US Attorney General says his department played a role in conducting a new review of Turkey’s extradition request for Gulen
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday he does not believe former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was working for Turkey after last year’s U.S. presidential election.
Sessions was frequently asked about Flynn and his relations with foreign countries while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.
In response to California State Democrat Zoe Lofgren's question about Flynn, Sessions said he does not believe Flynn worked for the Turkish government on extraditing Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen after the election.
In addition, Sessions said he did not have any information related to the case when asked if he was aware that Flynn was working with the Turkish government while acting as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.
The questions came after The Wall Street Journal claimed in a story that investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller on a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S election had found that Flynn had met with Turkish representatives twice last year.
According to the story, the latest meeting with Turkish officials took place last December, weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration, in which Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were offered $15 million to kidnap Gulen from his multimillion-dollar complex in Pennsylvania.
The report said that in a previous meeting on Sept. 19, Flynn and two Turkish businessmen discussed ways to deliver Gulen to Turkey without going through U.S. legal procedures.
Sessions emphasized that he "absolutely" did not know about the claim that Flynn was offered $15 million to kidnap Gulen.
Describing them as "utterly false, ludicrous and groundless," the Turkish Embassy in Washington last week denied allegations that Turkey would use unlawful ways of extraditing Gulen.
Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, also condemned the allegations, calling them "outrageous" and "false".
Turkey last year requested the extradition Gulen, who is accused of being behind a deadly failed coup that martyred 250 people.
Referring to The Wall Street Journal's claim about Flynn, Sessions noted that he did not recall being briefed on the allegation and read about it in the U.S. media just recently.
Sessions was also asked if he knew the FBI was requested to conduct a new review of Turkey's 2016 extradition request for Gulen after the inauguration.
"I am aware that the Turkish government continues to press the federal government with regard to seeking the return of Mr. Gulen to Turkey and our department had a role to play in that, although I am not at liberty to discuss details of that," he said.