- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2017

The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat described retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s request for immunity as a “grave and momentous step” Friday as lawmakers move forward with two congressional probes related to President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat, acknowledged Mr. Flynn’s recent proposal in Friday afternoon’s statement, but said the House Intel Committee hasn’t decided whether it’s willing to grant immunity to the former Trump administration official in exchange for his congressional testimony.

“With respect to the offer,” Mr. Schiff said, “… we should first acknowledge what a grave and momentous step it is for a former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States to ask for immunity from prosecution.”

“Additionally, as with any investigation — and particularly one that grows in severity and magnitude by the day — there is still much work and many more witnesses and documents to obtain before any immunity request from any witness can be considered,” Mr. Schiff added.

The House Intelligence Committee intends to discuss Mr. Flynn’s request with its counterpart in the Senate as well as the Department of Justice before making a decision, Mr. Schiff added, thereby involving each of the three federal entities confirmed to be currently investigating allegations of potential collusion between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russians known to U.S. intelligence.

Mr. Trump in November 2016 named Mr. Flynn, the former director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, to the coveted role of White House national security adviser. Mr. Flynn tendered his resignation weeks into Mr. Trump’s presidency, however, after it emerged that he had repeatedly spoken with a Russian ambassador prior to Inauguration Day and then mislead the White House with regards to the contact.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday evening that Mr. Flynn is potentially willing to testify in the House or Senate if given immunity from federal prosecution.

“While Mr. Flynn’s testimony is of great interest to our committee, we are also deeply mindful of the interests of the Department of Justice in the matter,” Mr. Schiff said Friday.

A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee led by Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican, told The Washington Times on Friday that a preliminary conversation with Gen. Flynn’s attorney has occurred, but said “the discussion did not include immunity or other possible conditions for his appearance.”

According to the panel’s ranking Democrat, however, congressional committee members are already encountering problems while probing Mr. Flynn.

“I made a formal request of the agencies to provide Mr. Flynn’s background check document, SF-86, so we can determine whether he properly reported any work he may have conducted on behalf of a foreign entity. We have yet to receive those documents,” Mr. Schiff said Friday afternoon.

“Moreover, when the time comes to consider requests for immunity from any witness, we will of course require a detailed proffer of any intended testimony.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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