Yesterday, it was widely reported that Michael Flynn, the disgraced former national security adviser for the Trump administration, was requesting immunity from prosecution for this testimony before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, who are investigating potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives who sought to throw the election to Trump.
The surprising overture was communicated through Flynn’s recently-retained attorney, Robert Kelsner. The choice of Kelsner was intriguing, in and of itself, because Kelsner was a vocal opponent of the Trump campaign, frequently questioning its ties to Russia.
NBC reported today that the Senate Intelligence Committee turned down Flynn’s request for immunity, telling Kelsner it was “wildly preliminary” and “not on the table” at this time. Adam Schiff (D – Calif.) released a statement today saying that the House Intelligence Committee, of which he is the ranking Democratic member, was still considering the offer, but was “deeply mindful” of the interests of the Department of Justice.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that he supports Flynn asking for immunity, characterizing the investigation as a “witch hunt.” Trump’s support for Flynn’s request for immunity, however, truly calls into question whether the hope that he will provide valuable information against Trump. It is likely that Flynn is simply seeking to protect his own interests, and will offer little to no information of any help to investigators beyond the already foregone conclusion that he discussed potentially lifting or easing sanctions against Russia before he held any official government post or had authorization to do so.
Even Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), House Oversight Committee Chairman, who had been initially reluctant to investigate any Trump/Russia ties, and who had echoed Trump’s calls for an investigation of sources of leaks from within the White House, seemed cool to the Flynn overture, telling Fox News that he doesn’t understand why Flynn would request immunity, and saying that the grant of immunity should not be considered in view of the open FBI investigation – and criticizing the president’s decision to weigh in on the matter at all.