A firm that Michael Flynn once advised is denying Democrats’ claims that Flynn texted its top partner on Inauguration Day about gutting Russian sanctions connected to a Middle East nuclear power deal they’d been working on. A senior scientist at the firm released phone records that he said showed Flynn neither sent nor received any texts from the partner.
The phone records were included in a letter the scientist, Tom Cochran, sent to top House Oversight Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Friday that he provided to TPM Monday evening.
Cummings last week made public a whistleblower’s claim that he had seen Alex Copson, a top official at the company ACU Strategic Partners, on Inauguration Day, and that Copson touted a text he received from Flynn that day at 12:11 p.m. (The whistleblower did not see the content of the text but remembered the time stamp, according to Dems.) Copson informed the whistleblower that Flynn had told him that nuclear power project was “good to go” and that the sanctions would be “ripped up,” the whistleblower told the Democrats.
Cochran responded to the allegations in a letter last week that included what appears to be a screenshot of phone records from that day. The phone records show an outgoing text at 12:12, which Cochran says Copson sent to a “personal friend seeking to join Mr. Copson at an Inauguration Day reception,” and an incoming text at 1:49 p.m from the same friend.
“Since Mr. Copson did not receive a text from General Flynn during the Inaguration, other allegations of the ‘whistleblower’ are equally false and unfounded,” Cochran said in the letter. He asked Cummings to share the letter and phone records with the press.
Instead, Cummings blasted out a letter of his own Monday to Copson that referenced Cochran’s claims.
“It remains unclear why your colleague sent this letter rather than you,” Cummings said, while calling on Copson to be interviewed by congressional investigators and to hand over documents Cummings has been seeking.
ACU, and another company Flynn was linked to, IP3/IronBridge, were both backers of a proposal to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle East — a proposal its supporters say would increase the area’s economy security while boosting Iran’s rivals. According to reports in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, Flynn allegedly promoted the idea once he was in the White House.
Flynn pleaded guilty, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition about Russian sanctions. The charging documents against him did not mention the nuclear project specifically. However, Democrats say they received a green light from Mueller’s team to move along with their own investigation into Flynn’s lobbying for the project. House Oversight Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC), whose sign-off Dems need for subpoenas, has showed no interest in joining them.
Read the letter and phone records from Cochran below: