House Dems question Flynn disclosures of Middle East travel


The potential omission could add to the legal jeopardy President Donald Trump's former national security adviser faces over the truthfulness of his statements to authorities and on government documents.

Two House Democrats are looking into whether former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied on his security clearance form about two trips to the Middle East, including one where he helped broker a $100 billion nuclear power plant deal between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia in 2015. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) ask for documents related to Flynn's work with Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. Among those payments was more than $33,000 he received from RT, the Russian state-sponsored television network that USA intelligence officials have branded as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.

Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, said in April that Flynn had briefed officials extensively regarding his speech to Russia's government-controlled RT network "both before and after the trip, and he answered any questions that were posed by DIA concerning the trip during those briefings".

He reported a second trip to Saudi Arabia in October 2015 on security clearance forms, but the letter says he omitted key details of that trip, including who paid for it.

House investigators note that they do not know precisely when Flynn traveled to the Middle East for the nuclear deal, but they cite a discrepancy between the June 10, 2015 testimony he gave to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and his official August 2015 start date he lists with Hewlitt's consulting company.

Flynn appeared to refer to this trip in testimony before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, when he told lawmakers that he "just came from a trip - fairly extensive trip to the Middle East".

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Among Flynn's responsibilities was to develop a security strategy for the nuclear reactors and to calm the concerns of USA allies in the Middle East, such as Israel and Egypt, the Democrats said.

"He reported that he traveled to Saudi Arabia with a friend for six days to speak at a conference, that he stayed at the King Khaled International Hotel, and that his expenses were paid by a 'work sponsor, '" the letter reads.

In the letter, the lawmakers asked Flynn's former firm, Flynn Intel Group, to provide additional information about his foreign travel and his involvement with two other companies who spearheaded the nuclear power plan.

In their letter Monday, Cummings and Engel said that in January 2016, just days after submitting the application to renew his security clearance, Flynn said during a lecture that he was speaking with many leaders in the Middle East as well as "a lot of folks in" leadership in Saudi Arabia.

X-Co Dynamics is a Virginia-based consulting firm headed by former U.S. Rear Admiral Michael Hewitt, whose board of retired military advisers included former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander and former Marine Corps General James "Hoss" Cartwright, who was prosecuted a year ago for lying to the FBI in a leak investigation. It explains that not long after his summer 2015 trip to Saudi Arabia to talk about nuclear power plants, the Saudis made a $100 billion deal with the Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, to build 16 nuclear power units. At the time, X-Co Dynamics Inc./IronBridge was working with ACU Strategic Partners, headed by Alex Copson, a British-American businessman based in Washington, D.C. Hewitt's group and Copson have since split. On March 31, Flynn filed revised financial disclosure forms that included payments from three Russian companies with ties to the Kremlin prior to joining Trump's campaign. They go on to note that Saudi Arabia was the first foreign country that Trump visited as president, and that the Trump administration recently "concluded" an arms deal with the country, questioning "what advice or input General Flynn may have offered relating to these matters, if any". -Russian business venture to develop nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.