Sunday, 10 December, 2017

Flynn told a business associate Russian sanctions would be 'ripped up'

Michael Flynn Michael Flynn. Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 06 December, 2017, 22:23

According to the account detailed in the letter, the whistle-blower had a conversation on Inauguration Day with Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners, a company that hired Mr. Flynn in 2015 as an adviser to develop a plan to work with Russian Federation to build nuclear power plants throughout the Middle East. Mr. Flynn served as an adviser until June 2016.

In June, Newsweek revealed that while he was an adviser to Trump, Flynn had done work for a consortium led by Copson and former senior US military officials to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East in a partnership with a Russian state-owned energy contractor.

Cummings detailed the whistleblower's allegations in a letter to House Oversight chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, and urged Gowdy to authorize subpoenas to Flynn and his business associates to learn more about his efforts to aid the proposal. "These grave allegations compel a full, credible, and bipartisan congressional investigation".

As the president spoke, Flynn reportedly texted Copson that the nuclear project was "good to go", the witness said Copson told him.

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

Cummings said the informant, who contacted his staff in June, met Copson at a 20 January inaugural event in Washington. In an earlier note to the committee, Copson said his firm had provided Flynn with a $25,000 check - left uncashed - and paid for Flynn's June 2015 trip to the Mideast as a security consultant for the project.

Reached Wednesday, Flynn's attorney declined to comment. "I am going to celebrate today".

Flynn, who served only 24 days as Trump's national security adviser, pleaded guilty last week to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents working for the special counsel Robert Mueller about his contacts with a senior Russian diplomat.

Copson went on to say that "Mike has been putting everything in place", according to the letter. "This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people".

Flynn's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The witness told Cummings and committee investigators that Copson shared a text message he had just received from Flynn, who was on stage at the Capitol during Trump's speech.

Cummings wrote: "The whistleblower was extremely uncomfortable with the conversation".

On December 29, the day the Obama administration imposed new sanctions and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States in retaliation for Moscow's election meddling, Flynn called Kislyak and asked that Russia not escalate the situation, according to court documents.

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.