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07 December 2017, 02:09 | Erica Roy
Michael Flynn. Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
President Trump's first national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn, texted a former business associate on Inauguration Day that Obama-era sanctions against Russia would be "ripped up" and that a lucrative proposal to build nuclear reactors with Russian partners in the Middle East was "good to go", a witness has told Congress.
An unnamed colleague of the text message's recipient informed the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' oversight and government reform committee, Elijah Cummings, who published the claims in an open letter yesterday.
Minutes into Trump's inauguration speech, Flynn also texted the ex-partner, who wanted to work with Russian Federation to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East, that the plan, threatened by Obama's sanctions, was "good to go". Cummings described the account in a letter Wednesday to the panel's Republican chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC.
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.
Mr Gowdy, in a written response later on Wednesday to Mr Cummings, panned the idea of the Oversight Committee doing its own investigation into what the whistle-blower has to say.
"I am going to celebrate today" Copson said, according to the whistle-blower.
The whistle-blower, Mr. Cummings said, is willing to meet with Mr. Gowdy if he agrees to protect the person's identity.
On Inauguration Day, according to the letter, the whistleblower met with an individual who was working with Flynn to promote a project with Russia, Alex Copson, who told the whistleblower that Flynn would ensure the sanctions would be removed, paving the way for the project to continue.
Michael Flynn reportedly told a business associate that the economic sanctions against Russian Federation would be "ripped up". "This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people".
Based on the witness's account, Mr Cummings requested that Mr Gowdy issue subpoenas to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly - as a custodian of White House records - Flynn, Michael Flynn Jr, the Flynn Intel Group, Mr Copson, and others, for e-mails, text messages and other documents related to Flynn's foreign contacts and payments.
In his letter, Mr. Cummings also said that his staff had been in consultations with Mr. Mueller's team, which brought the criminal charge against Mr. Flynn.
Flynn was involved in the Middle Eastern nuclear project from spring 2015 to the end of 2016, according to recent financial disclosure filings, a period that overlapped with his role as a prominent adviser to Trump's campaign and transition.
Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during its probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, including about conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US about sanctions.
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