Flynn told a business associate Russian sanctions would be 'ripped up'

Michael Flynn

President Donald Trump 's former national security advisor Michael Flynn told a business associate that he would make sure economic sanctions against Russian Federation would be "ripped up" as one of his first orders of business in the White House, a whistleblower told congressional investigators.

That's the account a whistleblower told Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been investigating Flynn's role in the project.

The project in question - promoted by a group of former senior U.S. military officers, and often described as a "Marshall Plan" of sorts - would involve United States companies working with Russian companies to build and operate nuclear plants in the Middle East, and export spent fuel from those plants.

In the letter, Mr. Cummings appeared to try to anticipate an argument that Mr. Gowdy might make - that he can not investigate the whistle-blower's claims as long as Mr. Flynn was still under investigation by Mr. Mueller's team.

The whistle-blower told Mr Cummings that he saw a text from Flynn that was sent on Jan 20 "approximately ten minutes" into Mr Trump's speech when Flynn was sitting in the audience.

Flynn allegedly sent the messages to Alex Copson, managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, a USA nuclear power consultancy.

Cummings said the whistleblower, whom he did not identify in the letter, "fears retaliation", but would speak with Gowdy if he agrees to protect the whistleblower's identity.

He added, "This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people".

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Neither Gowdy nor Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, responded immediately to a request for comment.

"I do not bring this whistle-blower to your attention lightly", Cummings said.

Michael Flynn reportedly told a business associate that the economic sanctions against Russian Federation would be "ripped up".

Cummings said he was first contacted by the whistleblower last June, but suggested that his account had remained under wraps while Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling, was investigating Flynn. ACU was pushing a nuclear project in the Middle East that Flynn is said to have lobbied for while in the White House.

Now, Mr Cummings wrote, he and his colleagues have been authorised to to go public with the information. Mr. Cummings said that Mr. Gowdy should subpoena Mr. Flynn, Mr. Copson and four others to testify before the panel.

"I am going to celebrate today" Copson said, according to the whistle-blower. But the whistleblower says he or she could not read the actual message.

Flynn though told Copson that sanctions would be dropped, and he reportedly began circulating the plan to top White House officials within days of the inauguration.

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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