Trump's former national security adviser met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kisylak during 2016 campaign
President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has offered to testify before congressional committees probing potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia but wants protection against "unfair prosecution," his lawyer said late on Thursday.
"General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit," said a statement from Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner.
Testimony from Flynn could help shed light on the conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kisylak last year when he was the national security adviser for Trump's presidential campaign.
Kelner said discussions had taken place about Flynn's availability to testify with officials of the intelligence committees of both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. Both committees are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the US election campaign last year as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Flynn, a close adviser on Trump's campaign, was forced to step down as Trump's national security adviser last month after making misleading statements about talks he had held with Kislyak concerning Washington's sanctions on Moscow.
Two most significant developments re Flynn: (2) his lawyer assures that he has "a story to tell"; and (2) his lawyer was #NeverTrump.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) March 31, 2017
According to a Wall Street Journal report, it "wasn't clear" what exactly Flynn had offered to discuss, but the outlet cited one unidentified official as saying the retired army general's bid for immunity suggested potential "legal jeopardy".
Questions remain about the scope of the discussions and what other contacts took place between other Trump advisers with the Russians. Earlier this week, the White House disclosed that Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, in December.
Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity
- Jack Langer, House intelligence committee spokesperson
US intelligence agencies have said Russia hacked emails of senior Democrats and orchestrated the release of embarrassing information in a bid to tip the presidential election in favour of Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with Moscow's.
Russia has denied the allegations. Trump has dismissed suggestions of links with Moscow as Democratic sour grapes for losing the election.
The House denied the Journal report. "Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity," committee spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement.
The FBI declined to comment. The Senate committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"When you are given immunity, that means that you have probably committed a crime." -- Michael Flynn in September of 2016
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) March 31, 2017
Kelner's statement did not mention the FBI.
He said Flynn "is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated".
Kelner said Flynn would not "submit to questioning in such a highly politicised, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution".
Independent Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN he could not confirm the Journal report, but "if that turns out to be the case, that's a significant development I believe because it indicates that he has something important to say.”