Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

House Dems question Flynn disclosures of Middle East travel

House Dems question Flynn disclosures of Middle East travel

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have violated the law by failing to make required disclosure of contacts with Saudi government officials and a trip to the Middle East on his January 2016 application for a renewed security clearance, two congressional Democrats said Monday.

House investigators note that they do not know precisely when Flynn traveled to the Middle East for the nuclear deal, but they cite a discrepancy between the June 10, 2015 testimony he gave to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and his official August 2015 start date he lists with Hewlitt's consulting company.

The White House has denied Trump ever asked Comey to stop the Flynn investigation on possible collusion with Russian Federation, but Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 he took Trump's words in a private meeting to mean just that.

Flynn did report a later trip in October 2015, but left out major details, including who paid for it and the identity of a "friend" with whom he traveled.

Newsweek reported this month that Flynn, as an adviser at the time to defense consulting firms X-Co Dynamics and the Iron Bridge Group, promoted a potential bid by USA and Russian firms to advance nuclear energy in the Arab world, financed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. The letter does not indicate whether Flynn received any payment for the deal.

They noted that "soon after" Flynn reportedly made the trip, Saudi Arabia announced a deal with Rosatom, Russia's state nuclear power plant builder, "that resulted in a $100 billion deal in 2016 to build 16 nuclear power units". Flynn was also involved in talks "with [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] el-Sissi's government", Cochran said. He did not provide the identity of a USA citizen and friend who went on that trip with him, and he said he stayed at a hotel that does not appear to exist, although its name is close to that of the airport in Riyadh.

The two Democrats wrote that they're looking into "what influence General Flynn's business interests with Saudi Arabia, Russia, or other countries may have had after he assumed his post in the White House".

But Cummings and Engel said it "does not appear that General Flynn disclosed this trip or any foreign contacts as part of his security clearance renewal process", noting that intentionally concealing such information from a security clearance form is a felony.

The letter points to a Newsweek report from earlier this month, which said that Flynn made the trip to Cairo and Jerusalem on behalf of the firm he advised, X-Co Dynamics Inc./IronBridge Group, to "gauge attitudes" toward the Saudi-financed US-Russian project that would provide nuclear power in the Middle East. To the contrary, the project Flynn was involved in at the time was expressly created to put such deals in the hands of a USA -led worldwide consortium under strict safety and security controls.

Flynn was sacked only 24 days into the Trump presidency after he was accused of misleading Vice President Mike Pence about Flynn's communication with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition. The hotel Flynn says he stayed at does not exist, and there is no record of a travel companion he took with him, Cummings and Engel wrote.

Cummings's and Engel's letter does not impose a deadline, nor does it have the signatures of their committee chairmen, Reps.

Flynn is said to have provided documents to the House and Senate investigations into allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the USA elections.

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