The New York Times is reporting that Michael Flynn told a business partner that the Trump administration would “rip up” sanctions against Russia as one of its first acts, and that a deal to put Russian nuclear plants in the Middle East was “good to go.”
Mr. Flynn believed that ending the sanctions could allow a business project he had once participated in to move forward, according to the whistle-blower. The account is the strongest evidence to date that the Trump administration wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Mr. Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to forge a closer relationship with Russia.
Previous discussions about Flynn and sanctions were limited to the idea that Flynn attempted to calm Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak following President Obama’s imposition of new sanctions a few weeks before Trump took office. Flynn was supposedly fired for lying about this, while many members of Trump’s White House and other Republicans have waved this away as showing “no underlying crime” and being “typical” behavior for an incoming administration.
But the contentions of Flynn’s former business partner go far beyond just holding down a Russian response to new sanctions. They suggest that Flynn and Trump had already worked out a deal to remove sanctions, including sanctions long in existence, as one of the first acts after Trump entered the White House. The information is detailed in a letter provided by Democratic Congressman Elijiah Cummings.
The question now is: If Flynn was giving his partner the “good to go” on Inauguration Day, just when did Trump’s team agree to “rip up” Russian sanctions? Was that a still-unrevealed topic of discussion between Flynn and Kislyak during the transition period, or did it come earlier? Was this an agreement reached during Trump’s campaign?
While Republicans are focused on a Russian nuclear deal in which Hillary Clinton didn’t participate and from which she didn’t benefit, Michael Flynn was in one of the most unstable regions of the planet, genuinely working to promote Russian nuclear plants.
In June 2015, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn took a little-noticed trip to Egypt and Israel, paid for by a U.S. company he was advising. The company hoped to build more than two dozen nuclear plants in the region in partnership with Russian interests.
If it was Jared Kushner who ordered Flynn to pay a call on Kislyak concerning UN sanctions, was he also involved in talks over sanctions?
“These grave allegations compel a full, credible and bipartisan congressional investigation,” Mr. Cummings wrote.