The Senate Intelligence Committee has rejected Michael Flynn’s request for immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, congressional sources told NBC News.
President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor’s lawyer was told the move was “wildly preliminary” and “not on the table” at this point, a senior congressional official told NBC. It does not necessarily rule out immunity at a later date, since the Senate investigation is ongoing.
Flynn, who resigned after only weeks on the job, also offered to speak to the Justice Department in exchange for protection from prosecution, according to NBC. At this time, there is no indication that Flynn is admitting guilt to any crimes.
In a statement Thursday, his lawyer Robert Kelner said no “reasonable person” would get questioned in “such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurance against unfair prosecution.”
Flynn stepped down in February when reports surfaced that he misled White House officials about whether he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Flynn told Vice President Mike Pence he did not discuss sanctions against Russia with Russian officials in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration. Pence then defended him in TV interviews.
Since leaving the Trump administration, Flynn registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for lobbying work that may have aided the Turkish government. It took place from August through November, when he was a Trump campaign advisor. Flynn is required to disclose that work.
Reports also surfaced that Russian state-owned network RT paid more than $45,000 for Flynn to travel to Moscow and speak at its 10th anniversary event.
Trump echoed Flynn’s lawyer in a Friday morning tweet, arguing that Flynn “should ask for immunity” in the ongoing probe into possible ties between the campaign and Russia. The president argued that concerns over Russia were a “witch hunt” of “historic proportion” by media outlets and Democrats.
— NBC News’ Ken Dilanian and Kasie Hunt contributed to this report