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Flynn In Talks To Testify Before House, Senate Committees About Russia, 2016 Election

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) -- Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's embattled former national security adviser, is in ongoing negotiations with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees about testifying in their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, verified that talks between Flynn and both committees about testifying in their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election are taking place, although Kelner did not specify the nature of the negotiations, CBS News reported.

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Flynn "has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit," Kelner said in a statement. "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."

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Flynn has offered to testify before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees in exchange for immunity. However, CBS News' Catherine Reynolds reports that a House Intelligence Republican staffer said Flynn has not, in fact, made such an offer.

"There has been no discussion of any immunity deals with Flynn," the staffer said.

It's not an offer he's made to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, either, a Democratic Intel Committee staffer told Reynolds.

Flynn was fired from his job as President Donald Trump's first national security adviser after it was disclosed that he misled the vice president about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition.

In a resignation letter, Flynn said he gave Pence and others "incomplete information" about his calls with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. The vice president, apparently relying on information from Flynn, initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, though Flynn later conceded the issue may have come up.

In the letter, he also blamed "the fast pace of events" during the presidential transition for causing him to "inadvertently leave out key details of phone calls with the Russian ambassador prior to inauguration."

It was later revealed after his firing that Flynn had worked as a foreign agent for Turkey last year, helping represent the country's interests. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the lobbying work took place while Flynn was a private citizen.

Flynn's ties to Russia have been scrutinized by the FBI and are under investigation by the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee was holding its first public hearings on alleged Russian interference in the election to hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and help Trump.

"The American public, indeed all democratic societies, need to understand that line actors are using old techniques with new platforms to undermine our democratic institutions," Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, said.

"This Russian propaganda on steroids was designed to poison the national conversation in America," Sen. Mark Warner said. "The Russians employed thousands of paid Internet trolls and "botnets" to push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume."

The focus Thursday morning was on Russian disinformation tactics, with one expert testifying the practices continued post-election, with Russian-directed social media campaigns targeting Ryan over the failure of health care reform.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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