UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. EDT — Democrats jumped on word former national security adviser Michael Flynn was seeking immunity in exchange for testimony in the investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said the request highlights the necessity for Congress to delay any vote on Trump agenda items until after the investigation is finished.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., needled Republicans on the refusal to remove Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee or to appoint an independent commission or special prosecutor.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to be interviewed by the FBI and congressional intelligence committees investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and transition team to Russian operatives in exchange for immunity, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The Journal said so far, no one has taken Flynn up on his offer.
As national security adviser, Flynn, who was forced to resign because he lied about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, was privy to foreign policy deliberations in the new administration, including considerations on whether to lift sanctions against Russia.
The House and Senate intelligence committees, along with the FBI, are investigating Russian efforts to influence last year’s presidential election in Trump’s favor. The House investigation currently is on hold while the Senate began taking testimony Thursday.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chairman of the Senate panel, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering a deliberate campaign to undermine the election while committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said Russian efforts to discredit and weaken the United States are nothing new.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said his campaign was targeted last July and a cyberattack against former staff members was made in the last 24 hours. Both attacks, he said, were traced back to Russia.
Clint Watts, a cyberexpert at the Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on National Security, testified House Speaker Paul Ryan also was a target of a social media campaign designed to “foment further unrest against U.S. democratic institutions.”
Putin Thursday rejected the allegations of Russian meddling, calling them “endless and groundless.”
Meanwhile, the House investigation was in shambles as calls mounted for intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to step down over his handling of the investigation. At issue is his decision to brief President Donald Trump on what he described as evidence Trump transition team members were inadvertently caught on surveillance intercepts. Nunes, however, has declined to share the purported evidence with other committee members and canceled this week’s hearing.
Republican leaders have been resisting calls by Democrats for an independent commission or special prosecutor to investigate the allegations.