The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that during the transition period in January, former Donald Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was offered $15 million in exchange for helping the Turkish government kidnap a guy in Pennsylvania and drag him off to Turkey. This prompted Flynn, through his lawyers, to immediately refute the story. Here’s the question: why didn’t Flynn refute the kidnapping story the first time the Wall Street Journal reported it, all the way back in March?
The WSJ first reported on March 24th of 2017 that Flynn and the Turkish government had discussed the possibility of kidnapping Fethullah Gulen (link). There was then a brief period of intense media coverage of the storyline when it was revealed that former CIA Director James Woolsey had also been in the meeting, and that he was so unnerved by it, he reported it to Vice President Joe Biden. After that, the story fell by the wayside, largely because so many other Trump-Russia storylines have since emerged. Then on Friday the WSJ essentially reported the story again (link), this time adding one crucial new detail: the original reporting didn’t include the $15 million offer.
Flynn was already being paid as a consultant by Turkish government intermediaries. It wasn’t known until now that Flynn was allegedly offered a massive additional sum of money, specifically in return for participating in the kidnapping plot. Now suddenly Flynn’s attorneys, who have been consistently quiet all year, have made this statement: “Today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false.”
There are a few different reasons why Michael Flynn may have chosen to ignore it when he was first accused of participating in a kidnapping plot, and then chosen to loudly deny it this time around. But the only detail that’s changed is the claim that Flynn was specifically offered payment in return for participating in the plot. It’s enough to make you wonder if Flynn might have already confessed the kidnapping plot to Mueller as part of some deal, and is now worried that the new bribery accusation could invalidate his deal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report