Trump’s fired National Security Advisor just got caught in a major conflict of interest between his lobbying work and his official duties during his short time in the White House.
General Flynn pushed a massive nuclear deal in the Middle East on behalf of IP3, a company for which he worked, which is operated by another Republican former-National Security Advisor, himself convicted of Iran-Contra crimes during the Reagan-era.
House Oversight committee Democrats found out about Flynn’s shenanigans and sent a letter demanding more information from former National Security Advisor Robert “Bud” McFarlane‘s plan to use the General’s official position to advance their financial interests (embedded below).
The Washington Post reports:
From August to December 2016, [Flynn] served as an adviser to the company, IP3, reporting later on his disclosure forms that he ended his association with the firm just weeks before joining the administration.
To push the idea “in the first week of the administration without any policy process made no sense,” said a person familiar with the episode who, like others with knowledge of the incident, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. “It was a business proposal in the form of a policy paper.”
Ironically, it was the disgraced former NSA chief Mcfarlane who drafted the presidential directive to pursue $250 billion in long shot nuclear energy deals throughout the oil-rich, sunny Middle East
Flynn and Bud McFarlane got photographed meeting in Trump Tower in New York during the transition last winter, while the General was still consulting on the project.
General Flynn used his official role in the White House to try and push the massive deal forward by skipping over the Department of Energy, which is usually in charge of national nuclear policy, and without any screening by the State Department or review from any other US agency.
National Security Council (NSC) lawyers noticed Flynn’s blatant conflict of interest having worked for the private company proposing it until the month before he entered the Trump Administration and did their best to kill the deal. That’s why one of Flynn’s top deputies became instrumental in carrying IP3’s nuclear deal to the federal government when the NSC’s lawyers demanded he recuse himself from meetings involving the project involving his former employers.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
One of the people Mr. Flynn brought with him, former Army Col. Derek Harvey, said at a meeting during the first week of the new administration that Mr. Flynn had told him to develop a regional economic and energy plan for the Middle East. When staffers pointed out there was an NSC office that handled economic and energy issues, Mr. Harvey said Mr. Flynn had directed him to take the lead on the issue.
Mr. Harvey met with a private-sector backer of the nuclear plan the first week of the Trump administration. Days later, another of the project’s backers, Robert “Bud” McFarlane, a national security adviser to President Reagan, emailed documents to Mr. Flynn.
Mr. McFarlane included a draft of a memo about the project Mr. Trump could send to cabinet heads. Mr. Flynn forwarded Mr. McFarlane’s email to his staff with an instruction: Prepare a package for the president. Mr. Harvey told his staff to put the contents of the draft memo into an official “cabinet memo” from the president. There is no indication such a memo ever went to Mr. Trump.
Flynn’s deputy Col. Harvey kept pushing Flynn’s nuclear deal until he was ultimately fired from the NSC in July but settled into a staff role for the House Intel Committee which has been fractiously investigating Trump’s Russia ties while dealing with a rogue Republican Chairperson.
General Flynn started pushing the fantastical Russian-Saudi-American nuclear deal in 2015 and didn’t disclose anything about it on his security clearances or get army approval. Newsweek’s’ revelatory report this summer about Flynn’s nuclear deal explained that IP3 was a group of generals who departed the original project with a company called ACU Strategic Partners but kept seeking to achieve its goals with the new firm IP3.
Ultimately, Bud McFarlane did get an official White House meeting about his fantastical nuclear deal and continues to promote the project, but official buzz over the deal has faded quickly.
Now, Congress is demanding answers and General Flynn is facing even more trouble over his private consulting and lobbying business where he mixed official positions and security clearances with private business to create a perfect storm inside the Trump Administration in just 24 days on the job.
Here is the letter from House Oversight Democrats: