President Trump’s former national security advisor met with top Turkish officials during the campaign to discuss removing an exiled Muslim cleric from the U.S., according to reports Friday.
Retired Gen. Mike Flynn and Turkish government ministers talked about sneaking Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a failed coup last summer, out of the U.S. without going through the legal extradition process, former Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal.
Gulen has lived in the Pocono region of Pennsylvania since 1999.
Woolsey, who attended the Sept. 19 meeting at the Essex House hotel, described the ideas discussed as “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away.” He said he was stunned by the conversation.
“It seemed to be naive,” Woolsey told The Journal. “I didn’t put a lot of credibility in it.
The Turkish officials present included the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Woolsey said.
A Flynn spokesman, Price Floyd, told the paper that “at no time did Gen. Flynn discuss any illegal actions, non-judicial physical removal or any other such activities.”
Flynn reportedly failed to disclose his ties with Turkey to Trump, only filing as a foreign agent with the Justice Department after he was fired.
He reported being paid $530,000 for lobbying on behalf of a Turkish company from August through November.
The former Army general was reportedly receiving classified national security briefings last summer alongside Trump while also running his private consulting firm.
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