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November 10, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing allegations that President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was involved in a deal to earn $15 million from the successful kidnapping of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen from the United States, The Wall Street Journal reports. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pressured the U.S. government to extradite Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and is accused by Ankara of orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey in 2016. Gulen and his supporters deny the charges.

Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., reportedly met with Turkish government officials in December 2016 — after Michael Flynn was already selected as national security adviser — and allegedly discussed "the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali," The Wall Street Journal first reported in March. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, who claims he was at the meeting, described the plan as "a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away." After hearing the scheme, Woolsey informed then-Vice President Joe Biden via a mutual friend.

Flynn registered as a foreign agent in March, after he was ousted from the Trump administration. He had reportedly signed a deal with a firm run by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin for work that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey," as Flynn wrote in his paperwork for the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit. His contract ended in November — the same month the Justice Department notified Flynn he was under federal investigation for his undisclosed lobbying.

Mueller recently indicted President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in part due to Manafort's allegedly inadequate disclosure of work on the behalf of the Ukrainian government. Flynn was ousted after 24 days in office for allegedly misleading Vice President Mike Pence on his contact with the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Read The Wall Street Journal's full report here. Jeva Lange

January 26, 2017

President Donald Trump launched his seventh day in office by tearing into Chelsea Manning, the former army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified military documents and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Former President Obama commuted the sentence of Manning before leaving office:

Trump's tweet was apparently a reaction to an op-ed Manning published in The Guardian on Thursday. "Barack Obama left behind hints of a progressive legacy. Unfortunately, despite his faith in our system and his positive track record on many issues over the last eight years, there have been very few permanent accomplishments," Manning wrote. She added: "The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama's legacy: Do not start off with a compromise. They won't meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader."

Manning has not technically been released from prison, contrary to Trump's tweet. She will be released in May 2017, long before her initial release date of May 2045; she was originally sentenced to 35 years. Jeva Lange

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