Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Mueller team investigating pre-election meeting between Flynn and 'Putin's favorite congressman'

The cleric Fethullah Gulen was considered a political enemy to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan The cleric Fethullah Gulen was considered a political enemy to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Andrew Cummings | 12 November, 2017, 02:14

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether U.S. President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was involved in an alleged plan to seize a Muslim cleric and deliver him to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

According to the sources, Mueller recently interviewed witnesses over the December 2016 meeting between the Turkish officials and Flynn at the swanky 21 Club in New York City.

Under the plan, Flynn, who was sacked by Trump after just 24 days in the job, and his son, Michael G. Flynn, were to receive up to $15 million for forcibly removing Fethullah Gulen from his USA home and delivering him to the Turkish government, people familiar with the investigation told the Journal.

The meeting allegedly discussed a secret payout of up to $15 million dollars if, once in office, Flynn would engineer the deportation to Turkey of Fethullah Gulen, a political rival to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as help free Erdogan-linked Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab from prison.

Lawyers for Mr Flynn labelled the allegations "outrageous" and "false".

Most of what has been reported about Mueller's questioning of Flynn's lobbying work has concerned his efforts on behalf of Turkey.

The Journal said the people who described the alleged proposal didn't attend the December meeting and didn't have direct knowledge of the details. It is not clear if any money changed hands or if any preparatory steps were taken.

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The discussions allegedly included how to transport Gulen on a private jet to Turkey.

"Out of respect for the process of the various investigations regarding the 2016 campaign, we have intentionally avoided responding to every rumour or allegation raised in the media", Flynn's lawyer Robert Kelner told the press.

Investigators were also looking into the actions of his son, Michel Flynn Jr, in relation to the case.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is examining a meeting Flynn had with senior Turkish officials weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential race a year ago, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reported.

"We continue to work in close coordination with our colleagues in the relevant USA agencies to ensure that they comprehend the full scope of the criminality of FETO, the Fetullah Gulen Terror Organization, and the justifications for Gulen's extradition", the statement read.

Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump's presidential campaign at the time. "Evidence that Flynn was prepared to act in such an unlawful way could help prove a case against him in other activities as well involving his ties to Russian Federation during the campaign".

News reported earlier this week that Mueller had compiled enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son related to lobbying work past year.

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