Pressure builds for Michael Flynn to testify without immunity

The New York Times reported Thursday that Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, was one of two White House aides who leaked information to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, that Nunes and the White House apparently hoped would vindicate President Donald Trump's claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had eavesdropped on him.

House investigators have big questions to figure out - like whether Comey will agree to come back to the committee and whether they can reschedule Yates after her own delving into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russian Federation were reported last week.

In a form signed by Flynn on March 31, the former White House official listed speaking engagements to Russian entities, including the Kremlin-funded RT TV, Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc, a USA subsidiary of Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

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

CNN previously reported that Flynn, according to a top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, was paid more than $45,000 by RT, formerly called Russia Today, for a speech in Moscow in December 2015.

Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, said his client was in the process of submitting his financial disclosures forms in the days before he left the White House.

Trump had named Flynn as his national security adviser before the president was sworn into office.

The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, said committee leaders would be discussing the issue with their Senate counterparts and the Justice Department. When the White House contacted him this week to complete the process, he updated and finalized the form.

Mr Flynn reported assets worth between 1.2 million dollars (£956,000) and 2.4 million dollars (£1.9 million) during the a year ago.

The U.S. government has said that RT, which receives Kremlin funding, is part of an array of propaganda outlets that help popularize a pro-Russian perspective through the media.

Kelner also noted to NBC News that the initial filing included the speaking fees bundled together as income from Leading Authorities LLC, a speakers bureau - rather than a breakdown of specific companies.

"If these were produced either for or by the White House, then why all of the subterfuge?"

Schiff, who has called for Nunes' recusal from the investigation because of his close ties to the White House, said the committee is interested in Flynn's testimony, but lawmakers are also "mindful" of the Justice Department's interests. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon made up to $2.5 million.

This week, the White House latched onto a month-old television interview from an Obama administration official who said she encouraged congressional aides to gather as much information on Russian Federation as possible before the inauguration.

"It certainly is an attempt to distract and to hide the origin of the materials, to hide the White House hand", Schiff said.

Farkas was no longer in government when she urged officials to collect intelligence on "the staff, the Trump staff, dealing with Russians".

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