Flynn ab­duc­tion plot claims ‘out­ra­geous’

Sunday News - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON The lawyer for for­mer United States na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn has la­belled as ‘‘out­ra­geous’’ and ‘‘false’’ me­dia re­ports sug­gest­ing his client may have been in­volved in an al­leged plan to kidnap a Mus­lim cleric and de­liver him to Tur­key in ex­change for mil­lions of dol­lars.

The rare state­ment from lawyer Robert Kel­ner came af­ter The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported yes­ter­day that Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller was in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­leged pro­posal un­der which Flynn and his son would have re­ceived up to US$15 mil­lion for seiz­ing Fethul­lah Gulen from his US home and de­liv­er­ing him to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. The news­pa­per cited peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

US TV net­work NBC also re­ported yes­ter­day that Mueller’s team was in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Flynn met with se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cials in the weeks be­fore US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Jan­uary 2017 inau­gu­ra­tion to dis­cuss a pos­si­ble quid pro quo, in which Flynn would be paid to do the bid­ding of Tur­key’s gov­ern­ment while in of­fice. NBC cited mul­ti­ple peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the probe.

‘‘Out of re­spect for the process of the var­i­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­gard­ing the 2016 cam­paign, we have in­ten­tion­ally avoided re­spond­ing to ev­ery ru­mour or al­le­ga­tion raised in the me­dia,’’ Kel­ner said. ‘‘But 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.’’

The Jour­nal re­ported that the al­leged plan in­volv­ing Flynn and the Turk­ish of­fi­cials emerged dur­ing Mueller’s wider in­ves­ti­ga­tion of pos­si­ble Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and any col­lu­sion by the Trump cam­paign.

Flynn was fired by Trump af­ter just 24 days in the job, for mis­lead­ing Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence about the ex­tent of his con­ver­sa­tions with then-Rus­sian am­bas­sador Sergei Kislyak last year.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan ac­cuses Gulen of in­sti­gat­ing a failed coup in July 2016, and wants him ex­tra­dited to Tur­key to face trial. Gulen has de­nied any role in the coup.

Flynn is a cen­tral fig­ure in Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause of con­ver­sa­tions he had with Kislyak and be­cause he waited un­til March to retroac­tively reg­is­ter with the US Jus­tice De­part- REUTERS ment as a for­eign agent, for work he did for a Turk­ish busi­ness­man.

A spokesman for Mueller’s team de­clined to com­ment.

The Jour­nal re­ported that FBI agents had asked at least four peo­ple about a De­cem­ber meet­ing in New York where Flynn and Turk­ish gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives dis­cussed re­mov­ing Gulen, cit­ing peo­ple with knowl­edge of the FBI’s in­quiries. Reuters

For­mer United States na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn was al­legedly in­volved in a plan to kidnap an ex­iled Turk­ish Mus­lim cleric and de­liver him to Tur­key in ex­change for mil­lions of dol­lars.

Mam­moth re­mains are mostly male, and sci­en­tists say this may be due to ado­les­cent be­hav­iour.

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