tell you that the President’s view is he should go up there and testify.”
REPORTER: “But the President gave legal advice from his twitter account. He has said in the past that the only reason you ask for immunity is if you committed a crime.”
SPICER: “Well, but I think the underlying point that you’re missing, Jonathan, respectfully, is that what he’s asking is go testify. Go get it out there. Do what you have to do to get there, and tell Congress and tell everyone what we’ve been saying for a long time.”
The Flynn development comes after reports surfaced that White House officials are the source behind secret documents given to the chairman in charge of the Russian probe in the House.
On Thursday, reports swirled that two National Security staffers secretly helped House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes examine intelligence information on White House grounds last week.
The New York Times identified Nunes’ sources as NSC staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Michael Ellis, a White House lawyer who previously worked for the congressman, according to CBS News.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff questioned why the intelligence material was only shown to Nunes.
“Is this instead a case where they wish to effectively launder information through our committee to avoid the true source of the information,” he said.
Schiff and other Democrats have called on Nunes to recuse himself, saying he’s too close to the Trump administration. Nunes was an early supporter of Trump during the campaign and worked on the Trump transition team after the election.
The White House has invited the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees to view classified information it says is relevant to the Russia probe but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer would not say whether or not the intel was the same as what was shown to Nunes.