A company promoting a plan for the United States and Russia to jointly build nuclear reactors in the Middle East denied in a letter made public on Monday that its director received an Inauguration Day text message from incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn saying the project was “good to go.”
Citing a confidential informant, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week said Flynn and Alex Copson, managing director of ACU Strategic Partners, communicated during President Donald Trump’s inaugural address about the project, which would have required lifting U.S. sanctions on Moscow.
Thomas Cochran, a business partner of Copson, wrote in a letter to the lawmaker, Representative Elijah Cummings, that the informant’s allegations are “patently false and unfounded.”
Reuters was unable to identify the confidential informant or independently confirm the informant’s information that was provided by Cummings.
Copson has not responded to numerous requests for comment in recent months.
Cochran attached to the letter records for Copson’s cell phone which, he said, show that he exchanged three text messages on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, none of them with Flynn.
“Since Mr. Copson did not receive a text message from General Flynn during the Inauguration, other allegations of the ‘whistleblower’ are equally false and unfounded,” wrote Cochran, who is ACU Strategic Partners’ senior scientist. Flynn is a retired Army general.
Reuters and other news organizations have reported that Flynn continued to promote a version of the nuclear project after he began work at the White House.
As part of his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at whether Flynn or other Trump aides tried to influence U.S. policy to improve relations with Russia.
Proponents of the reactors project argued it would provide nuclear energy in the Middle East without the threat of weapons proliferation, improve U.S.-Russia relations and revive the U.S. nuclear industry.
Flynn served just 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser before being fired for misleading Vice President Michael Pence about whether he discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to Washington.
He pleaded guilty on Dec. 1 to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.
Reuters reported that day that documents it had reviewed showed that ACU Strategic Partners bragged after Trump’s Nov. 8, 2016, election that it had Flynn’s backing.
Cummings wrote back to Copson on Monday, requesting that he participate in a transcribed interview “so that our staff attorneys could ask you questions about your relationship and communications with General Flynn.”
“It remains unclear why your colleague sent this letter rather than you,” he wrote.
Cummings’ office released Cochran’s letter but not the attached phone records.
(Reporting by Warren Strobel and Nathan Layne. Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
John Oliver explains how the Ukraine scandal so stupid even Fox News ‘idiot’ Steve Doocy should understand it
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver closed out his season with a special report for Fox News hosts who seem to be struggling with the basic understanding of things like "bribery" or the concept that attempted crimes are still actually crimes.
At the top of Sunday's show, Oliver played a clip of Fox News host Laura Ingraham who made the argument that if Trump tried to commit a crime and didn't manage to pull it off, then he's clearly innocent.
"Attempted bribery isn't in the constitution," proclaimed Ingraham, forgetting about what "high crimes and misdemeanors" covers. "Remember, Ukraine got its aid, it was 14 days delayed, big deal. And Ukraine never made any public statement about the investigation."
This is the energy executive who first exposed Trump’s Ukraine scandal: report
CNN host Chris Cuomo did a special investigative report by Drew Griffin looking at the money trail from Russia to President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal.
"You probably don’t know Dale Perry, but history may record this energy executive as one of the first who sounded the alarm about what would become President Trump’s impeachment inquiry," said Griffin. "In April, Perry’s former business partner Andrew Favorov, now a director at Ukraine's state-owned gas company Naftogaz, says two shady characters had approached him, with a secret management plan to take over the management from the inside. Those two shady characters Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are two low-level, Soviet-born businessmen from south Florida. And they were trying to clear the way for their own gas business."
‘A slam-dunk-case’: MSNBC analysts predict GOP will defend Trump — and ‘the guy is going to get off’
More evidence was outed Sunday as the Wall Street Journal revealed emails from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who promised to keep the White House abreast of President Donald Trump's demand for an investigation by Ukraine. The news prompted an MSNBC panelists to explain that it wouldn't matter how much evidence was presented, Republicans will never vote to remove Trump.
Host Geoff Bennett asked about the witness testimony and preponderance of evidence that "all points in one direction at this point, that President Trump orchestrated this entire" Ukraine investigations.
"It's a slam dunk case, and yet we know the guy is going to get off," said Los Angels Times White House reporter Eli Stokols. "That's effectively what you're saying. Because all the testimony has lined up so closely, the fact that [EU Ambassador Gordon] Sondland has come to come in, and because testimony from [Ambassador Bill] Taylor and others, has had to change testimony, Republicans have no choice -- the president has no choice but to try to dismiss the entire thing as partisan."