Sources: Mueller Probing Alleged Flynn Plot to Abduct Cleric

Special counsel said to be investigating scheme to 'remove' Fethullah Gulen from US, bring to Turkey
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2017 1:49 PM CST
Alleged Plot Against Muslim Cleric, With Flynn in the Middle
In this Feb. 1, 2017, file photo, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

At least two ex-members of President Trump's campaign team have been burned so far by the Mueller Russia investigation. Now, more rumblings about an ex-administration member. The Wall Street Journal Friday detailed an alleged plot that Robert Mueller is probing—one that involves Flynn and his son, Michael G. Flynn, receiving up to $15 million if they could arrange for the "forcible removal" of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen from the US and deliver him to Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been trying to extradite him. People who say they're familiar with the probe say the FBI has already cornered at least four people about a December meeting at NYC's 21 Club, where Flynn and reps of the Turkish government were said to be in attendance. One source said Flynn was even ready to use his influence in the White House to try to send Gulen back to Turkey legally, via extradition.

The Journal's sources didn't have further details on the meeting or the alleged plot, and there's no evidence suggesting money ever came into play. But Flynn was already known to have been a lobbyist for Turkish interests before he joined Trump's administration, though he didn't disclose that until after he'd been driven out for not coming clean about conversing with a Russian operative. And ex-CIA Director James Woolsey was at a previous meeting in September with Flynn, Turkish government officials, and Erdogan's son-in-law and told the Journal he found the subject of removing Gulen from the US "startling and the actions being discussed possibly illegal." What investigators are now reportedly looking into on Flynn: whether he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which "requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in the US" to disclose such dealings. A rep for Mueller wouldn't comment, nor would lawyers for either Flynn. (More Michael Flynn stories.)

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