Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Gulen to Turkey


Date posted: November 10, 2017

James V. Grimaldi, Shane Harris and Aruna Viswanatha

WASHINGTON—Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed the U.S. to extradite him, views the cleric as a political enemy.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have asked at least four individuals about a meeting in mid-December at the ‘21’ Club in New York City, where Mr. Flynn and representatives of the Turkish government discussed removing Mr. Gulen, according to people with knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries. The discussions allegedly involved the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali, according to one of the people who has spoken to the FBI.


WSJ Exclusive: Ex-CIA Head Woolsey on Flynn, Covert Plan


The Wall Street Journal previously reported on efforts by Turkish officials to get Mr. Gulen to Turkey without going through the U.S. extradition legal process, an effort that included an earlier meeting with Mr. Flynn in September 2016.

The investigation is being handled by Mr. Mueller as part of his probe of Trump campaign advisers and Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to those familiar with the investigation.

A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment.

The people who described the alleged proposal said they didn’t attend the December meeting and didn’t have direct knowledge from Mr. Flynn or his associates about its purported details. It isn’t clear how advanced Mr. Mueller’s investigation of the alleged plan to remove Mr. Gulen is, nor is there any indication that any money changed hands, according to those familiar with the discussions and the FBI investigation.

But federal investigators’ interest in whether Mr. Flynn was pursuing potentially illegal means to forcibly deal with Mr. Gulen indicates that the former Trump adviser faces another investigation stemming from his work on behalf of Turkish government interests, both before and after the presidential election.

A lawyer for Mr. Flynn declined to comment, as did a lawyer for Mr. Flynn Jr.

Before entering the Trump administration as the president’s national security adviser, Mr. Flynn was lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests in the U.S., including on the Gulen issue. He didn’t disclose that work until March of this year, after he was forced out of the White House for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Mr. Flynn served as national security adviser for just 24 days.

He is now facing military, congressional and criminal investigations into allegations that he improperly concealed his financial ties to Turkey and Russia, and into whether the ties played any role in his decisions as the president’s adviser, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported.

One person familiar with the alleged discussions about Mr. Gulen said Mr. Flynn also was prepared to use his influence in the White House to further the legal extradition of the cleric, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Gulen’s legal residency in the U.S. became a major irritant in American and Turkish relations during the Obama administration, and Turkish officials pressed for Mr. Gulen’s extradition so that he could face charges. Mr. Erdogan’s government has accused the clericof masterminding a failed coup and have called him and his supporters a terrorist network. Mr. Gulen denies both accusations.

The alleged meeting in New York in December, which came after Mr. Flynn was tapped as national security adviser, was a follow-up to an earlier discussion, on Sept. 19, where Turkish officials first raised the possibility of forcibly removing Mr. Gulen. That September meeting, held in a hotel and attended by former CIA Director James Woolsey,was reported earlier by the Journal.

Mr. Gulen’s removal was discussed as “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away,” according to Mr. Woolsey, who said he attended the meeting at the request of one of Mr. Flynn’s business associates.

Also present at the September meeting were Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s foreign minister, foreign-lobbying disclosure documents show. The Turkish Embassy has previously acknowledged that Turkish officials met with Mr. Flynn but declined to discuss the conversation.

A White House spokesman deferred all questions to a spokesman for the Trump transition process.

“We don’t have any evidence that such a meeting took place,” that spokesman said, referring to the December meeting. “And if it did take place it happened not withstanding the transition.”

At the time the plan was discussed, Turkey had been lobbying Obama administration officials for months to release Mr. Gulen to Turkish custody and wanted to avoid a legal extradition proceeding, according to a former official with direct knowledge of Turkish and American discussions. The Obama administration rebuffed those requests, the official said.

In Mr. Flynn, the Turks found a more sympathetic ear. Mr. Flynn wrote an op-ed published in The Hill on the day of the presidential election in which he praised Mr. Erdogan’s government and called the cleric “a shady Islamic mullah” and “radical Islamist” who may be running “a dangerous sleeper terror network” in the U.S.

“We should not provide him safe haven,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

Mr. Woolsey said he informed the U.S. government about the September meeting by notifying Vice President Joe Biden through a mutual friend.

The mutual friend confirmed to the Journal that he told Mr. Biden about the meeting. Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter, other than to say Mr. Biden felt the Gulen matter should be handled through the courts.

