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Politics: Whistleblower says Michael Flynn told business associate Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up’

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn told a business associate in January that one of the Trump administration's first priorities would be to "rip up" sanctions.

The congressman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, outlined the whistleblower's allegations in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Trey Gowdy earlier this week.

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

Cummings said the whistleblower contacted his office in June 2017 to describe events that occurred at an event in Washington, DC, on Inauguration Day.

"At this event, the whistleblower met Alex Copson," Cummings wrote. Copson was working at the time with Flynn on a project to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, and Flynn reported in August that he served as an "advisor" to Copson's company between 2015-2016.

"During their conversation, Mr. Copson informed the whistleblower that he 'just got this text message' from General Flynn saying that the project — "involving a joint partnership between the United States and Russia relating to the energy sector in the Middle East" — was "good to go."

"Mike has been putting everything in place for us…This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people," Copson told the whistleblower, according to Cummings' letter.

"Mr. Copson explained [to the whistleblower] that General Flynn was making sure that sanctions would be 'ripped up," Cummings wrote.

Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying to the FBI about the nature of his conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

On December 29, the day the Obama administration imposed new sanctions and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US in retaliation for Moscow's election meddling, Flynn called Kislyak and asked that Russia not escalate the situation, according to court documents.

In return, the incoming White House would review the Obama sanctions, Flynn told him, according to the court documents filed by special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Flynn originally told the FBI that the issue of sanctions had not come up in his conversation.

Read the full letter below:

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