WASHINGTON, U.S. - As part of his wide-ranging investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller is probing former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his son over fresh allegations.
Mueller is reportedly investigating the Flynn duo in connection with an alleged multimillion-dollar plot to nab a Muslim cleric in the United States and deliver him to Turkey.
The revelation about the purported incident and the Flynns’ potential involvement being part of Mueller’s Russia collusion-meddling probe was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The report quoted people familiar with the investigation as saying that Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, and son Michael Flynn Jr. were set to get as much as $15 million to deliver cleric Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government.
According to the report, officials in Turkey were apparently anxious to get the cleric after the Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan tried and failed to get the United States to extradite Gulen.
Turkish officials accuse the cleric, the leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), Fetullah Gülen of being a terrorist and being the mastermind behind a failed 2016 terror coup in which 250 people were killed in Turkey.
On Sunday, the Turkish Embassy in Washington reiterated that Gulen was the “mastermind” behind an assassination attempt on Erdogen and the failed 2016 terror coup.
Embassy officials have however dismissed as “utterly false, ludicrous and groundless" news reports that the Turkish government tried illegally to get the cleric to Turkey.
The statement read, “The fact that Fethullah Gulen … continues to find refuge in the United States remains perplexing and deeply frustrating for the Turkish people. We continue to work in close coordination with our colleagues in the relevant U.S. agencies to ensure that they comprehend the full scope of the criminality of the … Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization.”
According to a report in NBC, Mueller’s team, in its Justice Department investigation, is also looking into an alleged December 2016 meeting in which Flynn allegedly met with Turkish officials before President Trump’s inauguration.
The meeting is thought to use his influence to help the Turkish government.
Responding to the reports, the lawyer representing Flynn has condemned the "outrageous" and "false" allegations that Flynn had discussed a bribe with Turkish representatives to have Gülen kidnapped.
Robert Kelner, Flynn's top attorney, said in a statement that so far he has tried to avoid responding to every allegation and rumor being raised against his client Flynn, who is a retired, three-star military general, out of respect for the ongoing investigation regarding Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
He said, “However, today's news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule. They are false.”