Former national security adviser Michael Flynn promoted a private-sector nuclear power plan for the Middle East while he served in the White House, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The project aimed to build nuclear plans in Saudi Arabia and other areas in the Middle East. During his short tenure in President Trump’s White House, Flynn advocated for a group of former military officers, who were promoting the project on behalf of U.S. companies, according to the Journal.
Before entering his White House post, Flynn advised U.S. companies on the project. His White House disclosure forms indicate that he stepped aside in January when Trump took office.
But according to the Journal, Flynn continued to discuss the project while serving in the White House and directed National Security Council staffers to meet with the companies involved in the plan.
What’s more, Flynn stayed in contact with the former military officers charged with promoting the project, communicating with them “outside normal channels,” the Journal reported. Even after NSC ethics advisers told Flynn to step away from the project, he continued his activity.
An administration official confirmed to the Journal that NSC staff met with the former military officers, though Flynn did not attend that meeting, because he was told that it would be inappropriate to do so.
The planned nuclear project once sought Russian companies to provide fuel for the plants and take waste, though it eventually became more of an “American initiative,” the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the project.
The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday released letters exchanged with executives at the companies Flynn advised on the nuclear project. Those letters confirmed that Flynn had travelled to the Middle East in 2015, which he had failed to disclose on his security clearance renewal application in 2016.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that they would provide the letters from the executives to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.
Flynn has emerged as one of Trump’s most controversial former advisers. He was forced to resign from the White House in February – just 24 days after taking office – following revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about the nature of his conversations with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.