Flynn said sanctions would be 'ripped up'

As President Donald Trump delivered his inaugural address, incoming-national security adviser Michael Flynn texted his former business colleague about a plan to join Russian Federation and build nuclear reactors in the Middle East: The project was "good to go", he told them, according to a summary of a whistleblower's account provided by a lawmaker.

The allegation - which suggests the Trump administration was eager to lift sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama and that Flynn may have blurred his public and private roles during his brief run at the White House - was outlined in a letter Cummings sent to Rep.

The project in question - promoted by a group of former senior United States military officers, and often described as a "Marshall Plan" of sorts - would involve U.S. companies working with Russian companies to build and operate nuclear plants in the Middle East, and export spent fuel from those plants.

The whistleblower told congressional investigators that Copson boasted that 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", an apparent reference to financial sanctions imposed on Russian Federation by the Obama administration, Cummings's letter states. He called for a bipartisan investigation.

Flynn's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment on the latest claims.

This whistleblower has reportedly claimed that during an inauguration day conversation with Alex Copson (the aforementioned associate), Copson said this was "the start of something I've been working on for years, and we are good to go". ACU was pushing a nuclear project in the Middle East that Flynn is said to have lobbied for while in the White House. The texts were timestamped as being sent just as President Trump was delivering his Inaugural Address, the whistleblower said.

Copson, who six months earlier had paid Flynn US$25,000 (S$33,000) to help promote his scheme, told the whistleblower that Flynn told him sanctions on Russian Federation would be "ripped up" as a priority in the Trump government.

Flynn, who pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was communicating with former business associates "within minutes" of Trump's inauguration, according to the letter - reassuring them Russian investments would soon be available as the Trump administration lifted sanctions.

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The company did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

According to the whistleblower, Copson said, "Mike has been putting everything in place for us".

Copson showed the witness the text on his phone.

Two days after the election, Obama warned Trump not to hire Flynn, CNN reported. He said Flynn did not cash the check, however.

Media captionAfter Flynn's guilty plea, what next for the Russian Federation investigation?

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.

The whistleblower was "extremely uncomfortable" with the situation, and made notes about it and Copson's name.

With the clearance of Mueller's office, Cummings writes that he's now making the whistleblower's story public.

  • Megan Austin