Michael Flynn 'promised former business partner seeking Russian nuclear deal sanctions would be ripped up'

According to an anonymous whistleblower

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Thursday 07 December 2017 00:03 GMT
Michael Flynn departs US District Court after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States on December 1, 2017
Michael Flynn departs US District Court after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States on December 1, 2017 (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Michael Flynn is said to have told a former business associate shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration that the new administration would dissolve sanctions on Russia, clearing the way for a plan to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, according to a whistleblower.

The whistleblower’s account was described by Rep Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, who said in a letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy that the “exceptionally troubling” claims of “grave abuses” merited a new round of subpoenas to try and illuminate the allegations.

Mr Flynn, a top campaign surrogate and short-lived national security adviser to Mr Trump, has become a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Mr Flynn recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Democratic legislators have already probed whether Mr Flynn sought to advance a joint US-Russian plan to bolster nuclear power in the Middle East while he was in the White House. They have sought more information about Mr Flynn’s 2015 trip to the Middle East which involved the plan.

The journey was underwritten by the firm ACU Strategic Partners, according to a September letter from House Democrats citing a confirmation from ACU’s managing director Alex Copson. Now Mr Cummings is presenting what he calls a credible allegation that Mr Flynn was communicating with Mr Copson after Mr Trump became President.

His letter relays a whistleblower’s account of meeting Mr Copson at an Inauguration Day event, during which Mr Copson allegedly said he had received a text message from Mr Flynn stating the project was “good to go” and instructing Mr Copson to contact business colleagues.

According to the whistleblower, Mr Copson faulted sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration for undercutting the deal and said Mr Flynn had conveyed his intention to ensure the sanctions would be “ripped up”.

Saying he had coordinated with Mr Mueller’s office in sharing the account, Mr Cummings asked Mr Gowdy to subpoena Mr Flynn and others said to be involved in the nuclear reactor proposal.

Trump-Russia investigation: who has been charged in the Mueller probe

“I believe our Committee can and should pursue these allegations against General Flynn,” Mr Cummings wrote.

An attorney for Mr Flynn did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment. In a letter responding to Mr Cummings, Mr Gowdy said the allegations should be investigated by different committees or by Mr Mueller's team.

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