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Hullabaloo


Friday, September 15, 2017

 
ICYMI: The Trump administration wanted a nuclear middle east

by digby



This piece in Buzzfeed catches you up on all the details including some new ones. And Jared's right in the middle of this one too:
In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, when his soon-to-be national security adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly pushing a multi-billion-dollar deal to build nuclear reactors in Jordan and other Middle East nations, Flynn and two other top Trump advisers held a secret meeting with the king of Jordan.

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 January 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.

People close to the three Trump advisers say that the nuclear deal was not discussed. But a federal official with access to a document created by a law-enforcement agency about the meeting said that the nuclear proposal, known as the Marshall Plan, was one of the topics the group talked about.

The Wall Street Journal reported that while Flynn’s White House disclosure forms state that he stopped working on the deal in December 2016, he in fact continued to push it even after he entered the White House. Flynn’s lawyer declined to comment on the claims in the Journal story.

The plan, for which Flynn was reportedly paid as a consultant, initially envisioned that the reactors would be built by US companies and security would be provided by the Russian state-owned firm Rosoboron, an arms exporter currently facing US sanctions. As the plan evolved, Russian involvement reportedly lessened, and it is not known whether Russia or its companies featured in the meeting with the Jordanian king. This week, Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee said they would turn over documents about the nuclear plan to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, contending that Flynn may have violated federal law by not disclosing foreign trips and meetings.

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 King Abdullah II plans to visit the United States next week and speak with Trump.

An eyewitness who saw the trio of Trump’s advisers that morning in the bar of the Four Seasons, and had a brief exchange with Bannon, said at least half a dozen other people were with them. It is not clear who they were. BuzzFeed News reached out to attorneys and spokespeople for Flynn, Kushner, and Bannon, as well as White House special counsel Ty Cobb and Bannon himself. None of them would comment on the record.

The only known public acknowledgement that King Abdullah II had left his country is a short note on his website saying: “His Majesty King Abdullah on Saturday arrived back home after a private visit abroad.”

Officials at the Jordanian embassy did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

Kushner initially failed to disclose any meetings with foreign officials on his security clearance form. He later amended the document to include more than 100 foreign contacts, including King Abdullah II.

There's more. Lots more. These people are so dirty it's unbelievable.