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.
The whistleblower’s allegations were made public in a letter Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the committee’s top Democrat, sent to Gowdy Wednesday, to which Gowdy responded with a letter Wednesday evening.
Gowdy said he was referring the matter to the House Intel Committee, on which Gowdy sits.
“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.
Gowdy also recommended that Cummings present the claims to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, despite Cummings’ indications in his letter Wednesday that his staff had been in touch with Mueller’s team and had been given the green light to move forward.
Cummings had pointed out that the 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.
Cummings’ initial letter detailed a whistleblower’s account of claims allegedly made by Alex Copson, the managing partner of a company Flynn advised through 2016. According to the whistleblower, Copson bragged to the whistleblower on Inauguration Day 2017 that Flynn had told Copson that the Russia sanctions that had been an obstacle to the project pushed by the company will be “ripped up.” Cummings asked Gowdy to meet with the whistleblower and to subpoena White House officials and figures connected to the project, a proposal to build nuclear power plans across the Middle East.
An attorney for Copson has denied any communications between Flynn and employees of the company, ACU.
Cummings responded to Gowdy’s letter with a letter Thursday that called Gowdy’s refusal to investigate the whistleblower’s claims “astonishing.”
“Your letter seems to resort to desperate and baseless jurisdictional excuses to avoid conducting oversight in an apparent attempt to protect President Trump and his Administration,” Cummings said while pointing out “inaccuracies” in Gowdy’ letter.
Cumming also noted the congressional probe into Hillary Clinton’s role in an Obama-era Uranium One deal that Gowdy is spearheading— a probe that was recently announced after Republicans said they had found a new informant.
“You told Fox News that you wanted to hear ‘whatever he has’ because ‘[t]alking to witnesses is usually a good thing,'” Cummings said. “In contrast, you seem to apply a completely different standard when it comes to investigating President Trump and his top aides.”
Read Gowdy’s letter below: