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FBI Inquiry Unveiled: Adams Commits to Disclosing Professional Travel to Turkey, Uncertain on Personal Trips

FBI Inquiry Unveiled: Adams Commits to Disclosing Professional Travel to Turkey, Uncertain on Personal Trips

"At a press briefing on Tuesday, Mayor Adams acknowledged his historical travels to Turkey dating back to his tenure as a state senator but remained noncommittal on providing comprehensive details, particularly concerning the ongoing FBI probe into his campaign. The disclosure follows the recent public revelation of the expansive FBI investigation, prompting a flurry of questions. Notably, Adams did not directly address inquiries about a suspended City Hall aide's potential ties to his political operation, an issue brought to light by a recent Daily News report.

City Hall staffer Rana Abbasova, allegedly instructing colleagues to delete text exchanges after a federal raid on her New Jersey home, adds a layer of complexity to the investigation. While a high-ranking Adams administration official reportedly shared this information with investigators, Adams and his team refrained from commenting on the circumstances surrounding the matter during Tuesday's briefing. Adams neither confirmed nor denied whether Abbasova volunteered on his 2021 mayoral campaign, which is under scrutiny for potential connections to the Turkish government and campaign donations possibly funneled through illegal straw donors.

Adams, accompanied by his chief counsel Lisa Zornberg, emphasized cooperation with the investigation but declined to delve into specifics. The probe, initiated with the FBI raids on the homes of key campaign figures like Brianna Suggs and Abbasova, appears centered around donations from Turkish immigrants associated with Brooklyn-based KSK Construction. Additionally, the investigation explores Adams' interactions with former FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro during his tenure as Brooklyn borough president. A source revealed that Adams received a text from Reyhan Özgür, Turkey’s consul general in New York, regarding fire safety concerns at the then-under-construction Turkish consulate building. Adams, in response, sought Nigro's assistance, leading to the resolution of the matter and the subsequent ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan."

"The ongoing FBI probe into Mayor Adams' campaign has triggered scrutiny over his travel history to Turkey. While Adams has publicly acknowledged six or seven trips, only three have been reported. During a Tuesday briefing, Adams disclosed travel during his state senator days to Turkey and Azerbaijan, trips not documented in financial disclosure forms from that period. His travels to Turkey include two official visits as borough president, and one accompanied by his son, Jordan Coleman.

When pressed for a comprehensive list of his Turkey trips, their financiers, and purposes, Adams initially committed to providing the information. However, he later drew a distinction between "personal" and "governmental" trips, committing only to disclose the latter, citing adherence to procedural norms. When asked about potential advice from Frank Carone, his former City Hall chief of staff and campaign adviser, regarding the federal investigation, Adams remained tight-lipped, stating he doesn't discuss personal conversations.

Regarding the legal defense fund established in response to the probe, Adams clarified that Vito Pitta, his campaign compliance attorney, would not serve as a fundraiser. He acknowledged the potential cost of the investigation and emphasized the meticulous compliance with rules in managing the fund. As the complexities of the investigation unfold, Adams underscores the need for transparency while navigating the legal and financial aspects of the situation."

"In conclusion, Mayor Adams' disclosure of past travels to Turkey, coupled with the ongoing FBI probe into his campaign, raises complex questions about transparency and accountability. The distinction between 'personal' and 'governmental' trips adds another layer of uncertainty, leaving room for speculation. Adams' commitment to providing information on the governmental aspects of his travels reflects a partial willingness to address concerns.

The evasiveness surrounding personal conversations with his former chief of staff and the careful management of the legal defense fund further underscore the intricacies of navigating this investigation. As the mayor acknowledges the potential significant financial implications, the call for strict compliance with rules demonstrates a commitment to transparency.

However, with the investigation unfolding and public interest intensifying, the need for comprehensive and candid responses becomes paramount. Navigating these challenges will not only impact the mayor's political standing but also shape perceptions of leadership and accountability in the broader context of municipal governance."