The criminal investigation into Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election took an unexpected turn on Friday. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into new allegations involving ex-Trump adviser Michael Flynn and a Muslim cleric in the U.S. wanted by the Turkish government.
CGTN’s Toby Muse has the details.
Special Counsel Mueller is reportedly looking into an alleged plot involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and a plan to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric from the United States and send him to Turkey. All of this reportedly at the direction of the Turkish government.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Flynn and his son were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver Fethullah Gülen to the Turkish government. The cleric has been living in exile in the U.S. since the late 1990s.
The newspaper said the plan allegedly involved putting Gulen on a private jet and flying him to a Turkish prison. Turkey has requested the cleric be legally extradited, but the U.S. government has so far rejected this.
The government of Turkey accuses Gulen of plotting last year’s coup attempt and calls him a terrorist.
The allegations of a plot involving the dissident cleric could open up Flynn and his son to charges including ‘conspiracy to kidnap.’
Over the last eight months, Turkish police have been carrying out nationwide operations aiming to detain and arrest anyone in connection with the Fethullah Gulen organization known as FETO. CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.
Before joining the Trump administration, Flynn had lobbied on behalf of the Turkish government in the U.S. He didn’t reveal this fact until March of this year.
In November of 2016, Flynn wrote an editorial in The Hill, a Washington D.C. newspaper, urging the U.S. to extradite the cleric to Turkey.
“The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam,” Flynn wrote. “We should not provide him safe haven.”
Flynn served as National Security Adviser for only 24 days before resigning over secret meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s aides has intensified in recent weeks, with charges being brought against the president’s former campaign chairman, an ex-campaign official and a former foreign policy adviser.