Mr. Woolsey, who served briefly as an adviser to the Trump campaign, said he turned down a consulting fee from Mr. Flynn’s company because of what he heard at the meeting.

Federal records show that the company, Flynn Intel Group, was paid $530,000 for advocacy work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”

Federal investigators are currently looking at whether Mr. Flynn’s work on behalf of Turkey violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires people to disclose when they are acting in the U.S. on behalf of foreign powers, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been indicted by the special counsel on charges stemming from his work for the former government of Ukraine, which he didn’t properly disclose to U.S. authorities, according to federal charges disclosed last month. Mr. Manafort’s attorney has entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

The Journal reported in March that Mr. Flynn had sought immunity from investigators probing Russia’s interference in the presidential election in exchange for his testimony. Mr. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, wouldn’t comment at the time on details of his discussions involving Mr. Flynn, but said “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”

Mr. Flynn, who was fired in 2014 as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is a central figure in the sprawling special counsel investigation, which is examining whether Trump campaign or business associates coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to steal private emails from political groups and campaigns and expose them publicly. Mr. Flynn’s contacts with the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, have been scrutinized as part of that probe, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

President Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russia. The Russians have consistently denied interfering in the election.

 

Source: Wall Street Journal , November 10, 2017


Related News

Dutch police arrest Erdogan backer for threats after failed Turkish coup

Dutch police on Monday detained a 42-year-old Dutchman of Turkish descent for alleged death threats and hate speech after the failed Turkish coup in July, which has ratcheted up tension among Turks in the Netherlands. The arrested man is an Erdogan supporter and he is suspected of having threatened Gulen backers online and in person, a Dutch official said on condition of anonymity.

Fethullah Gülen’s lawyers fear attacks on his life amid calls for return to Turkey

“We’re very concerned about his safety,” said Reid Weingarten, a member of Gülen’s legal team, at a press conference on Friday in Washington DC. Weingartern repeated Gülen’s denials that he was involved in the attempted coup attempt and suggested that the Turkish government’s evidence will fall far short of American legal standards. “For Mr Gülen to be involved, he would have to be acting inconsistent with everything he’s done his entire adult life,” he said.

‘Hizmet Movement is teaching “habits of the heart”, without any request for payback’

The individuals in the Hizmet Movement present to Americans a life of Islam which is not frightening, which, where the values and concerns relate primarily to those of family and faith.

Dumanlı: Accusations directed at Hizmet Movement is a great disappointment

Dumanlı reminded that the government deems Hizmet Movement as an illegal group but until recently the government has had close relationships with the Hizmet. “Did not you want to meet with Gülen in May? And did not you send Bülent Arınç when the meeting did not take place?

Turkish aid organization becomes direct target of AK Party

Kimse Yok Mu, a UN-affiliated aid organization based in Turkey and the only Turkish organization that has a large outreach presence in 113 countries, continues to be a direct target of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government due to the latter’s hatred of the faith-based Hizmet movement, which inspired the work of the organization.

‘Hizmet is the attempt to celebrate all of humanity’

Hizmet Movement is unique because it doesn’t try to carry out what we call cultural and religious particularism. That would be the idea that your group is the best, that you have the only form of truth, that all other groups are impure, incorrect and that they are not worthy of time, or that they’re not worthy of learning something from them. Hizmet, in fact, says the opposite. Members reach out to learn from other peoples, they actively invite people from different cultural backgrounds, people from different religious backgrounds to come and teach them, to teach them things.

Latest News

Jailed woman in hospital for delivery to be returned to jail with new-born

Former intel chief calls for use of ASALA, MOSSAD tactics to kill Gülen followers

Fethullah Gülen’s Message for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A new refugee flow to Europe: Turkish refugees

What can Christians learn from a global Islamic movement?

Jailed teacher dies of cancer in Turkish prison

Two women detained during visit to jailed husbands

668 babies – children in Turkey’s prisons

Mother with 25-day-old baby jailed on coup charges in Istanbul

In Case You Missed It

Turkish Cultural Center Vermont gives awards at Friendship Dinner

Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue

Turkish School Awarded ‘Ukraine’s Best School’

Hizmet movement and the AK Party

Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu represents Turkey at UN summit

Romanian Senate president inaugurates Turkish school in Romania

Turkish mob boss to gov’t: Why bother with diplomacy? We’ll kill Gülen, his followers

Turkish volunteers reach out to orphans in Nairobi

Deputy Bal says did not resign from AK Party on anyone’s orders

Copyright 2018 Hizmet News