The Senate Intelligence Committee turned down the request by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s lawyer for a grant of immunity in exchange for his testimony, two congressional sources told NBC News.
A senior congressional official with direct knowledge said Flynn’s lawyer was told it was “wildly preliminary” and that immunity was “not on the table” at the moment. A second source said the committee communicated that it is “not receptive” to Flynn’s request “at this time.”
The senior congressional official also said that Flynn’s lawyer had conveyed the offer of testimony in exchange for immunity from prosecution to the Justice Department.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D.-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, acknowledged in a statement that the Justice Department’s interest in Flynn’s testimony could take precedence over Congress’ wish to hear from him.
He also said there are “many more witnesses and documents to obtain” before the House Intelligence Committee can consider any immunity request — specifically citing a background check document that would show whether Flynn reported work he did for any foreign entities.
And, Schiff noted, “we should first acknowledge what a grave and momentous step it is for a former National Security Adviser to the President of the United States to ask for immunity from prosecution.”
President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that Flynn was right to ask for immunity.
In September, while discussing aides to Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, Flynn told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that “when you are given immunity that means you’ve probably committed a crime.”