Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly has enough hard evidence to bring charges against Michael T. Flynn and his son, NBC News reported on Sunday.
If Flynn is arrested, he would become the first former or current member of the Trump administration to be ensnared in the ongoing Russia probe. Flynn served as Trump’s national security adviser for 24 days before he was fired for lying about his contacts with Russian officials.
The Flynn story follows the recent indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his partner, Rick Gates, on 12 counts including conspiracy, money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and making a false statement, among others.
The unsealed indictments also revealed that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had been arrested last July for lying to investigators. Papadopoulos was said to be cooperating with Mueller’s team.
Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, also could be in legal jeopardy for his role as chief of staff for his father at the Flynn Intel Group lobbying firm. The NBC article suggested that Mueller’s team may be using its leverage over prosecuting Flynn the son to convince the former national security adviser to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
The report reveals that:
The investigators are speaking to multiple witnesses in coming days to gain more information surrounding Flynn’s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.
Mueller’s team is also examining whether Flynn attempted to orchestrate the removal of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars, two officials said.
The target of that operation was cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of orchestrating a recent coup against him in Turkey. NBC says that Flynn allegedly had discussed with Turkish officials forcibly removing Gulen from the U.S., i.e., kidnapping him. Those discussions took place before Trump was elected.
Flynn also is accused of conducting more than half a million dollars in business on behalf of the Turkish government, despite only retroactively registering as a foreign lobbyist.
He also worked for Russian state television and attended a dinner in which he sat next to Vladimir Putin.