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 project in question - promoted by a group of former senior U.S. military officers, and often described as a "Marshall Plan" of sorts - would involve United States companies working with Russian companies to build and operate nuclear plants in the Middle East, and export spent fuel from those plants.
These statements from Flynn to Alex Copson, managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, reveal Flynn's attempt to "manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners", Democratic representative Elijah Cummings wrote in a letter Wednesday.
In the letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy, the panel's GOP chairman, Cummings demanded that Gowdy subpoena documents on the nuclear power plan from the White House, Flynn, Copson, their partners and associates, Reuters reported.
The witness's account, made public Wednesday by the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, raises new concerns about the extent to which Flynn may have blurred his private and public interests during his brief stint inside the White House.
According to the account, the unnamed whistleblower ran into Copson at a party in Washington, D.C. on inauguration day.
Michael Flynn reportedly told a business associate that the economic sanctions against Russian Federation would be "ripped up".
After getting the texts, Copson said, "Mike has been putting everything in place for us", and, "This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people", Cummings said, quoting the witness.
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"Our Committee has credible allegations that President Trump's National Security Advisor sought to manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners", Cummings wrote.
The whistleblower said Copson showed him his phone with Flynn's text message; it was sent at 12:11 p.m., about 10 minutes into Trump's inaugural speech.
Flynn had assured his former associate that USA sanctions against Russian Federation would immediately be "ripped up" by the Trump administration, a move that would help facilitate the deal, the associate told the witness.
The individual met with Alex Copson on Inauguration Day.
Mr Michael Conaway, who is leading the House Intelligence probe, declined to comment on Wednesday, saying he didn't yet know enough about the matter.
He also said he finds the whistle-blower to be "authentic, credible and reliable", and someone who has come forward even though he fears retaliation because "he feels duty bound as a citizen to make this disclosure".
In return, the incoming White House would review the Obama sanctions, Flynn told him, according to the court documents filed by special counsel Robert Mueller's office.