While serving in the White House, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pushed a private-sector scheme to build dozens of nuclear reactors throughout the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Former National Security Council staffers and others familiar with the effort told the Journal that Flynn spoke about the project in meetings and directed his staff to meet with the former U.S. military officers involved with it. Flynn’s own work on the project as a private citizen dates back to at least mid-2015.
Former NSC staffers told the newspaper that Flynn’s contacts with his former business associates happened “outside normal channels,” with one former council member calling his actions “highly abnormal” and “not the way things were supposed to go.”
A lawyer for Flynn and a White House spokeswoman declined the Journal’s requests for comment.
These remarkable details add a new dimension to Tuesday reports about Flynn’s involvement with the project. Two top House Democrats said they informed special counsel Robert Mueller they have evidence that Flynn broke the law by failing to include on his security clearance application a summer 2015 trip to the Middle East, where he tried to broker the ambitious energy deal. Politico reported that Flynn received at least $25,000 for his work on the project, and that he actively promoted it to members of the transition team after Trump won the election.
But news that he continued to work on the deal after joining the White House make the possible legal implications for Flynn far more severe.
Former and current officials told the Journal that he continued to advocate for the power plan after receiving warnings from NSC ethics advisers, and one official confirmed to the newspaper that a meeting between the former military officers and NSC staff occurred.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) on Wednesday released correspondence with executives at the companies that Flynn worked with, X-Co Dynamics/Iron Bridge and ACU Strategic Partners. Those companies confirmed his June 2015 trip to the Middle East to promote the project—a visit that Cummings and Engel say Flynn never disclosed on a January 2016 application to renew his security clearance.
“Since these violations carry criminal penalties of up to five years in prison, we are providing your responses to Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” the Democratic lawmakers told Flynn’s former business colleagues in a letter.