President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, communicated with his former business associate on Inauguration Day and informed him that economic sanctions placed on Russia would be "ripped up," according to a whistle-blower's account that was first made public on Wednesday.
Up until June 2016, Flynn had worked on a business deal which would include partnering with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East, according to The New York Times. However, Flynn still continued to stay closely associated with those involved.
"Within minutes of Donald Trump being sworn in," Flynn had already communicated "directly with his former business colleagues about their plan to work with Russia to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East," a letter released by Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, read.
Flynn said in a text message to his business associate that their project was "good to go."
Cummings, who did not name the whistle-blower, said they had come forward with the details after contacting his office in June.
"These grave allegations compel a full, credible and bipartisan congressional investigation," Cummings wrote in the letter.
The letter was sent to Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chairman of the House panel, in an effort to have Gowdy investigate the whistle-blower's claims.
"I do not bring this whistle-blower to your attention lightly," Cummings wrote. "I have attempted to advance this investigation without exposing individuals to personal or professional risk. But the exceptionally troubling allegations in this case — combined with ongoing obstruction from the White House and others — have made this step necessary."
The news comes as Flynn has recently pled guilty to lying to federal agents about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller has been charged with investigating the Trump campaign's alleged ties to the Russian government, as well as Russia's alleged election interference.
Cummings went on to detail a conversation between the whistle-blower and Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners, a company that hired Flynn in 2015 as an adviser for their business endeavor. On Inauguration Day, Copson told the whistle-blower that "this is the best day of my life" because "this is going to make a lot of very wealthy people."
In the letter, Cummings also wrote, "Mr. Copson explained that General Flynn was making sure that sanctions would be 'ripped up' as one of his first orders of business and that this would allow money to start flowing into the project."
The news marks a significant point in Mueller's investigation, as Trump has repeatedly defended Flynn, even after his guilty plea, in which he seemed to publicly admit he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI.
Greg Sargent, a blogger for The Washington Post, also pointed out that Flynn must have informed Copson of the sanctions relief prior to Inauguration Day, which raises further questions.
On this new whistleblower story:
If true, it appears Flynn must have informed Copson *before* inauguration day that the sanctions would be lifted.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) December 6, 2017