U.S. President Donald Trump blasted the media for a "witch hunt" against his former National Security Adviser, saying that Michael Flynn should ask for immunity if he testifies before U.S. lawmakers about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.
- Ex-Trump Adviser Flynn Would Testify on Russia Ties in Exchange for Immunity, WSJ Says
- Russian State Bank Confirms Jared Kushner Met Its Executives
- Michael Flynn May Have Turned on Trump and Become FBI Informant, CNN Analyst Suggests
"Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!" the president tweeted Friday.
After the Wall Street Journal reproted Flynn was looking for an immunity deal, his lawyer, however, said the former National Security Adviser would talk to lawmakers if he was given protection against "unfair prosecution," a statement which did not mention the report said.
"General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit," said a statement from Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner.
Testimony from Flynn could help shed light on the conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kisylak last year when he was the national security adviser for Trump's presidential campaign.
Last Saturday, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem cited unnamed sources and the fact that Flynn has not been called upon to testify under oath before the House Intelligence Committee as evidence that the former Trump adviser may have "cut a deal with the FBI."
Kelner said discussions had taken place about Flynn's availability to testify with officials of the intelligence committees of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Both committees are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election campaign last year as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.
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 about U.S. sanctions on Moscow and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
Questions remain about the scope of the discussions and what other contacts took place between other Trump advisers with the Russians. Earlier this week, the White House disclosed that Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, in December.
U.S. 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 favor of Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with the Moscow's.
Russia has denied the allegations. Trump has dismissed suggestions of links with Moscow as Democratic sour grapes for losing the election.
The Wall Street Journal, citing officials with knowledge of the matter, reported on Thursday that Flynn had sought immunity from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony. The newspaper said he had so far found no takers.
The House denied the Journal report. "Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity," committee spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement.
The FBI declined to comment. The Senate committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kelner's statement did not mention the FBI.