Friday, March 31, 2017

Robert Reich's View: WSJ: Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

Robert Reich:

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, according to this afternoon’s Wall Street Journal.

I see no reason why the Senate Intelligence Community shouldn’t grant Flynn’s request. It wouldn’t let Flynn off the hook. Congress has the power to grant only limited “testimonial” immunity -- which means prosecutors cannot use a witness’s testimony to Congress against them in any subsequent prosecution. If Flynn has some dirt on Trump, he ought to be given every opportunity to share it.

Ultimately it will be up to the Justice Department whether to grant Flynn immunity from prosecution for any underlying conduct that might be discussed, and other matters that don’t come up in testimony. Since Jeff Sessions has recused himself from matters relating to the FBI probe – and, presumably, related to Flynn’s possible collusion with Russian agents – the final decision on Flynn’s immunity will be up to the Deputy Attorney General.

The Acting Deputy Attorney General is Dana Boente, a longtime federal prosecutor and former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who stepped in when Trump fired Sally Yates in January.

Trump’s permanent pick for the position is Ron Rosenstein, currently the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland. Rosenstein seems to be a straight-shooter. He was unanimously confirmed as U.S. attorney in 2005 after being appointed by George W. Bush, and then retained by Obama. It would also be up to Rosenstein whether to appoint an independent special prosecutor to handle the question of Trump and Trump advisors colluding with the Russians.

Former national security adviser Mike Flynn in the East Room of the White House in February.

Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

By Shane Harris, Carol E. Lee and Julian E. Barnes