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Michael Flynn. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Bijan Rafiekan, a former business partner of ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and a member of the Trump transition team, was found guilty Tuesday of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Turkish government and lying about it to the Justice Department.

Why it matters: Rafiekan's prosecution was one of 11 cases transferred by special counsel Robert Mueller to other jurisdictions over the course of his investigation. Flynn, who has been cooperating with prosecutors since December 2017, was enlisted to testify about Rafiekan's role in hiding Flynn Intel Group's illegal lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government. The agreement fell apart earlier this month, however, as a result of a dispute between prosecutors and Flynn's new attorneys, per Politico.

  • As part of Flynn pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his Russian contacts, he was not charged with illegally acting as a foreign agent for Turkey. However, Flynn was part of a scheme to build public U.S. support for extraditing dissident cleric Fethullah Gulen, a sworn enemy of President Erdogan accused by the government of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.
  • In 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed in The Hill criticizing Gulen as a "radical Islamist" and "shady Islamic mullah." The Wall Street Journal later reported that Flynn and his son twice met with Turkish representatives to discuss kidnapping Gulen and forcibly extraditing him to Turkey.

The big picture: Rafiekan's case is part of a broader Justice Department crackdown on violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, especially in the wake of the Mueller investigation.

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.