Despite longstanding efforts to construct a major industrial and non-proliferation project with bipartisan purpose and bipartisan support, ACU has been subject to politically-motivated attacks in connection with the Russia collusion controversy that were reported uncritically by news media. To clarify the underlying facts, ACU provides a comprehensive timeline below with links to ACU’s key statements that are on the public record of the US Congress.
• May – Retired high-ranking military officers, formerly advisers to ACU, form their own separate company, IP3 International (IP3), whose business objective is to utilise funding from China to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia.
• August 15 – IP3 distributes a presentation it has prepared for King Salman of Saudi Arabia on its project to build nuclear reactors in Saudi. The presentation clearly indicates IP3’s association with CEFC China Energy Co Ltd, a Chinese government-affiliated entity.
• November 18 – President Trump announces Lt Gen Michael Flynn as his choice for National Security Adviser.
• May 17 – Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for the Trump-Russia Collusion probe.
• June 9 – Based on information leaked by the Democratic staff of the House Oversight Committee, Newsweek publishes a story titled “Michael Flynn, Russia and a Grand Scheme to Build Nuclear Power Plants in Saudi Arabia and the Arab World”. The story, authored by journalist Jeff Stein, links the ACU project to Lt Gen Michael Flynn who assisted ACU two years earlier as an unpaid consultant for a short period in June 2015, long before he joined the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. The story ominously notes that reports had “surfaced that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.”
• June 22 – In a letter to the House Oversight Committee, Dr. Thomas B. Cochran, Chief Scientist of ACU, strongly criticizes the Newsweek story as “an erroneous, misleading and poorly-sourced magazine article that significantly distorts ACU’s energy and security project.” Cochran further explains Lt Gen Flynn’s role as an unpaid consultant to ACU two years earlier when Flynn led an ACU delegation to Egypt and Israel. In Egypt, Flynn advised the Egyptian government to delay agreeing to a Russian offer to build nuclear power reactors so as to give ACU additional time to make a better offer. Cochran sums up his views as follows: “Speaking as a life-long Democrat and someone who voted for Hillary Clinton, please appreciate that from what I observed during the trip, General Flynn always operated in the highest interest of the United States and our close ally Israel.”
• June 27 – Alex Copson, Managing Director of ACU, informs the House Oversight Committee by letter that, while ACU covered Lt Gen Flynn’s travel expenses to Egypt and Israel during June 2015, “ACU did not retain General Flynn as a paid consultant or as an employee before, during or after this trip and has made no other payments to him or on his behalf.”
• September 12 – In a letter to ACU and IP3, ranking Democrats on the House Oversight Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee request copies of all communications that ACU had with Lt Gen Flynn during the presidential transition, his tenure as National Security Adviser and subsequently.
• September 13 – The Wall Street Journal publishes an article titled “Flynn Promoted Nuclear-Plant Project While in White House” describing Flynn’s alleged assistance to IP3 International, the company formed by retired high-ranking military officers who left ACU in May 2016.
• September 13 – ACU Chief Scientist Thomas Cochran informs the House Oversight Committee that ACU had “no dealings and no relationship since May 2016” with either Lt Gen Flynn or the retired high-ranking military officers leading IP3.
• November 27 – The Washington Post publishes an article titled “Michael Flynn’s Role in Mideast Nuclear Project Could Compound Legal Issues” falsely stating that the “nuclear venture is yet another instance in which Flynn appeared to have a personal stake in an international project while he was advising Trump in 2016, giving prosecutors one more potential avenue to pressure him to cooperate.” Five months earlier, on June 27 (see above) , ACU Managing Director Alex Copson informed the House Oversight Committee on the public record that Flynn was an unpaid consultant t0 ACU for a short period in June 2015, long before Flynn served in the Trump campaign. Copson also indicated that ACU made no payments to Flynn other than covering his travel expenses. At no time did Flynn ever have any personal financial stake in the ACU project.
• December 1 – During the Mueller investigation, Lt Gen Flynn agrees to plead guilty to making false statements about his communications with Ambassador Kislyak in his FBI interview months earlier. His plea deal requires him to fully cooperate with investigators and Mueller’s office to which he agrees.
• December 6 – Ranking Member Cummings of the House Oversight Committee claims in a letter released to the media that an anonymous “whistleblower” has come forward with information about direct contacts between Lt Gen Flynn and ACU Managing Director Alex Copson on Inauguration Day 2017.
• December 8 – ACU Chief Scientist Thomas Cochran refutes the whistleblower’s claims by providing documentary evidence in a letter to the House Oversight Committee, demonstrating that the whistleblower’s anonymous allegations are “patently false and unfounded”.
• December 11 – Reuters publishes an article titled “Nuclear Plan Backer Denies Inauguration Day Text with Top Trump Aide”.
• April 27 – The House Intelligence Committee releases a report on the Russia probe stating that FBI agents told agency Director James Comey they didn’t think Flynn lied about his discussions with Ambassador Kislyak.
• December 4 – Special Counsel Mueller recommends a lenient sentence for Lt Gen Flynn due to his cooperation with investigators.
• February 12 – The House Oversight Committee issues an Interim Staff Report summarizing the activities undertaken by IP3 International to promote its nuclear project in Saudi Arabia at the outset of the Trump administration. The Committee announces it is launching an investigation into the efforts of IP3 and the Trump administration to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
• February to March – ACU cooperates with the House Oversight Committee investigation by supplying the Committee with requested documents and emails pertaining to IP3 International, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, and the ACU nuclear project. The Committee interviewed IP3 officials but IP3 refused to produce any documents or emails, claiming IP3 had limited financial resources. The Committee did not schedule any interviews with ACU executives.
• April 18 – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report is released, stating that he and his investigative team have found no collusion or coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign – including Lt Gen Flynn – and Russia.
• May 1 – ACU provides an update on its project to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
• July 12 – The House Oversight Committee issues its Second Interim Staff Report concluding that IP3 International repeatedly pressed the Trump administration not to require Saudi Arabia to adhere to high U.S. non-proliferation standards (known as the Gold Standard) in any US-Saudi 123 civil nuclear cooperation agreement. The report further noted that IP3 executives used their unprecedented access to Trump administration officials to lobby for transferring sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The report incorrectly referred to ACU as IP3’s “predecessor company” without pointing out that ACU never once lobbied the Trump administration and that the ACU project is designed to reinforce high U.S. non-proliferation standards to prevent the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology to Middle Eastern countries now moving rapidly to develop civil nuclear power.
• August 30 – Lt Gen Flynn’s new attorney, Sidney Powell, files a motion stating that Flynn’s case is not ready for sentencing because she has been unable to acquire necessary information, including transcripts and recordings of phone conversations, which are “either classified or being suppressed by the government.”
• January 4 – Lt Gen Flynn files a motion to withdraw his original guilty plea of lying to the FBI.
• February 4 – Federal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan indefinitely postpones Flynn’s sentencing.
• April 29 – New internal FBI documents are unsealed, showing that top FBI officials discussed whether they were interviewing Flynn with the “goal” or intent to catch him in a lie, so he could be fired. They further discussed making him admit to breaking the Logan Act, an obscure statute that has never been used before in a criminal prosecution.
• May 7 – The Department of Justice drops all charges against Lt Gen Flynn in connection with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of Flynn for lying to federal investigators. Attorney General Barr attributes the decision to “a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.”
• June 24 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit orders an immediate end to the case against General Flynn without further review.