Politics

Trump Responds To Flynn Immunity Request

| by Sarah Zimmerman

President Donald Trump has backed up former national security adviser Michael Flynn's request for immunity in exchange for information about the Trump campaign's contact with Russia.

Flynn resigned from his position in February after concealing the fact that he had conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. from Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials. Flynn's resignation had some officials worried about the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia.

The FBI, as well as the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, are currently investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with elements of the Russian government in an effort to swing the 2016 election. According to The New York Times, Flynn has offered his testimony on the matter in exchange for immunity.

"Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!" Trump wrote in a March 31 tweet, according to Reuters.

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The president's position is similar to that of Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, who wrote in a statement that his client has no choice but to ask for immunity, given that the case has become so sensationalized. 

"[N]o 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," said Kelner, according to the Times.

Investigators are unwilling to broker a deal with Flynn until they know exactly what type of information he would offer in a testimony.

"General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should circumstances permit," Kelner continued in his statement.

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The New York Times reports that it is common practice for witnesses to ask for immunity to ensure that their words can't be used against them. Congress does have the ability to grant immunity; however, they usually only do so after consultation with prosecutors. It is unclear whether any of Trump's other former advisers have asked for immunity.  

Republicans maintain that Democrats have fabricated a story about Trump's ties to Russia because they are bitter about the election results, according to Reuters. 

Those who believe that Trump colluded with Russia deny the president's claims that the FBI and congressional investigations are witch hunts.

"This is not a witch hunt. This is an effort to get to the truth of some very important questions," said Sen. Angus King, an independent who serves a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"There is no doubt whatsoever that the Russians were behind an effort to interfere in our elections," King continued. "To continue to deny that -- it just flies in the face of all of the reality."

Sources: Reuters via AOL, The New York Times / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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