Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, texted a former business partner during Trump's inauguration in January saying that sanctions against Russian Federation were about to be "ripped up", according to a U.S. congressman.
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. Cummings described the account in a letter Wednesday to the panel's Republican chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC. Mr Cummings wrote that Mr Mueller's team asked lawmakers to hold off on a public release of this information until certain investigative steps were taken.
One businessman involved in the project - Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners - even dubbed it the "Trump/Putin M.E". But he asked Gowdy to issue a subpoena to the White House for documents related to Flynn, saying that the committee has "credible allegations" that Flynn "sought to manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners".
Now, new allegations are coming from a whistleblower who says he met Copson at a Washington, DC, event on Inauguration Day - and that Copson had some very interesting things to say about the project. It gave Flynn a potential monetary incentive to get sanctions imposed on Russian Federation during the Obama administration lifted immediately.
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Flynn allegedly sent the messages to Alex Copson, managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, a USA nuclear power consultancy.
On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about conversations he had in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador to the United States about the sanctions, among other topics.
Neither Copson nor an attorney for ACU responded to a request for comment.
The whistle-blower recalled the time stamp because it was during Mr Trump's address.
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"Mr. Copson explained that Gen. Flynn was making sure the sanctions would be ripped up as one of his first orders of business and this would allow money to start flowing into the project", Cummings said, quoting the witness.
Cummings did not name the whistleblower in the letter, but offered to have Gowdy speak with the person directly.
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.
As part of his plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, Flynn agreed to be a cooperative witness in exchange for avoiding prosecution on other charges that might be related to his involvement with Russian Federation during the campaign, the presidential transition and his brief stint as national security adviser.
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In various filings in 2016 and 2017, Flynn did not initially disclose his connection to ACU and foreign contacts he made while advising the firm.