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Michael Flynn Once Said Immunity ‘Means You Probably Committed a Crime’

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Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is negotiating with Congress for immunity in connection with an investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election, but last year he said being granted immunity meant someone had done something illegal.

“When you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime,” Flynn, then an aide on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said on Meet the Press in September 2016, the Washington Post reports. His comments came after reports surfaced that Hillary Clinton had been granted immunity by the government in exchange for talking with the FBI about her email server.

The same month, Trump said at a Florida rally, “If you are not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?” The following day in Wisconsin, he elaborated, “The reason they get immunity is because they did something wrong. If they didn’t do anything wrong, they don’t think in terms of immunity.”

In reality, requesting or being granted immunity from prosecution does not constitute an admission of guilt.

Flynn and Trump see things differently now. The retired general is in discussions with the House and Senate intelligence committees to receive immunity in exchange for being questioned in ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. Flynn’s attorney says he wants immunity from “unfair prosecution,” and Trump jumped to Flynn’s defense Friday morning, tweeting that Flynn should ask for immunity because “this is a witch hunt.”

Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after reports surfaced that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other government officials about his contacts with Russia.

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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com