My family of bloggers and readers will not be surprised that it looks like the republican President Donald Trump’s administration has been working on business deals with Saudi Arabian officials, both prior and post his moving into the White House. I have long speculated that many of the president’s foreign policy decisions have been unduly influenced by his financial ties to Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Whistle blowers have presented to the US House Oversight and Reform Committee, documentation pertaining to the president’s administration’s involvement in a proposed venture to bring nuclear power facilities to Saudi Arabia, where any US national security risks were ignored and which may be ongoing. While General H.R. MacMaster was the National Security Adviser in the White House, he had ended these plans but as soon as he left, there’s reason to suspect that these plans were resurrected. On February 12, 2019, President Trump met with nuclear industry executives at the White House to discuss expanding their presence internationally, including in the Middle East.
The Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings is ordering a full scale investigation into these claims.
“This is smoking hot (story). The Wall Street Journal says Flynn’s disclosure forms “indicate that [his] year-and-a-half work on the project ended in December 2016, but Mr. Flynn in fact remained involved in the project once he joined the Trump administration in January, discussing the plan and directing his National Security Council staff to meet with the companies involved, the former staffers said.” BuzzFeed:”
“The meeting — details of which have never been reported — is the latest in a series of secret, high-stakes contacts between Trump advisers and foreign governments that have raised concerns about how, in particular, Flynn and senior adviser Jared Kushner handled their personal business interests as they entered key positions of power. And the nuclear project raised additional security concerns about expanding nuclear technology in a tinderbox region of the world. One expert compared it to providing “a nuclear weapons starter kit.”
“On the morning of Jan. 5, Flynn, Kushner, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon greeted King Abdullah II at the Four Seasons hotel in lower Manhattan, then took off in a fleet of SUVs and a sedan to a different location. […]”
“While it is not unusual for an incoming administration to meet with foreign dignitaries during the transition, Trump surrogates have repeatedly failed to acknowledge these contacts. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at first said he did not discuss campaign matters with Russian officials, only to later acknowledge at least two conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The United Arab Emirates set up a meeting between a military contractor close to the Trump administration and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin. And this week, CNN reported that Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, visited with Flynn, Kushner, and Bannon without alerting the American government beforehand.”
“The meeting with the king of Jordan had extremely high stakes: a discussion with the head of a key American ally that might have included plans about spreading nuclear power to one of the world’s least stable regions, possibly with the help of one of America’s main geopolitical enemies, Russia. The revelation of the meeting comes as Abdullah plans to visit the United States next week and speak with Trump.”
“If this sounds like the kind of thing that’s going to keep you up at night, you’re not alone. “Any proposal to introduce dozens of nuclear reactors to the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, raises many proliferation red flags,” the Arms Control Association’s Daryl Kimball told BuzzFeed. “The Saudis do not need nuclear power and them gaining access could lead to dangerous consequences down the road.” Giving a country nuclear energy capacity, as the Marshall Plan would, “is like giving a country a nuclear weapons starter kit,” the nonprofit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s Alexandra Bell said.”
“On the bright side, Flynn, Bannon, and Kushner are transparent, highly qualified people who we can definitely trust with national security.”
Here’s the rest of the story…
On February 19, 2019, Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times penned the following report, “House Opens Inquiry into Proposed U.S. Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia”
“House Democrats said on Tuesday (2/19/2019) they would begin a full-scale inquiry into White House involvement in a proposed venture to bring nuclear power facilities to Saudi Arabia, citing whistle-blower claims that administration officials disregarded warnings that potential conflicts of interest that could put American security at risk.
“In a 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the Democrats said their concerns centered around actions taken in the early weeks of the Trump administration to secure government backing for a plan to build a series of nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia. But they said there was evidence as recently as last week that the White House was still considering the proposal.”
“Claims presented by whistle-blowers and White House documents obtained by the committee show that the company backing the nuclear plan, IP3 International, and allies in the White House were working so closely that the company sent a draft memo to Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, to circulate just days after the inauguration. Mr. Flynn had worked on the plan for IP3 during the Trump campaign and transition, the Democrats said, and continued to advocate for it in the White House.”
“Even after Mr. Flynn left the White House in February 2017, officials on the National Security Council pushed ahead, the Democrats said, ignoring advice from the N.S.C.’s ethics counsel and other lawyers to cease all work on the plan because of potentially illegal conflicts.”
“The draft memo also referenced another close Trump associate, Thomas J. Barrack, who served as chairman of the president’s inaugural committee. It said that Mr. Trump had appointed Mr. Barrack as a special representative to implement the plan, which it called “the Middle East Marshall Plan.” The memo also directed agencies to support Mr. Barrack’s efforts.”
“The Democrats’ investigation comes at a sensitive time, when lawmakers of both parties are incensed over the Trump administration’s reluctance to punish Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi government over the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As supporters of the nuclear deal maneuvered in opening days of the Trump White House, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was orchestrating what would be Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip as president, to Saudi Arabia, and met on his own with the then-deputy crown prince, Mr. bin Salman, before the prince became the power behind the Saudi throne.”
“At a March 2017 meeting, a National Security Council aide tried to revive the IP3 plan “so that Jared Kushner can present it to the President for approval,” the Democratic report said. Mr. Kushner is scheduled to travel to the region next week to brief diplomats on the economic portions of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.”
“Mr. Cummings first disclosed claims brought to him by one of the whistle-blowers in November 2017, and called on the committee’s Republican chairman at the time to further scrutinize them. The Republicans did not touch it, so on Tuesday, after laying out a more detailed timeline of events, Mr. Cummings said he was now able to do that work himself.”
“Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the US or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy,” Mr. Cummings’ staff wrote in the report.”
Link to entire report:House Opens Inquiry into Proposed US Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia