Mueller team investigating pre-election meeting between Flynn and 'Putin's favorite congressman'

The cleric Fethullah Gulen was considered a political enemy to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Federal investigators have been probing Flynn's lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey, including an alleged meeting with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 where he was offered millions of dollars to secure the return of the Turkish president's chief rival to Turkey and see that a US case against a Turkish national was dismissed.

The Wall Street Journal said its sources weren't on hand at the December meeting, but were familiar with the Mueller investigation, though didn't know how deep the special counsel was probing the plot. 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.

The focus of Mueller's investigation is to examine whether a discussion at 21 Club in NY leading to a deal to transport the cleric to Turkey would have resulted in Flynn receiving millions of dollars in secret payments, and whether Flynn was, in fact, part of that discussion.

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According to the two reports, the discussions included details of how Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in Pennsylvania and has a large Turkish following, could be flown secretly by private jet to the isolated Turkish prison island of Imrali. "A covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away", Woolsey described the plan underlining that he attended the meeting at the request of one of Mr. Flynn's business associates. 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 fact that Flynn never registered as a foreign agent of Turkey - much like Manafort didn't register for doing work for Ukraine before he worked for Trump - gives fuel to a federal grand jury to indict him for that very omission.

The probe into the alleged Gulen plot is part of Mueller's larger investigation into alleged improper contacts between Trump representatives and agents of the Russian government during and after the 2016 US presidential election.

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"If the facts involving Flynn and his son are true, or even mostly true, it indicates an incredible propensity for outrageously illegal conduct", said Ryan Goodman, a NY law professor and former Pentagon counsel.

In a statement late Friday, Flynn's lawyers, led by Robert Kelner of the Covington law firm, rejected the reports.

NBC News also reports this morning that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has taken an interest in the alleged December 2016 meeting as part of "a line of inquiry regarding Flynn's lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey".

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