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Michael Flynn’s involvement in a plan to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East is looking even shadier

According to a whistleblower, a Flynn business associate bragged that Flynn would end sanctions on Russia to clear the way for this project.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

On President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day, a former business parter of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn allegedly bragged that Flynn told him Trump would quickly lift US sanctions on Russia — a move that would pave the way for a controversial plan to build nuclear plants across the Middle East, with Russian help.

That’s the explosive, but unverified, allegation of a whistleblower cooperating with House Democrats probing the myriad scandals surrounding Flynn, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a senior Russian diplomat.

The allegation has been made public by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee — who is demanding that his Republican counterpart on the committee investigate Flynn and others involved in the matter more aggressively.

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

In June 2015, Flynn flew to Egypt and Israel to “gauge attitudes” on the proposal, Newsweek’s Jeff Stein has reported. And one of the companies involved in the project covered his travel expenses and wrote him a check for $25,000 for the trip, though it’s not clear if Flynn cashed the check.

But reports over the last few months have suggested that Flynn continued to promote the project after the election, and even after he had been sworn in as national security adviser.

One businessman involved in the project — Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners — even dubbed it the “Trump/Putin M.E. [Middle East] Marshall Plan,” according to an email obtained by Reuters.

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.

Michael Flynn’s business partner allegedly said this project was a pretext for expanding the US military presence in the Middle East

According to the whistleblower, Copson flat-out said the following things:

  • That he “just got” a text message from Flynn saying the nuclear plant project was “good to go,” and that his business colleagues should “put things in place”
  • That Flynn was making sure sanctions on Russia would be “ripped up,” which would let the project go forward
  • That this was the “best day” of his life, and that the project would “make a lot of very wealthy people”
  • That the project would also provide a pretext for expanding a US military presence in the Middle East (the pretext of defending the nuclear plants)
  • That citizens of Middle Eastern countries would be better off “when we recolonize the Middle East”

The whistleblower said that Copson quickly displayed what he claimed to be a text message from Flynn that appeared to have been sent during Trump’s inauguration speech. But the whistleblower says he or she could not read the actual message. Still, he or she claims to have been disturbed enough by the interaction to have documented it at the time.

Perhaps most intriguingly of all, Cummings writes that he told Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team about all this some time ago — and that they asked him to delay publicly revealing this information “until they completed certain investigation steps.”

Cummings added: “They have now informed us that they have done so.”

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