Energy executive denies that Michael Flynn sent text during inauguration saying Russia sanctions would be 'ripped up'
A nuclear energy executive who used to work with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn claims that a whistleblower gave inaccurate information about an alleged text exchange that occurred during President Trump's inauguration, Politico reported Monday. Last week, Politico reported that a whistleblower wrote in July to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, about text messages Flynn had allegedly sent during the inauguration ceremony to Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners.
Flynn, who advised ACU, a nuclear energy investment firm, between 2015 and 2016, apparently told Copson that sanctions against Russia would get "ripped up" upon Trump's ascent to the Oval Office. Per the whistleblower, Flynn also wrote in a text that ACU's plan to build a dozen nuclear plants in the Middle East with Russian partners was "good to go."
On Friday, Thomas Cochran, a top adviser for ACU, wrote in a letter to Cummings, "The only text message Mr. Copson received on Inauguration Day came at 1:49 p.m.," directly contradicting the whistleblower's claim that Copson showed off a text sent by Flynn at 12:11 p.m. that day. Cochran claimed that because Copson "did not receive a text message from General Flynn during the inauguration, other allegations of the 'whistleblower' are equally false and unfounded."
Cummings responded Friday directly to Copson, asking him to appear before Oversight Committee staff for an interview. He poked holes in Cochran's logic, saying Copson could have provided an incomplete transcript of exchanged messages, or that communications could have occurred over an encrypted messaging service.
Cummings also questioned why Copson wasn't speaking for himself: "It appears that your colleague [Cochran] is suggesting that you did not meet the whistleblower at all and that you had no conversation relating to General Flynn," Cummings wrote to Copson. "It remains unclear why your colleague sent this letter rather than you." Kelly O'Meara Morales
Several things happened on Wednesday that President Trump could have addressed — the Russian prime minister accusing him of showing "total weakness" by signing Russian sanctions legislation into law, the Boy Scouts of America insisting a flattering phone call Trump said he had with the chief scout executive never happened, NBC News reporting that he suggested firing the U.S. commander for the Afghan War — but instead, the president settled on a Sports Illustrated article published online Tuesday, which claimed Trump told members of his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club that the White House is "a real dump."
I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen. But Fake News said I called it a dump - TOTALLY UNTRUE
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2017
The article states that Trump dissed his new digs after a recent round of golf, but Trump said on Twitter Wednesday night it was a made-up exchange. "I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen," he wrote. "But Fake News said I called it a dump — TOTALLY UNTRUE." He limited himself to just one tweet, only two words were in all caps, and he refrained from insulting anyone personally, so maybe his new Chief of Staff John Kelly really is a positive influence. Catherine Garcia
In response to a Washington Post report published Wednesday about two meetings he had last year with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement late in the night, saying he "never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign."
Sessions went on to say he has "no idea what this allegation is about. It is false." A spokeswoman for Sessions told the Post that when Sessions said during his confirmation hearing in January that he did not communicate with any Russians before the presidential election, he was not being misleading. When he met with Sergey Kislyak, Sessions was a senator, she continued, and the question was about "communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee."