WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump threw his support behind former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Friday, backing his request for immunity from prosecution and describing the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as a “witch hunt.”
But Flynn’s request for immunity faces roadblocks. The Senate intelligence committee has decided not to accept his offer to testify at this time, according to a person familiar with the matter. And the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said it was premature to make a decision on immunity.
On Twitter, Trump voiced his support for the effort by Flynn—who briefly served as the top national security official in the White House before being forced to resign—to secure immunity in exchange for his testimony before Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the president’s top spokesman didn’t give a direct answer when asked whether Congress and the FBI should grant Flynn immunity.
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017
Trump’s criticism of the investigations by lawmakers and federal agencies came as the White House also stepped up its efforts to steer the congressional probe toward what press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday were “serious concerns on whether or not there was an organized and widespread effort by the Obama administration to use and leak highly sensitive intelligence information for political purposes.”
A representative for former President Barack Obama declined to comment.
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The congressional committees and the FBI are delving into allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian government hacked Democratic political organizations and individuals and leaked emails in an attempt to favor Trump, a Republican, in last year’s presidential election. Federal and congressional investigations also are probing whether Trump’ associates colluded with Russian officials in their effort to influence the election.
An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.
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