Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn texted a businessman during President Donald Trump's inauguration speech that a Middle East nuclear power plant scheme with Russian partners was "good to go", a Democratic lawmaker alleged today.
"The account is the strongest evidence to date that the Trump administration wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Mr. Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to forge a closer relationship with Russian Federation".
Copson is the managing partner of ACU, a company that had funded a 2015 trip Flynn took the Middle East that he failed to disclose on security clearance forms.
"Mr. Copson explained that General Flynn was making sure that sanctions would be "ripped up" as one of his first orders of business and that this would allow money to start flowing into the project", Cummings wrote.
The whistleblower also said that within minutes of Trump's inauguration ceremony, Flynn communicated directly with business associates about plans to begin building nuclear reactors in the Middle East-a joint project with Russian Federation, according to the letter.
The whistleblower, who provided his account to Cummings in June, said he was with Alex Copson, managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, a key Flynn ally on the nuclear project, on January 20, Inauguration Day.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and former high-ranking intelligence officer, pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his discussions with the then-Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, about the sanctions that day after they were imposed.
The whistleblower said during a conversation, Copson described his messages with Flynn and briefly flashed one of the texts, which appeared to have been sent 10 minutes after Trump began speaking.
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Neither Gowdy nor Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, responded immediately to a request for comment.
The episode indicates that Trump officials had planned to jettison sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russian Federation.
On Wednesday Cummings sent the whistleblower's account to committee chairman Trey Gowdy with a request that he issue subpoenas to White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, as well as Flynn, Copson and their other business associates for material that would corroborate the whistleblower's statements.
Cummings has been critical of his Republican colleague Gowdy's leadership in their investigation of Flynn. Prosecutors "asked my office to hold on the public release of this information until they completed certain investigative steps", Cummings wrote.
"At this event, the whistleblower met Alex Copson", Cummings wrote.
Flynn was involved in the Middle Eastern nuclear project from spring 2015 to the end of 2016, according to recent financial disclosure filings, a period that overlapped with his role as a prominent adviser to Trump's campaign and transition.
Cummings told Gowdy in his letter that he found the witness "authentic, credible and reliable".