Social media erupted on Saturday after a CNN analyst and former Homeland Security official said that sources have told her that former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have struck a deal of some sort with the FBI.
“It is starting to look like, from my sources and then also from open reporting, that Mike Flynn is the one who may have a deal with the FBI and that’s why we have not heard from him for some time,” Juliette Kayyem, an assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the Obama administration, said in a panel discussion on Friday night.
Kayyem noted that of the four former Trump advisers who are said to be subjects in an FBI investigation of potential ties to the Russian government, Flynn is the only one who has not volunteered to testify to Congress. The other three advisers, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone, offered to testify earlier this week.
Kayyem did not indicate who her sources are. Nor did she say if they are claiming that Flynn has struck a deal or that it merely appears likely that he has. Nevertheless, her claim went viral on Twitter, with clips of her CNN segment receiving thousands of shares.
So is her claim true?
A spokesman for Flynn declined to confirm or deny that it is.
“I don’t have anything on that,” Flynn spokesman Price Floyd told The Daily Caller when asked for comment on Kayyem’s claim.
When pressed for clarification if he was denying the claim or was was merely not responding, Floyd said: “Not responding.”
A confirmation that Flynn has struck a deal of some sort with the FBI would be a major blow against the Trump White House. But if Flynn has not, CNN’s credibility would suffer a hit.
Flynn has been involved in two scandals involving foreign governments in recent weeks. He was fired as Trump’s national security adviser after 24 days on the job last month because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador. (RELATED: Michael Flynn Is Lobbying For Obscure Dutch Firm With Ties To Turkish Government)
And earlier this month, the retired lieutenant general took the unusual step of retroactively registering as a foreign agent of the Turkish government. He disclosed that his firm, Flynn Intel Group, signed a $600,000 contract with Inovo BV, a Dutch shell company linked to the Turkish government.
Former CIA director James Woolsey, who served as an unpaid adviser for Flynn Intel, came forward Friday with some troubling details about Flynn’s work for the Turkish government.
Woolsey told The Wall Street Journal that he sat in on a Sept. 19 meeting with Flynn and two ministers of the Turkish government in which the subject of the extrajudicial removal of a U.S.-based cleric named Fethullah Gulen was discussed.
The Turkish government desperately wants the U.S. government to extradite Gulen. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, blames Gulen for a failed coup attempt last July. The extradition process would be handled through the Justice Department and federal court system, but the Turkish government has pressed both the Obama and Trump White Houses to intercede.
Woolsey, who led the CIA under Bill Clinton, said that Flynn and the Turkish ministers discussed “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away.” (RELATED: Michael Flynn Discussed Covert Extraditiion Plan With Turkish Government)
He says he told a mutual friend of then-Vice President Joe Biden’s about the discussion. Woolsey stepped down from the Trump transition team on Jan. 5.
Floyd pushed back against Woolsey’s claim, saying that the extrajudicial removal of Gulen was never discussed at the Sept. 19 meeting, which was held at Essex House hotel in New York City.
“I can say that at no time did anyone discuss what Woolsey passed onto the WSJ,” Floyd told TheDC.
“Of course, even he has backed away from that now,” he added.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Woolsey said that he entered the meeting after it had been going on for 45 minutes. He said that he does not recall any specific plans to get custody of Gulen.
In its contract with Inovo BV, Flynn Intel agreed to conduct research on Gulen using an “investigative laboratory” consisting of several former intelligence officials, including Woolsey and Brian McCauley, a former deputy assistant director for international operations at the FBI. (RELATED: As Foreign Agent For Turkey, Flynn Agreed To Form Elite Investigative Team, Make ‘Criminal Referrals’)
Woolsey was unaware, until informed by TheDC earlier this month, that he was listed in the contract or as part of an “investigative laboratory.”
Flynn also agreed to potentially make “criminal referrals” based on its research of Gulen. The consulting firm also agreed to make a documentary about Gulen.
Update: Kayyem commented on her remarks in a Facebook post Saturday evening.
“There is a lot of attention today on the CNN segment last night,” she began.
“To be clear, I did not say on this segment that I have any confirmation that [Flynn] is actually cooperating [with the FBI] or that I have talked to anyone who does. My informed analysis of this case is based on my years of experience in the national security arena,” she wrote.