Trump aide Flynn planned to 'rip up' Russian Federation sanctions: whistleblower

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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.

Cummings's letter goes on to relate that during the conversation, Copson told the whistle-blower that he "just got a text message" from Flynn that the project was "good to go" and to contact their business colleagues to "let them know to put things in place".

The account is the strongest evidence yet that Team Trump wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to establish a closer relationship with Russian Federation. Copson was working with Flynn to promote a joint project with Russian Federation to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East.

The whistleblower told congressional investigators he was with Alex Copson, a former business associate of Flynn's, watching the Trump inauguration ceremony at an event in Washington, according to the letter. "This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people".

"And he apparently went on to say Flynn was making sure the sanctions would be "'ripped up' as one of his first orders of business".

The letter said that if this witness account is accurate, Trump's national security adviser "was trying to manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners".

The Wall Street Journal's previous reporting said Flynn had facilitated a draft memo with the National Security Council staff that would support the project.

Copson, according to the whistleblower, said Obama's sanctions had "f**ked everything up in my nuclear deal with the sanctions".

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The witness provided the account to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who detailed the allegations in a letter Wednesday to the panel's chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying to the FBI, and pledged to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian election interference.

Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, received texts from Flynn during Trump's inauguration January 20 saying the deal was "good to go", according to Cummings.

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

Gowdy has not responded to requests from ABC NEWS for comment. The whistleblower came to Cummings in June, he writes in the letter, but the congressman kept quiet about the claims at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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. Prosecutors "asked my office to hold on the public release of this information until they completed certain investigative steps", Cummings wrote.

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.

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