Not that he did anything wrong, mind you. But former senior White House aide, former defense intelligence chief and former general Michael Flynn would like to be granted immunity from prosecution in return for testimony to Congress and the FBI about possible Russian links to last year’s Trump campaign.
The offer, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, would seem to indicate the fired Trump aide senses some legal vulnerability in his simultaneous work with and for foreign interests while advising the presidential candidate. But apparently Flynn’s not yet found any takers from the FBI or Senate and House intelligence committees.
“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell,” said his attorney, Robert Kelner, “and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”
The investigations involve possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russians allegedly seeking to influence the 2016 election. Russia has denied any involvement, in case that means anything to you.
Flynn was paid tens of thousands of dollars by three Russian outfits for speeches he gave there. Not the big money that ex-President Bill Clinton got, but still pretty good for simply talking. After close policy involvement throughout the Trump campaign, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency was named national security adviser by the new president.
Flynn was unmasked by illegal intelligence leaks as a conversant with the Russian ambassador during the transition period. The conversations were not a problem, but in describing them Flynn mislead Vice President Mike Pence and others. That prompted Trump to fire the career Army officer, although subsequent reports indicate aides were looking for an excuse previously.
Then, Flynn belatedly registered as an agent for foreign interests, namely Turkey, which paid him $530,000 for representation work while Flynn was advising the Trump campaign. Trump through a spokesman has said he was unaware of Flynn’s outside work.
The 58-year-old Flynn is one of at least four Trump associates in a broad FBI probe of potential Russian involvement in the election campaign. The others are former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former Trump advisers Carter Page and Roger Stone. The three have all volunteered to speak to House and Senate committees without seeking immunity from prosecution.
Attorney Kelner added, “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.”