US Special Counsel Reportedly Probing Plot To Hand Over Turkish Cleric Gulen

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

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is looking into an alleged September 20, 2016 meeting between Michael Flynn and stridently pro-Kremlin Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) as part of their investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election, NBC News reported Friday.

While Flynn has had a relationship with Turkey, his counsel denies the Wall Street Journal's report, according to CNN.

Mueller's interest in the nature of Flynn and Rohrabacher's discussion marks the first known time a member of Congress could be wrapped into the investigation.

After Trump took office, Flynn served as national security adviser for 24 days before being forced to resign for misleading White House officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak.

Flynn is surrounded by allegations around his financial ties to Russian Federation and Turkey. And as early as September of previous year, he had discussions with Turkish officials to find ways to deliver on the Gulen plan, according to James Woolsey, the former Central Intelligence Agency director. According to "people familiar with the investigation", it was at this encounter that the $15m payment was discussed. 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.

The timing of the 21 Club meeting is significant.

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Mr Mueller is increasing pressure on Mr Flynn following his indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, NBC News said.

The meeting happened, however, after Flynn had already been offered the job of national security adviser in the Trump White House.

That period is a grey area when it comes to paid work for foreign interests, but if the arrangement was carried through past inauguration in January, Flynn could face bribery charges on top of questions of whether the NY conversations represented a conspiracy to carry out a forced extra-judicial rendition of a legal U.S. resident.

As a rule, they said, they do not comment on news reports involving their client.

Flynn resigned almost three weeks after Sally Yates, the acting attorney general at the time, warned the White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail over his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

In a statement late Friday, Flynn's lawyers, led by Robert Kelner of the Covington law firm, rejected the reports. But the embassy denied that its government had been looking at any illegal ways of getting Gulen out of the USA and into the hands of Turkish government officials.

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