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08 December 2017, 01:43 | Floyd Cook
Whistleblower says Michael Flynn told business associate Russia sanctions would be 'ripped up'
One of President Donald Trump's former aides texted an associate that United States sanctions against Russian Federation would be "ripped up", a lawmaker says.
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.
The change would allow a business venture Flynn had worked on - nuclear power plants - to be built with the former partner.
In the letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy, the panel's GOP chairman, Cummings demanded that Gowdy subpoena documents on the nuclear power plan from the White House, Flynn, Copson, their partners and associates, Reuters reported.
Cummings did not name the whistleblower in the letter, but offered to have Gowdy speak with the person directly.
Gowdy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"Mike has been putting everything in place for us", Copson reportedly told the whistleblower.
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. Copson, who had previously employed Flynn to advise on the deal to build nuclear power plants with Russian Federation, told the whistleblower that it was the "best day of my life".
In Flynn's agreement last week to plead guilty to one count of making false statements, prosecutors said that Flynn lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his discussions on sanctions against Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition.
"Your letter seems to resort to desperate and baseless jurisdictional excuses to avoid conducting oversight in an apparent attempt to protect President Trump and his Administration", Cummings said while pointing out "inaccuracies" in Gowdy' letter.
Now, Mr Cummings wrote, he and his colleagues have been authorised to to go public with the information. "I am going to celebrate today".
Mr Copson showed his phone with the text message to the whistle-blower, who saw that the time stamp of the message was 12:11, but didn't read the text.
"When the whistle-blower asked why the United States needed to be involved in a Middle East nuclear project, Mr Copson explained that the U.S. would provide military support to "defend these installations", the letter said.
Mr Flynn was a consultant to the firm for 14 months from 2015-16, according to amended financial disclosure forms he filed in August this year. 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.
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.
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