NEWS FROM EUROPE

Michael Flynn in 2016: Immunity ‘means you probably committed a crime’

After first reporting the telephone contact between Trump adviser Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak,The Washington Post’s David Ignatius highlights the questions that still remain surrounding his resignation. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius highlights the questions that still remain surrounding former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation. (Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

Neither a request for immunity from prosecution or a grant of immunity constitutes an admission of guilt. It does not mean the individual seeking immunity has committed a crime, only that he or she fears prosecution on the basis of their words, which absent immunity, they would not utter, instead invoking their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

As Michael Flynn’s lawyer said in a statement Thursday about his client’s offer to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution:

He is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated. 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.

But Flynn saw immunity differently in September, 2016, when reports surfaced that aides around Hillary Clinton had been granted immunity by the government in exchange for talking freely to the FBI about Clinton’s private email server.

“When you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime,” Flynn, then a top campaign aide to Donald Trump, said on Meet the Press.

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