Trump aide’s role in project probed

Democratic politicians are probing whether retired US General Michael Flynn secretly promoted a US-Russian project to build dozens of nuclear reactors in the Middle East after becoming President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser.

Representatives Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel made the disclosure in a letter they sent on Tuesday to Flynn’s lawyer and executives of firms that developed the reactor scheme and for which Flynn’s now-defunct consulting company worked.

“The American people deserve to know whether General Flynn was secretly promoting the private interests of these businesses while he was a [Trump] campaign adviser, transition official, or President Tr ump’s national security adviser,” the two said in the letter made public yesterday. They asked Flynn’s lawyer and executives of companies involved in the project to provide all communications they had with Flynn or other administration officials during last year’s campaign, the post-election transition or Flynn’s tenure as national security adviser.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment. The project proposes to construct 40 nuclear reactors across the Middle East that would feed a regional electric grid. They would be “proliferation proof”, meaning they could not be used to produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

Cummings is the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Engel is the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Flynn is a central figure in a federal probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, into whether Trump aides colluded in an alleged Russian effort to boost Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump, who took office on January 20, fired Flynn on February 13, 18 days after a top Justice Department official warned that the former Defence Intelligence Agency director could be blackmailed because Moscow knew he made misleading statements about his contacts with Russian officials.

Cummings and Engel sent their letter as part of an inquiry into the renewal of Flynn’s Top Secret security clearance last year. Donald Gross, counsel for ACU Strategic Partners, said the company had cooperated with the oversight committee in providing information about the project being developed along with retired Rear Admiral Michael Hewitt’s IP3 company, and “General Flynn’s limited involvement in June 2015”.

Hewitt did not respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment.

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