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Trump's ex-National Security Chief Flynn talking to Congress about testifying in Russia probe: Lawyer

The Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn had sought immunity from the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony. The newspaper said he had so far found no takers. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Washington DC, United States Mar 31, 2017, 01.42 AM (IST)

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has discussed with congressional committees giving testimony in their investigations of potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, his lawyer said on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials with knowledge of the matter, reported on Thursday that Flynn had sought immunity from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony. The newspaper said he had so far found no takers.

The House of Representatives panel 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.

Flynn was fired in February as national security adviser for failing to disclose talks with Russia's ambassador about US sanctions on Moscow. The talks occurred before Trump took office in January.

Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, confirmed in a statement that his client had held discussions with the House and Senate intelligence committees. His 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."The FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating allegations that Russians hacked Democratic Party computers and publicly disclosed the information in a bid to tip the November presidential election in favour of Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with the Moscow's.

They are also looking into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.

Read Kelner's full statement below:

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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”.

In September, Flynn commented on immunity on NBC's "Meet the Press" regarding Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her team under FBI investigation into her use of a private email server.

"When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime," Flynn had said. Before the 2016 US election, at Trump rallies Flynn repeatedly led "lock her up" chants about Hillary Clinton.

In the above clip Flynn says, "If I had done a tenth of what she [Clinton] did, I would be in jail today".

In October 2016, Flynn continued to characterise the Clinton email scandal, which cleared her of any wrongdoing, as "high crime" and "far bigger than Watergate".

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The Associated Press reports that in the weeks after his resignation, Flynn and his business registered with the Justice Department as foreign agents for $530,000 worth of lobbying work that could have benefited the Turkish government.

The lobbying had occurred while Flynn was a top Trump campaign adviser. The Turkish businessman who hired Flynn, Ekim Alptekin, has told the Associated Press that Flynn's firm registered under pressure from the Justice Department.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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