What a doozy this one is.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering extraditing a controversial Turkish cleric to ease pressure on Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, NBC reports.
Among the many problems with the purported plan: Career U.S. officials are having none of it.
“At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious,” NBC quotes an unnamed official as saying.
The extradition request concerns Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen, a U.S. green card-holder residing in Pennsylvania that the Erdogan government has portrayed as a mortal enemy of the Turkish state.
NBC reports that Trump officials directed the Justice Department and FBI to reopen a Turkish extradition request for Gulen “in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
Gulen is not the only Turk whose fate may be traded away in a bid to ease tensions.
NBC reports that the release of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is serving a 32-month sentence in federal prison for trying to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, is also under consideration.
Erdogan has called the Atilla case “a political attack” and demanded his release. Trump and the Turkish leader discussed extraditing Atilla as another way to improve relations, NBC reports.
The Trump Administration did not offer an explanation for why the U.S. is apparently undertaking an effort to smooth over relations soured by a Saudi-orchestrated murder.
Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser-turned-felon, admitted to lobbying on Turkey’s behalf in his guilty plea, revealing that he had been involved in a plan to smear Gulen.
The Trump Organization continues to accept millions from foreign governments.
Three weeks ago, ABC reported that a Turkish business group had moved to cancel an event at Trump’s DC hotel amid negotiations over Gulen’s fate.
Saudi officials have organized diplomatic events at Trump’s Washington hotel since his inauguration. The country rents out a floor of one of Trump’s New York buildings.