Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, promised to swiftly end U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation as one of the "first orders of business" for the incoming Trump administration, according to a whistleblower's account detailed in a new letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The witness provided the account to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who detailed the allegations in a letter Wednesday to the panel's chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
Mr. Copson is the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners and was working with General Flynn to promote a joint project with Russian Federation to build nuclear reactors in the Arab world.
Mr. Cummings sent the letter to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Committee, Trey Gowdy, Republican of SC, and asked him to investigate the whistle-blower's claims.
The witness told congressional investigators that he was "extremely uncomfortable" with the conversation, Cummings wrote, and took brief notes about the discussion during the inaugural event.
The whistle-blower told Mr Cummings that he saw a text from Flynn that was sent on Jan 20 "approximately ten minutes" into Mr Trump's speech when Flynn was sitting in the audience.
Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, received texts from Flynn during Trump's inauguration January 20 saying the deal was "good to go", according to Cummings.
Cummings said the whistleblower, whom he did not identify in the letter, "fears retaliation", but would speak with Gowdy if he agrees to protect the whistleblower's identity.
In his letter, Mr. Cummings also said that his staff had been in consultations with Mr. Mueller's team, which brought the criminal charge against Mr. Flynn. Copson added that "this is going to make a lot of very wealthy people".
Neither Gowdy nor Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, responded immediately to a request for comment.
On December 29, the day the Obama administration imposed new sanctions and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. in retaliation for Moscow's election meddling, Flynn called Kislyak and asked that Russia not escalate the situation, according to court documents.
On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russian Federation. Mr Copson was described by the whistle-blower as responding, "I couldn't be better", and that he was "going to celebrate today".
Mr. Gowdy and Mr. Cummings have a long history of clashing publicly over politically charged investigations.
The message said the project was 'good to go.' It continued that Copson should contact colleagues to 'let them know to put things in place.' The whistleblower could not read the text of the message, but said the timestamp said 12:11 pm, meaning just minutes after Donald Trump assumed the presidency. Copson was working at the time with Flynn on a project to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, and Flynn reported in August that he served as an "advisor" to Copson's company between 2015-2016.
"Mike has been putting everything in place for us", Copson told the whistleblower.
Flynn though told Copson that sanctions would be dropped, and he reportedly began circulating the plan to top White House officials within days of the inauguration.