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08 December 2017, 01:40 | Kara Nash
Flynn Said Russian Sanctions Would be 'Ripped Up,' Whistle-Blower Says
Flynn told a former business associate that one of Trump's first acts would be to make sure Russian sanctions were "ripped up", according to a new report.
House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) showed no interest Wednesday in further investigating claims a whistleblower brought to the committee's Democrats about promises former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn allegedly made to a business associate about gutting Russian Federation sanctions that been hindering the associate's business project.
Cummings asked Gowdy to meet with the whistleblower and to subpoena White House officials and figures connected to the project, a proposal to build nuclear power plans across the Middle East.
The whistleblower's allegations were made public in a letter Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the committee's top Democrat, sent to Gowdy Wednesday, to which Gowdy responded with a letter Wednesday evening.
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.
Neither Gowdy nor Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, responded immediately to a request for comment.
Gowdy said he was referring the matter to the House Intel Committee, on which Gowdy sits.
Cummings said that he practiced law for a long time and has interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and he does believe the whistleblower is "very credible".
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The Trump administration did not roll back the sanctions.
Flynn pled guilty last week to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding conversations with Russians.
Gowdy also recommended that Cummings present the claims to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, despite Cummings' indications in his letter Wednesday that his staff had been in touch with Mueller's team and had been given the green light to move forward.
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 January 20, Inauguration Day. "I am going to celebrate today". The witness could not read the text, but he saw that the time stamp was 12:11 p.m., according Cummings's letter.
The whistleblower said during a conversation, Copson described his messages with Flynn and briefly flashed one of the texts, which appeared to have been sent 10 minutes after Trump began speaking. Given the seriousness of the charge and the person making it, if the committee isn't going to issue a subpoena, Robert Mueller nearly certainly will.
"When the whistle-blower asked why the United States needed to be involved in a Middle East nuclear project, Mr Copson explained that the USA would provide military support to "defend these installations", the letter said.
Mr Copson couldn't be located for comment.
ACU Strategic Partners issued a statement on Wednesday saying, "No member of ACU received any communication in any form from General Flynn during the presidential campaign, the presidential transition, the inauguration, the period following the inauguration when General Flynn served as national security adviser or subsequent to General Flynn's resignation".
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