WSJ: Mueller’s Attention Turns To Flynn’s Documentary On Turkish Cleric

Chris Post/AP

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Michael Flynn’s work on an unfinished film about the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (pictured above), the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Flynn had been the subject of a federal probe regarding unregistered lobbying work prior to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, a probe which Mueller incorporated into his broader investigation once assuming his current position.

Specifically at question, in addition to Flynn’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 election, is Flynn’s company’s $530,000 contract with a Turkish businessman with ties to the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Flynn and business partner Bijan Kian worked for the businessman, Ekim Alptekin, on anti-Gulen material including a documentary while Flynn also worked for Trump’s presidential campaign.

Flynn published an op-ed on Election Day echoing the Turkish president’s position on Gulen. Following the election, Kian joined Flynn on Trump’s national security transition team.

The Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed people familiar with Mueller’s investigation, that the FBI is “preparing to interview consultants” hired by Flynn to work on the Gulen documentary.

The report noted that, in May, one freelance journalist hired by Flynn to film interviews for the documentary claimed to have been told by Flynn to keep his company’s involvement secret.

“He said: ‘We don’t want anyone to know the Flynn Intel Group has anything to do with this,” the journalist, Dave Enders, said.

Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that the FBI has contacted Enders and another journalist hired for the project, Rudi Bakhtiar, “to ask them about their roles in the venture.”

Bakhtiar told the Journal in May that Flynn misled her about the project.

“He never said ‘We’re going to make a documentary that’s going to crush Gulen,'” she told the Journal. “I never would have done it.”

The Friday report added: “Others who have already spoken to the FBI have said that investigators have been asking detailed questions about Kian, former vice chair of the now-defunct Flynn Intel Group.”

Edorgan’s demand that Gulen be extradited to Turkey — the cleric stands accused of inciting an attempted coup, an accusation he denies — has so far been rejected by the United States.

The New York Times first reported Thursday that Flynn’s lawyers had ceased communicating with President Donald Trump’s lawyers on Mueller’s expansive investigation, hinting at the possibility that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller.