As President Trump delivered his inaugural address on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, his new national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, sent a text to a former business associate telling him that a plan to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East in partnership with Russian interests was "good to go", according to a witness who spoke with congressional investigators.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, on Wednesday released his summary of the whistleblower's account detailing Flynn's conversations with colleagues as the Trump administration took power.
Obama had fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Cummings said he had spoken to the witness and called the account a "credible" allegation that Flynn "sought to manipulate the course of worldwide nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners".
The new details suggest that Flynn sought to help the nuclear deal proceed after he joined the White House.
Cummings said he had found the unnamed informant to be "authentic, credible and reliable", and offered to produce the person for Gowdy.
Media captionAfter Flynn's guilty plea, what next for the Russian Federation investigation? White House lawyer Ty Cobb said, "I respectfully decline to comment on anonymous information which impacts the Special Counsel investigation".
Cummings said the whistleblower contacted his office in June 2017 to describe events that occurred at an event in Washington, DC, on Inauguration Day. The whistleblower alleged Copson showed off the text to those around him, calling it "the best day of my life". "This is the start of something I have been working on for years, and we are good to go".
As the whistleblower chatted with Flynn's associate during an Inauguration Day celebration on January 20, Flynn sent texts saying the associate's nuclear proposal was "good to go", the whistleblower said.
"Mike has been putting everything in place for us", Copson said, according to the witness, adding: "This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people".
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 episode indicates that Trump officials had planned to jettison sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russian Federation.
The allegations posed new troubles for Flynn, who left the White House last February after barely three weeks and pleaded guilty last week to lying to FBI investigators in the Russian Federation election meddling probe. A document filed in Flynn's case mentioned his failure to comply with foreign lobbying disclosure laws related to his work for Turkey, but his charging document didn't mention that work.
He also requested subpoenas for Copson, Barack and other officials linked to the nuclear scheme. Cummings said his office could not verify the whistleblower's story, and whether Copson was telling the whistleblower the truth, without subpoenaed documents.
Flynn's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.