Mueller investigating $15M Flynn plan to snatch exiled cleric

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Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is examining a meeting Flynn had with senior Turkish officials weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential race past year, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reported.

Mueller's investigation into Trump's aides has intensified in recent weeks, with charges being brought against the president's former campaign chairman, an ex-campaign official and a former foreign policy adviser. Friday's report describes a second meeting involving both Flynns at the 21 Club restaurant, a prohibition-era NY speakeasy patronised by Trump, in mid-December.

While Flynn has had a relationship with Turkey, his counsel denies the Wall Street Journal's report, according to CNN.

Lawyers for Mr Flynn labelled the allegations "outrageous" and "false".

Federal investigators have been probing Flynn's lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey, including an alleged meeting with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 where he was offered millions of dollars to secure the return of the Turkish president's chief rival to Turkey and see that a USA case against a Turkish national was dismissed. The discussions allegedly involved the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali, according to one of the people who has spoken to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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The Journal report did not allege that any money changed hands and did not detail how far the plan may have developed. The White House has distanced itself from the men charged by Mueller - Papadopoulos, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates. The media reports claim the alleged plan involving Flynn and Turkish officials was discovered during Mueller's wider investigation. In addition to founding and working for Flynn Intel Group, he joined his father on a trip to Moscow in December 2015 during which Flynn was paid $34,000 to speak at an event celebrating the state-sponsored news agency RT, NBC News reported.

The former national security adviser's company, Flynn Intel Group, is under scrutiny for failing to register work it did for interests linked to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Flynn is in legal jeopardy for his statements to investigators about his contacts with representatives of the Turkish and Russian governments.

"If the facts involving Flynn and his son are true, or even mostly true, it indicates an incredible propensity for outrageously illegal conduct", said Ryan Goodman, a NY law professor and former Pentagon counsel.

Special counsel Mueller's ability to gather enough evidence to make the charges stick could lead to Flynn making a plea bargain in exchange for cooperation on the Russia-related investigations.