March 30 (UPI) — Former national security adviser Michael Flynn offered to speak to any of the three active investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, but only if the federal government grants him immunity from criminal prosecution.
The Justice Department had not responded to the offer late Thursday.
The request, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and later confirmed by Flynn’s lawyer, comes weeks after Flynn was fired by President Donald Trump for misrepresenting a December conversation with the Russian ambassador to members of the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, who subsequently defended Flynn in television interviews with false information.
Flynn initially denied discussing Obama administration sanctions against Russia over its election meddling and described the conversation as an informal exchange of holiday well-wishes, but later a transcript surfaced showing the two did broach the subject of U.S. sanctions that had just been announced.
Democrats are also stepping up pressure on Flynn after reports he was paid large speaking fees by Russian groups, including the state-sponsored media outlet RT, which the U.S. government considers to be a Kremlin propaganda tool. Flynn gave the speech, for which he was paid $45,000, in December of 2015, months after Trump announced his candidacy, but before Flynn was formally announced as one of Trump’s top national security advisers. He was also paid $22,500 by two Russian companies on a separate occasion.
Democrats in Congress have requested copies of Flynn’s financial disclosure forms filed before he became national security adviser to see whether those speaking fees were included. Failing to do so could lead to legal trouble.
Deliberately misrepresenting information on a federal disclosure form could be a federal crime and accepting income from a foreign government while working for the U.S. government would violate a clause in the Constitution prohibiting such arrangements in the executive branch.
It is not clear what information Flynn might have to offer the FBI, or members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, both of which are conducting separate investigations into Russia’s election hacking.
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Keiner, said his client’s testimony would only come on a voluntary basis after immunity had been granted and offered no hints as to what it would include.
Keiner said the immunity request was to ensure Flynn’s testimony would not result in “unfair prosecution” due to the “highly politicized, witch hunt environment” surrounding the trio of Russia investigations.