Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Whistleblower: Flynn texts broached nuclear plan, sanctions

Whistleblower: Flynn texts broached nuclear plan, sanctions

On President Donald Trump's Inauguration Day, a former business parter of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn allegedly bragged that Flynn told him Trump would quickly lift United States sanctions on Russia - a move that would pave the way for a controversial plan to build nuclear plants across the Middle East, with Russian help.

The witness provided the account to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who detailed the allegations in a letter Wednesday to the panel's chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

The Maryland Democrat said he considered "credible" the allegations that Flynn "sought to manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners".

"I believe the American people want Congress to hold President Trump and his administration accountable", Cummings wrote, "and they are exhausted of Republicans in Congress putting their heads in the sand when faced with credible allegations of grave abuses".

Mr Gowdy, in a written response later on Wednesday to Mr Cummings, panned the idea of the Oversight Committee doing its own investigation into what the whistle-blower has to say.

"Mike has been putting everything in place for us", Copson said, according to the whistleblower.

The letter from Cummings concluded with a request to issue subpoenas for "all documents and communications referring or relating" to Flynn's foreign contacts during the Trump campaign, the transition period and his brief time as national security adviser.

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The whistleblower told House Democrats that while Trump spoke at his inauguration, Flynn texted from his seat on the Capitol steps to Alex Copson, the managing director of ACU Strategic Partners and the nuclear project's main promoter.

Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his discussions with the Russian ambassador about sanctions during the transition.

Neither Copson nor an attorney for ACU responded to a request for comment. It was pushed by a company that Flynn had advised during the 2016 campaign and transition, seeking to promote a joint venture with Russian Federation to build nuclear power plants in the region.

Cummings did not name the whistleblower in the letter, but offered to have Gowdy speak with the person directly. "I am going to celebrate today". Copson added that "this is going to make a lot of very wealthy people". The witness could not read the text, but he saw that the time stamp was 12:11 p.m., according Cummings's letter.

"Mr. Copson explained [to the whistleblower] that General Flynn was making sure that sanctions would be 'ripped up", Cummings wrote.

In his letter, Mr. Cummings also said that his staff had been in consultations with Mr. Mueller's team, which brought the criminal charge against Mr. Flynn.

Mr Copson couldn't be located for comment.

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