By Katie Bo Williams - 03-31-17 11:38 AM EDT
The Senate Intelligence Committee has turned down former national security adviser Michael Flynn's request for immunity in exchange for his testimony in the panel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election - at least for now.
The committee is not receptive to the offer "at this time," according to NBC's Kasie Hunt.
The panel's investigation into Russian interference in the election is ongoing, and the decision does not necessarily rule out such a deal in the future.
Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) earlier in the week strongly implied that Flynn would be a potential witness before the committee - telling reporters that "you would think less of us" if the committee had not talked with him.
Flynn, a former intelligence official, was ousted in February after the revelation that he misled Vice President Pence about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has made requests to 20 individuals to be interviewed in connection to the investigation, and five of those interviews have already been scheduled, Burr said.
The remaining 15 interviews will "probably" be scheduled within the next 10 days, Burr said, and only Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has been publicly identified.
The committee will schedule its interview with Kushner only when "we know exactly the scope of what needs to be asked," Burr said - providing one plausible explanation for the decision to turn down Flynn's offer.
It is common for witnesses to ask for immunity in exchange for testimony. Congress can grant such protections, but lawmakers typically do so only after consulting with the Justice Department, to avoid disrupting a federal investigation.
The Justice Department can delay a congressional immunity deal, but cannot not block one entirely.
Flynn's lawyer has provided few details about what testimony he might provide but said in a statement that "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."