Last week I wrote about a whistleblower allegation involving Michael Flynn and a former business partner of his named Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners. According to a letter sent by Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings, the whistleblower happened to be at a party where Copson was bragging about having just received a text from Flynn even as Trump’s inauguration was taking place in Washington, DC. The whistleblower claimed Copson said the text from Flynn indicated that a deal to build new nuclear reactors with Russia in the Middle East was “good to go.” The whistleblower also claimed Copson had told him Flynn promised sanctions against Russia which might hold up the deal would soon be “ripped up.”
But in a letter sent to Rep. Cummings on Friday, one of Alex Copson’s partners at ACU contradicts the whistleblower’s claims. According to Thomas Cochran PhD, Alex Copson only received one text message on inauguration day and it was not from Michael Flynn. Politico published the full letter which reads in part:
The only text message Mr. Copson received on Inauguration Day came at 1:49 pm from the same friend who had arrived at the law firm’s building for the reception. All this information is verifiable.
Since Mr. Copson did not receive a text message from General Flynn during the Inauguration, other allegations of the “whistleblower” are equally false and unfounded including that: 1) “Mr. Copson quickly showed the whistleblower his phone with the text message” from General Flynn; and 2) “Mr. Copson informed the whistleblower that he ‘just got this text message’ from General Flynn saying that the project was ‘good to go’ and directing Mr. Copson to contact their business colleagues to ‘let them know to put things in place.'”…
I would be grateful if you would forward this email to the reporters and media outlets that were provided your letter of December 6, 2017 by your office.
There are several issues here so let’s try to walk through them. In the whistleblower’s version of the story, the text from Flynn came in during the inauguration. The whistleblower clearly remembers seeing a text which came in at 12:11 pm, as Trump was still giving his inauguration speech. But if the phone records provided by Cochran are accurate, then that did not happen. So the whole angle on this story that suggested Flynn was so eager to capitalize on Trump’s inauguration that he couldn’t even wait a day to text his former partners appears to be false.
Is it possible Copson was showing the whistleblower a text from a previous day and claiming he’d just received it? In other words, could the whistleblower be accurate about what Copson said even though what Copson said was not true? Anything is possible, but that is going to be very hard to prove because, by the whistleblower’s own admission, he (or she) didn’t actually read the text Copson showed him (or her), only noticed the exact time of the text.
I have no inside information on this incident but since there is clearly a difference of opinion about what happened, let’s do a little speculating about what might have taken place. Let’s imagine that the whistleblower, in this case, is an attractive woman. She went to this gathering where she met Copson and he suddenly began talking about all of his future prospects and dropping Michael Flynn’s name to suggest how connected he was to the power players in Washington, DC. In sum, Copson is saying ‘I’m such a big deal that I’m getting texts from Flynn while the inauguration is happening.’ Again, it’s pure speculation, but doesn’t it sound like the kind of thing that could happen without the need for an underlying White House conspiracy?
At this point, it’s probably not even worth speculating about why the whistleblower got this wrong. What matters is that the story told to Rep. Cummings is not accurate in its significant details so far as we can tell based on actual records. Of course the fact that some of the whistleblower’s story is false doesn’t mean all of it is false but it does mean we probably shouldn’t give it much credence until the whistleblower (or someone) can explain why they got this part of the story wrong.