President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was one of several current and former administration officials who pushed for the sale of sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.
These efforts continued despite repeated objections from National Security Council members, including then-council head H.R. McMaster, and other senior officials, including White House lawyers.
Flynn initially led the effort during his brief stint as Trump’s national security adviser, followed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry. The Post said discussions on the potential sales have taken place in the Oval Office as recently as last week.
Details about these internal White House battles are contained in a 24-page report released Tuesday morning by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The report is based on documents obtained by the committee and the account of unnamed whistleblowers inside the White House who said they were distressed at the continual effort to sell the power plants.
Committee Republicans said Tuesday they were not included in the drafting of the detailed report and had not received a copy until Monday night. They said they had not had a chance to fully assess it.
The report also mentions potential conflicts of interest, including the potential benefit for a U.S.-Saudi Arabia nuclear deal for Brookfield Asset Management — “the company that provided financial relief to the family of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser,” by taking “a 99-year lease on the family’s deeply indebted New York City property at 666 Fifth Avenue.”
One of the company’s subsidiaries, Westinghouse Electric, is a power plant manufacturer that could see substantial financial benefit.
“Multiple whistleblowers came forward to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. 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,” the report says.
The whistleblowers also “warned about a working environment inside the White House marked by chaos, dysfunction and backbiting. They noted that White House political appointees repeatedly ignored directives from top ethics advisers who repeatedly — but unsuccessfully — “ordered senior White House officials to halt their efforts.”