The Real Collusion May Be With Saudi Arabia

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

It’s becoming clear that the Trump Administration came into being seeing the United States as an asset for sale.


Whistleblowers from within President Donald Trump’s National Security Council have told a congressional committee that efforts by former national security adviser Michael Flynn to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may have violated the law, and investigators fear Trump is still considering it, according to a new report obtained by NBC News.

The House Oversight Committee has formally opened an investigation into the matter, releasing an interim staff report that adds new details to previous public accounts of how Flynn sought to push through the nuclear proposal on behalf of a group he had once advised. Tom Barrack, a prominent Trump backer with business ties to the Middle East, also became involved in the project, the report says.

Just days after Trump’s inauguration, backers of the project sent documents to Flynn for Trump to approve, including a draft Cabinet memo stating that the president had appointed Barrack as a special representative to implement the plan and directing agencies to support Barrack’s efforts, the report says.

The proposal, dubbed by its backers a “Middle East Marshall Plan,” involved IP3 International, which is short for “International Peace Power & Prosperity.” Among those involved with IP3, according to published reports, were Gens. Keith Alexander, Jack Keane and James Cartwright; former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross; George W. Bush homeland security adviser Fran Townsend; and Robert “Bud” McFarlane, who was one of Ronald Reagan’s national security advisers. Keane was considered by Trump for secretary of defense.

The House oversight report says whistleblowers told the committee that one of Flynn’s top aides, Derek Harvey — who was the senior director for Middle East and North African Affairs at the National Security Council from January to July 2017 — stated during the first week of the Trump administration that Flynn had already decided to adopt IP3’s nuclear plan and develop “dozens of nuclear power plants.”

According to whistleblowers, the National Security Council’s ethics lawyer determined that Flynn’s involvement could violate the criminal conflict of interest statute, the report says. As a result, NSC legal adviser John Eisenberg instructed NSC staff to cease all work on the plan.
But Harvey continued to pursue the matter, the report says, even after Flynn had been fired in February 2017 for lying to the FBI.

Harvey stated during a meeting on March 2, 2017: “I speak with Michael Flynn every night,” the report says.

In mid-March 2017, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland reportedly stated during a meeting that Trump told Barrack that he could lead the implementation of the plan, the report says.

Harvey subsequently held a conference call with Barrack and Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager and deputy chairman of the Inaugural Committee, who has pleaded guilty to crimes and is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.

At the time, Gates had been hired by Barrack to manage the Washington office of Barrack’s company. A career NSC staffer who joined the call later told colleagues that Harvey was trying to promote the IP3 plan “so that Jared Kushner can present it to the president for approval,” the report says.

Flynn’s replacement, H.R. McMaster, ultimately ordered the council to cease all work on the matter, the report says. He fired Harvey, who is now a minority staffer for the House Intelligence Committee

Other recent news, like the administration’s unwillingness to admit Saudi Arabia’s brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, suggests a relationship similar to Trump’s favoritism toward Russia.

In January 2017, Erik Prince met with Russian and Middle Eastern representatives in the Seychelles.

There is a nonproliferation issue here, but I think the larger issue is the quid pro quo. KSA wants the nuclear technology. What is the quo?