Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Donald Trump’s national security advisor, is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for helping those investigating the president’s ties to Russia.
The retired lieutenant general on Thursday reportedly sought to persuade the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees to take him up on the offer.
It represents a startling twist in the tale of suspected Russian influence in US politics.
But now Flynn’s previous comments on immunity have come to light - putting him in a pretty tight corner.
Last year, Flynn told NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’ in the wake of the Hillary Clinton email storm: “The very last thing that [Democratic campaign chairman] John Podesta just said is, ‘No individual too big to jail’. That should include people like Hillary Clinton.
“I mean, five people around her have been given immunity, to include her former chief of staff. When you are given immunity that means that you’ve probably committed a crime.”
When you are given immunity that means that you’ve probably committed a crime. Michael Flynn, 2016
Watch the clip, above.
Trump broke his silence on the affair, tweeting on Friday: “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”
It comes after the Wall Street Journal reported the offer for immunity from Flynn, and his attorney, Robert Kelner, confirmed that “discussions have taken place” with both committees.
He declined to provide details on what those discussions entailed.
“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” Kelner wrote in a statement.
“Out of respect for the Committees, we will not comment right now on the details of discussions between counsel for General Flynn and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, other than to confirm that those discussions have taken place.”
Spokespeople for both the chairman and ranking member of the House intelligence committee denied the Wall Street Journal report.
“No, Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to [the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] in exchange for immunity,” Jack Langer, a spokesman for House intelligence committee chairman Representative Devin Nunes, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.
A committee aide said committee Democrats “have not received an offer to testify to the committee for immunity”.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. Spokespeople for the chairman and ranking member of the Senate committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
While Flynn’s attorney didn’t explicitly confirm Flynn’s request for immunity, he argued that his client is the target of “unfounded allegations” and “outrageous claims,” and should not be blamed for seeking “assurances” prior to agreeing to testimony.
“No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution,” he said.
Who is Michael Flynn?
According to the BBC, Flynn was all but written off in political terms two years ago when he was removed from his post as a Pentagon intelligence chief.
But the retired US Army three-star lieutenant-general, was one of Trump’s closest advisers and most ardent supporters during his campaign.
But Flynn, 58, was essentially sacked in February after misleading the White House about his conversations with a Russian envoy.
With files from Washington D.C.