Schiff: Flynn deal in Rus­sia probe not cer­tain

Trump’s for­mer se­cu­rity ad­viser wants im­mu­nity to tes­tify

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

The rank­ing Demo­crat on the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee ex­pressed “skep­ti­cism” about the im­mu­nity re­quest by re­tired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn amid the con­gres­sional probes and FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff said it’s dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine what Mr. Flynn knows and whether his tes­ti­mony would shed any light on po­ten­tial col­lu­sion be­tween mem­bers of the Trump cam­paign with Rus­sian ef­forts to in­flu­ence the U.S. pres­i­den­tial race.

“We also have to de­ter­mine whether he can re­ally add value to our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, whether we need him to learn in­for­ma­tion we can’t learn from other sources,” Mr. Schiff said Sun­day on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “So it’s very early, I think, even to be con­sid­er­ing this. There’s a lot more work we need to do, and I think we’re prop­erly bring­ing a de­gree of skep­ti­cism along with us.”

The Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat also said the on­go­ing Jus­tice De­part­ment in­quiry into Mr. Flynn makes a grant of im­mu­nity du­bi­ous.

“We don’t want to do any­thing that will in­ter­fere in any case that the De­part­ment of Jus­tice may de­cide to bring,” he said.

Mr. Trump named Mr. Flynn, a di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence un­der Pres­i­dent Obama, to the cov­eted post of na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser in Novem­ber 2016.

Mr. Flynn ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion only weeks into the new pres­i­dency after it emerged that he had mis­led Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence about his con­tacts with a Rus­sian am­bas­sador dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod.

Since then, Mr. Flynn has be­come a cen­tral fig­ure in the fall­out from Rus­sia’s in­volve­ment in the pres­i­den­tial race. FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey tes­ti­fied last month that there is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether mem­bers of the Trump cam­paign are linked to the Krem­lin’s ef­forts.

The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Thurs­day that Mr. Flynn is will­ing to tes­tify be­fore Congress if he is given im­mu­nity from fed­eral pros­e­cu­tion, and his lawyer con­firmed ne­go­ti­a­tions about his tes­ti­mony.

In a tweet Fri­day, Pres­i­dent Trump en­cour­aged Congress to ap­prove the re­quest be­cause Mr. Flynn had be­come the tar­get of a “witch hunt (ex­cuse for big elec­tion loss), by me­dia & Dems, of his­toric pro­por­tion!”

Mike Rogers, the for­mer Repub­li­can chair­man of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, said he would not grant Mr. Flynn’s re­quest.

“If I were the com­mit­tees, I wouldn’t grant im­mu­nity,” Mr. Rogers said Sun­day on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Neera Tan­den, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress, said the re­quest “tells us there’s some­thing deep and se­ri­ously wrong here.”

“I would just say that I worked in plenty of pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns; I never, ever met with Rus­sians, Rus­sian as­sets, Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials,” Ms. Tan­den said Sun­day on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

When asked Fri­day whether the White House was con­cerned about what could be re­vealed in Mr. Flynn’s tes­ti­mony, press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer gave a one-word re­ply: “Nope.”

Mr. Rogers, who was chair­man dur­ing the House com­mit­tee’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 2012 at­tack on the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi, Libya, said he would have han­dled the sit­u­a­tion “com­pletely” dif­fer­ently than Mr. Nunes.

Dur­ing the Beng­hazi in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he said the com­mit­tee “didn’t run out [to the press] ev­ery time we got a new doc­u­ment and [say] this hap­pened or that hap­pened.”

He said the com­mit­tee and Mr. Trump should be more care­ful about mak­ing pub­lic state­ments about an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“If this is re­ally an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, every­one needs to clam up can­didly, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent,” he said. “The most dan­ger­ous place in Washington, D.C., right now is be­tween a con­gress­man who has read a clas­si­fied re­port and a mi­cro­phone. That needs to stop. And it’s both sides.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Gen. Michael Flynn, Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, wants im­mu­nity in ex­change for tes­ti­fy­ing about the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Rus­sia con­nec­tions, but In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Democrats aren’t cer­tain Gen. Flynn has much to tell.

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