Trump Appointees Pushed to Illegally Transfer Nuclear Technology to Saudis

House Dems probe White House handling of Saudi nuclear plan

President Trump's former national security adviser and other White House officials pushed a venture to bring nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over repeated legal and ethical warnings that potential conflicts of interest around the plan could put American security at risk, concluded a new report from House Democrats released on Tuesday. Flynn was sacked in February 2017 for lying about conversations with the Russian Ambassador to Vice President Pence and the F.B.I.

He is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Another key proponent of transfers to Saudi Arabia, according to the committee, has been Thomas Barrack, a businessman who organized Trump's inauguration. Rick Gates, a former Barrack employee and cooperator in Mueller's investigation, was also involved in advocating for the nuclear proposal.

In a statement, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said "the report raises serious questions" for Congress to answer, such as: "What involvement did other senior Administration officials, including the President, and foreign actors, particularly the Saudi leadership, have in the effort to short-circuit the legal requirements for nuclear cooperation with the US?"

Harvey did not immediately return a request for comment.

IP3 is led by a group of retired USA military officers and national security officials, including retired Rear Adm. Michael Hewitt, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane and former Reagan National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane.

For roughly seven months in 2016, including during the presidential transition, Flynn served as an adviser to IP3 global, a private company seeking to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.

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According to the report, the whistleblowers came to the committee because they had concerns "about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law - efforts that may be ongoing to this day". But the White House continued to pursue it.

Administration support for the project, however, appears to have continued to the present, with Trump meeting consortium representatives in the Oval Office last week, the committee report said.

The report also quotes former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland as saying Trump personally told Barrack he could lead the plan's implementation.

Tuesday's disclosure of a plan to sell nuclear technology comes as the United States considers its relationship with the Saudi government in the wake of the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

John Eisenberg, the top NSC lawyer, had ordered the work halted because of concerns that Flynn could be breaking a conflict of interest law as he advised the consortium while serving on Trump's campaign and transition team, said the report, which is based on documents and whistleblower accounts.

Also included with the committee's report was a document authored by Barrack titled "The Trump Middle East Marshall Plan" that promoted the plan and was sent to NSC staff on March 28, 2017, by IP3 board member Frances Fragos Townsend, who served as homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

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