On Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings released a letter concerning a whistleblower connected to former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
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.
The whistleblower recounted how Flynn reached out within minutes of Trump’s inauguration to say how Russian sanctions would be ‘ripped up’ and that a previously blocked scheme to bring Russian nuclear plants to the Middle East was ‘good to go.’ The letter was extraordinary both for the bluntness of Flynn’s statements, and for the timing that set the events literally 11 minutes into his presidency.
Validating the account would seem extremely important. Unless you’re a Republican.
House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) showed no interest Wednesday in further investigating claims a whistleblower brought to the committee’s Democrats about promises former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn allegedly made to a business associate about gutting Russia sanctions that been hindering the associate’s business project.
Why would it not be important to follow up? Maybe because confirming this account would be uncomfortably close to confirming that Trump’s team had been working to bring down sanctions well in advance of taking office. And the last thing Trey Gowdy wants from this Russia investigation … is results.
“This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people,” [Flynn associate, Alex Copson], told the whistleblower on inauguration day, according to the whistleblower’s account to the Democrats.
Copson is denying the account, which would make a follow up investigation seem even more vital.
The Democrats are now asking Gowdy to sign off on subpoenas for various White House officials, associates of Flynn’s and others involved in the nuclear project.
“If you choose to continue blocking our Committee’s investigation of General Flynn and allowing the White House to defy our bipartisan requests, the Oversight Committee will be faced with allegations of hypocrisy that are extremely difficult to defend,” Cummings said. “The integrity of this Committee’s work will be questioned, and the credibility of its investigations will be severely degraded.”
Gowdy’s response was that the House Oversight Committee doesn’t need to look into this because the House Intelligence Committee already has an investigation of the Trump-Russia connection underway.
“While you may want every Committee in Congress to investigate the same fact patterns, it isn’t a prudent use of resources—something you used to be mindful of,” Gowdy said.
Just a reminder that Gowdy was one of those who was on board in announcing an investigation of the already-investigated, 8-year-old Uranium One deal.
That includes an investigation by the House Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee … the one whose resources are too strained to look into Flynn playing salesman for Russian nuclear plants.
But the Uranium One deal, in which not one ounce of U.S. uranium left the country? Three new overlapping investigations plus a call for a special counsel. Michael Flynn’s plan to sell Russian nuclear plants … not a concern.
And there was that other time that Trey Gowdy seemed to be okay with blowing through resources … what was that about?
Cummings had pointed out that Gowdy, as the chair of a select committee, pursued Congress’ Benghazi investigation even as the FBI was doing its own related probe in Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Gowdy shot back in his letter by accusing Cummings of having a “continued obsession” with Benghazi, while accusing Cummings of “obstructing, delaying and obfuscating” the committee’s Benghazi probe.
The investigation mentioned would be one of eight investigations and 21 public hearings on Benghazi … suggesting that it wasn’t Cummings who was obsessed.