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Flynn signed off on nuclear project with Russia during Trump's inaugural, according to whistleblower

David Goldstein and Greg Gordon, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Michael Flynn sent a text to a business partner as President Donald Trump was delivering his inaugural address last January that a joint plan between Russia and Flynn's business allies to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East was "good to go."

That's the account a whistleblower told Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been investigating Flynn's role in the project. Cummings described the account in a letter Wednesday to the panel's Republican chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

Cummings also said the whistleblower quoted a business associate of Flynn as saying the economic sanctions against Russia imposed by former President Barack Obama would be "ripped up" as Flynn's first order of business as Trump's national security adviser.

The Maryland Democrat said he considered "credible" the allegations that Flynn "sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners."

Cummings said the whistleblower, whom he did not identify in the letter, "fears retaliation," but would speak with Gowdy if he agrees to protect the whistleblower's identity. Cummings and committee Democrats have complained that Gowdy has stiff-armed the Flynn investigation since he took over the committee in June by consistently refusing to issue subpoenas to the White House and various administration officials, Flynn's consulting firm and his business colleagues related to the matter. The letter asks that the committee issue subpoenas for Flynn-related documents the committee requested on a bipartisan basis in March.

"I believe the American people want Congress to hold President Trump and his administration accountable," Cummings wrote, "and they are tired of Republicans in Congress putting their heads in the sand when faced with credible allegations of grave abuses."

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He said Gowdy's handling of the matter sharply contrasts with the lengthy inquiry he led into allegations about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's role in the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "that were debunked years ago."

Neither Gowdy nor Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, responded immediately to a request for comment.

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 Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

"Mike has been putting everything in place for us," Copson told the whistleblower. "I am going to celebrate today. This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people."

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