Donald Trump shouldn’t talk about whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn should be granted immunity, a top House Republican advised Friday.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday evening that Flynn has informed the FBI and House and Senate Intelligence Committees — which are investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election — that he will agree to be interviewed if granted immunity from prosecution. Flynn was asked to resign last month after misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that “Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Fox News he disagrees with the president’s characterization of the Russia investigation, as well as the commander in chief’s decision to comment on it.
“No, I don’t think it’s a witch hunt,” Chaffetz said. “Look, it’s very mysterious to me, though, why all of a sudden Gen. Flynn is suddenly out there saying he wants immunity. I don’t think Congress should give him immunity. If there’s an open investigation by the FBI, that should not happen. I also don’t believe that, actually, that the president should be weighing in on this. They’re the ones that actually would prosecute something.”
Chaffetz suggested he was being just as critical of Trump as he was of former President Barack Obama, specifically, he said, when Obama commented on the IRS targeting scandal before he had all the facts.
“And I don’t think Donald Trump should be weighing in on this at this point,” he said. “But I don’t think there should be given immunity, either. I mean, immunity from what? We don’t know what that is.”
Flynn’s past comments about immunity resurfaced soon after the Wall Street Journal report. The former Trump campaign adviser said in a September “Meet the Press” interview with host Chuck Todd, “When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime.”
Asked whether Flynn’s request for immunity indicated that he may be guilty of something, Chaffetz conceded that “it doesn’t look good.”
“If all of a sudden you have somebody stand up and say, ‘Hey, I need immunity,’ you know, it kinda raises your eyebrows,” he said. “Even Gen. Flynn, back in the day, said and used that same thing against Hillary Clinton. So, you know, it comes around to bite you, and I just think they need to get to the facts.”
“There are some swirling things that need to be answered,” he added.