Trump aid Michael Flynn planned to 'rip up' Russian Federation sanctions, says whistleblower

Dana Milbank The White House's latest fallback Who cares if Trump colluded with Russia

President Trump's first national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn, texted a former business associate on Inauguration Day that Obama-era sanctions against Russia would be "ripped up" and that a lucrative proposal to build nuclear reactors with Russian partners in the Middle East was "good to go", a witness has told Congress.

His lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment for this story.

"When the whistle-blower asked why the United States needed to be involved in a Middle East nuclear project, Mr. Copson explained the USA would provide military support to 'defend these installations, ' " the letter said.

The whistle-blower told Cummings that he was attending an inaugural event on January 20, where he met one of Flynn's key allies on this project, Alex Copson, who is described as a managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, and was working with Flynn to promote the joint project with Russian Federation to build nuclear reactors in the Arab world.

Cummings said he had found the unnamed informant to be "authentic, credible and reliable", and offered to produce the person for Gowdy.

Flynn also informed the associate that his business partners could move forward with their project, which aimed to construct a network of nuclear reactors across the Mideast with support from Russian and other worldwide interests, the whistleblower said.

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.


The whistleblower alleged that the businessman boasted about the contents of the text from Flynn, calling it "the best day of my life", according to a detailed account of the alleged incident laid out in a letter from Rep.

"Mike has been putting everything in place for us.This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people", Copson told the whistleblower, according to Cummings' letter. "I am going to celebrate today". According to this account, Copson blamed President Barack Obama for the sanctions, stating that he "fucked everything up in my nuclear deal with the sanctions".

The allegations posed new troubles for Flynn, who left the White House last February after barely three weeks and pleaded guilty last week to lying to FBI investigators in the Russian Federation election meddling probe. 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. The whistleblower also said that Copson intimated that USA financial sanctions hobbling the nuclear project were going to be "ripped up".

"I do not bring this whistleblower to your attention lightly", Cummings, the Baltimore lawmaker and top Democrat on the committee wrote in the letter.

The whistle-blower contacted Cummings' office in June, and gave the congressman permission to share his account as part of the committee's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Cummings has been critical of his Republican colleague Gowdy's leadership in their investigation of Flynn. Trey Gowdy, the Republican chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He and Cummings jointly exposed details that Flynn had lied on his security clearance forms earlier this year, though Chaffetz later backed off the inquiry despite the Democratic demands.

Gowdy has not responded to requests from ABC NEWS for comment.

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