A grand jury in Virginia is to hear evidence about Michael Flynn’s lobbying work for the Turkish government days after the 2016 presidential election, The Hill writes, citing a report.
Even though the role of President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor in the special counsel’s Russia investigation is slowly coming to an end, the grand jury will hear evidence as part of a probe into the lobbying effort.
The investigation was referred to in Robert Mueller’s memo on Flynn, made public on Tuesday, and is most likely one of the investigations the national security advisor gave “substantial assistance” with as he had direct knowledge of aspects of it.
Prosecutors are looking into his former business partners and clients who financed a campaign against Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who was exiled from Turkey and is now living in Pennsylvania. In 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed attacking Gulen, who has been accused by the Turkish government of initiating a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the opinion piece, which prompted prosecutors to investigate Flynn, the former national security advisor calls Gulen a “radical Islamist” and a “shady Islamic mullah.”
It was later discovered that the op-ed was part of a wider effort by Flynn on behalf of Turkey. Investigators found that a Turkish businessman close to the country’s president paid Flynn’s company $530,000 to investigate Gulen. Flynn further sought to convince Congress that Gulen needed to be extradited.
After taking office, President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn, prompting the appointment of Robert Mueller, whom investigators also looked into Flynn’s lobbying efforts.
The news of a grand jury’s examination of Flynn’s lobbying work for Turkey comes just a day after the special counsel’s prosecutors recommended that Flynn serve no jail time due to his substantial assistance to several of their investigations.