Former US national security adviser Michael Flynn is in discussions with the House and Senate intelligence committees on receiving immunity from “unfair prosecution” in exchange for agreeing to be questioned as part of ongoing probes into possible contacts between US President Donald Trump’s election campaign team and Russia, his attorney said on Thursday.
“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, said.
Kelner said no “reasonable person” with legal counsel would answer questions without assurances that he would not be prosecuted, given calls from some members of US Congress that the retired lieutenant general should face criminal charges.
Flynn’s ties to Russia have been scrutinized by the FBI and are under investigation by the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Both committees are looking into Russia’s meddling in last year’s US presidential election, as well as any ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin.
Since July last year, the FBI has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and possible coordination with Trump associates.
Kelner released a statement after the Wall Street Journal first reported that Flynn’s negotiations with the committee included discussions of immunity. The lawyer described the talks as ongoing and said he would not comment on the details.
A congressional aide confirmed that discussions with the US Senate intelligence committee involved immunity. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
House intelligence committee spokesman Jack Langer said Flynn has not offered to testify to the committee in exchange for immunity.
Four other Trump associates have also come forward saying they would talk to the committees. As of Wednesday, the Senate intelligence committee had asked to interview 20 people as part of the probe.
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 two committees.
“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.
In September last year, Flynn weighed in on the implications of immunity on NBC’s Meet the Press, criticizing then-Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and her associates in the FBI’s investigation into her use of a private e-mail server.
“When you are given immunity, that means that you have probably committed a crime,” Flynn said during the interview.
Flynn was fired from his job as Trump’s first national security adviser after it was disclosed that he misled the vice president about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the US during the transition period.
In the weeks after he resigned, Flynn and his business registered with the US Department of Justice as foreign agents for US$530,000 worth of lobbying work that could have benefited the Turkish government.
The lobbying occurred while Flynn was a Trump election campaign adviser.
The Turkish businessman who hired Flynn, Ekim Alptekin, has said that Flynn’s firm registered under pressure from the US Department of Justice.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big