As President Trump delivered his inaugural address on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January , his new national security adviser, Michael Flynn, sent a text to a former business associate telling him that a plan to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East in partnership with Russian interests was "good to go," according to a witness who spoke with congressional investigators.
Flynn had assured his former associate that U.S. sanctions against Russia would immediately be "ripped up" by the Trump administration, a move that would help facilitate the deal, the associate told the witness.
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.).
Cummings did not identify the witness, whom he described as a whistleblower. But he asked Gowdy to issue a subpoena to the White House for documents related to Flynn, saying the committee has "credible allegations" that Flynn "sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners."
Gowdy said Wednesday afternoon that "criminal matters are investigated by the special counsel," adding that he had pledged to Robert S. Mueller III that he would not do anything to interfere with his probe.
The episode indicates that Trump officials had planned to jettison sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russia. Congress later passed a bipartisan measure that placed new sanctions on Russia, a bill that Trump reluctantly signed in August.
"Mr. Copson explained that General 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," Cummings wrote.
The witness told congressional investigators that he was "extremely uncomfortable" with the conversation, Cummings wrote, and took brief notes about the discussion during the inaugural event.
Mueller's office was aware of the witness's account and asked Cummings not to release the information until the special counsel had taken "certain investigative steps," which are now complete, Cummings wrote.
Are we starting to see the beginning of the exposure of the quid pro quo that, unlike collusion, is a violations of laws?
Why is it that the more we understand, the worse it looks?
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