Trump aide Flynn planned to 'rip up' Russia sanctions

Trump aide Flynn planned to 'rip up' Russia sanctions

Trump aide Flynn planned to 'rip up' Russia sanctions

WASHINGTON — As Donald Trump delivered his presidential inaugural address last January, his national security adviser Michael Flynn told a former business associate in text messages that a private plan to build nuclear reactors in the Mideast was "good to go" and that USA sanctions hobbling the plan would soon be "ripped up", a whistleblower told congressional investigators.

The business colleague who texted with Flynn later recounted that he also suggested sanctions against Russian Federation would be "ripped up" as one of the administration's first acts, according to the whistleblower.

One of them, a proposed venture to help Middle Eastern nations build nuclear power plants with assistance from Russian Federation and the US, garnered significant press attention.

Flynn attempted to "manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his business partners", and assured a business partner the United States would relax sanctions once he worked in Trump's White House, Cummings wrote to House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina.

The whistleblower told House Democrats that while Trump spoke in January, Flynn texted from the Capitol steps to Alex Copson, the managing director of ACU Strategic Partners and the nuclear projects main promoter. But Cummings' letter to Gowdy described Flynn's interest in the deal for nuclear reactors in far more detail than was previously known.

Two days after the election, Obama warned Trump not to hire Flynn, CNN reported. He said Flynn did not cash the check, however.

Cummings did not name the whistleblower in the letter, but offered to have Gowdy speak with the person directly.

He pleaded guilty last week to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his contacts with the Moscow diplomat. White House lawyer Ty Cobb declined to comment on the allegation.

Cummings describes the account of the whistleblower, whom he does not identify, meeting one of Flynn's former business partners in Washington, D.C., on the day Trump took office. "I couldn't be better". Copson told the whistleblower that Flynn had assured him sanctions on Russian Federation would be "ripped up" and a vast nuclear power scheme they had worked on together would be clear to go forward. "This is the start of something I have been working on for years, and we are good to go". A lot of people were going to be rich, Copson said, in this account. Flynn also texted Copson to tell his business colleagues to "let them know to put things in place", Cummings wrote.

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Copson allegedly told those around him that "Mike [Flynn] has been putting everything in place for us".

"Mr. Copson explained that Gen. Flynn was making sure the sanctions would be ripped up as one of his first orders of business and this would allow money to start flowing into the project", Cummings said, quoting the witness.

The outgoing Obama administration had just expanded sanctions on Russian Federation to punish it for allegedly meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

In Flynn's agreement last week to plead guilty to one count of making false statements, prosecutors said that Flynn lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his discussions on sanctions against Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. A document filed in Flynn's case mentioned his failure to comply with foreign lobbying disclosure laws related to his work for Turkey, but his charging document didn't mention that work.

He also requested subpoenas for Copson, Barrack and other officials linked to the nuclear scheme.

Cummings wrote that Mueller's office had asked him to hold back the information until "they completed certain investigative steps" - which apparently have now been concluded.

Cummings has argued that the Flynn plea deal should alleviate that concern.

Cummings and Gowdy have long feuded over the direction of the Oversight Committee, and Gowdy appears unlikely to agree to the subpoena.

Cummings added: "They have now informed us that they have done so".

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