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 for the extradition of Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen 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 Donald Trump's 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 report, the latest meeting with Turkish officials took place last December, weeks before Trump's inauguration, in which Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were offered $15 million to kidnap Gülen from his multimillion-dollar property in Pennsylvania. The report said that in a previous meeting on Sept. 19, Flynn and two Turkish businessmen discussed ways to deliver Gülen 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 Gülen.
Describing them as "utterly false, ludicrous and groundless," the Turkish Embassy in Washington last week denied the allegations that Turkey would use unlawful ways to get Gülen.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım pointed out last week that Turkey has only dealt with the U.S. in the scope of the rule of law regarding Gülen's extradition, refuting allegations that Turkey would try to get the former imam outside of legal extradition processes. Speaking in a televised interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Yıldırım denied that Turkey had received assurance from Flynn on the extradition of the FETÖ leader.
Yıldırım said: "We are not dealing with Michael Flynn," adding that the Justice Ministry and U.S. State Department remain in communication to make progress regarding the issue.
Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, also condemned the allegations, calling them outrageous and false.
Turkey has repeatedly demanded that the FETÖ leader be extradited from the U.S. where he is suspected of having orchestrated last year's coup attempt that resulted in the deaths of 249 civilians and injured 2,195 people. Even though Turkey has provided the U.S. with various evidence, it is still unknown whether the extradition will take place or not. Ankara claims that U.S. authorities have turned the issue into a political tool being used against Turkey. 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 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 Gülen after the inauguration.
"I am aware that the Turkish government continues to press the federal government with regard to seeking the return of Mr. Gülen 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.
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