Recent reports suggest that Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, promoted a nuclear power development plan which involved foreign companies and overseas locations while he was associated with the White House. House Democrats addressed the issue in a letter to FBI special counsel Robert Mueller alleging Flynn failed to disclose these ties on his security clearance application.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the controversial project involved a joint Russia-Saudi Arabia initiative “to build nuclear reactors in the Arab world.” Flynn allegedly took a trip in 2015, with destinations in Egypt and Israel, in order to pursue the project.
Additionally, the report states that Flynn continued to pursue the project while he was at the White House, including directing National Security Council staff members to meet with companies involved. It also alleges that even after being told by NSC ethics advisers to remove himself from the deal, Flynn continued working on the project anyway.
The letter sent to Mueller, which featured signatures by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat member of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Democrat, stated, “It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process.”
According to Democrats, information about Flynn’s activities was acquired after requesting additional details about the trip from companies associated with the endeavor. Representatives from the company had previously confirmed Flynn’s participation in the project in a letter to committee members.
ACU Strategic Partners, one of the organizations involved in the nuclear power deal, adviser Dr. Thomas Cochran, previously said in a letter that Flynn “firmly believed in the necessity of the project from a US National Security perspective” and that Flynn “traveled to Egypt and Israel to explain the ACU project’s importance.”
According to Alex Copson, the managing director of ACU, Flynn accepted payment from the company to cover travel expenses but failed to disclose that information on his initial security filings.
This report does not represent the first foreign contacts that Flynn failed to disclose on security clearance forms. Previously, Flynn allegedly received a payment of $33,000 from Russia Today, a Russian state-owned news agency, for a 2015 speech Flynn gave in Moscow.
Additional documents showed that Flynn received two separate $11,250 payments, one from Russian security firm Kaspersky and one from Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr, for two other speaking engagements in 2015.
Flynn did register with the Department of Justice as a foreign agency in March for lobbying work on behalf of a Turkish businessman last year.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, the House Oversight Committee chairman, did not sign the letter sent to Mueller, asserting he did not want to interfere with Mueller’s investigation.
An aide for Gowdy said, “Failing to disclose information on a security clearance application falls under Mr. Mueller’s jurisdiction as it is criminal in nature.” The aide continued, stating, “The Chairman has made it clear he does not want to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation.”