A United States congressional committee has launched an investigation into the Donald Trump administration's plan to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia despite objections from national security officials. After Flynn resigned, NSC Middle East director Derek Harvey aggressively pushed forward with the plan (Harvey now works for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee).
The whistleblowers, it said, also warned about political appointees ignoring the advice of "top ethics advisers at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts".
The report implicates the President's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and Trump fundraiser Thomas Barrack in a project backed by "strong private commercial interests" to develop "dozens of nuclear power plants" through a private U.S. company called IP3 global under the so-called "Trump Middle East Marshall Plan". Former national security adviser Mike Flynn, who worked with IP3 worldwide in 2016, pushed for the proposal at the time despite concerns from career National Security Council (NSC) staffers.
Representative Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, asked the White House to turn over documents including those related to a meeting two months into Trump's tenure between his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Saudi Arabia's powerful Mohammed bin Salman, who shortly afterward became crown prince.
"Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in US foreign policy", Cummings' staff said in concluding the interim report. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pictured here, visited the U.S.in March 2017 to discuss US investments in energy and infrastructure projects.
The report raises concerns about whether some in a White House marked by "chaos, dysfunction, and backbiting" sought to circumvent national security procedures to push a Saudi deal that could financially benefit close supporters of the president. Section 123 of the 1954 US Atomic Energy Act lays out guidelines that any civil nuclear deal must adhere to - and gives Congress the ability to vote down any such agreement.
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Documents appended to the report included a draft presidential memorandum appointing Barrack as a special envoy to oversee implementation of the project that McFarlane sent to Flynn and his then-deputy, K.T. McFarland, on January 28, 2017. USA prosecutors in NY are investigating the inaugural committee activities. The meeting was organized by IP3 global - the consulting group that first drafted the proposal in question.
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.
The report also cites the role of Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner.
The White House told Al-Monitor past year that the Flynn proposal was not on the table but did not respond to recent queries about whether it is once again under consideration.