- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Top House Democrats plan to investigate claims the Trump White House fast-tracked sensitive details on U.S. nuclear technologies to Saudi Arabia without notifying Congress of the exchanges — a possible violation of federal law.

Members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday published a report based on several accounts by government “whistleblowers” involved in the U.S. nuclear apparatus, claiming top Trump officials forced through technology transfers to Riyadh on intricate details regarding Washington’s nuclear efforts.

President Trump has cultivated the oil-rich kingdom since taking office in 2017 as a key ally in his Middle East strategy and a bulwark against rival Iran.

The officials “expressed significant concerns about the potential procedural and legal violations” administration officials may have conducted, as part of the hurried transfers, committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said in a statement.

“They have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes,” the Maryland Democrat said, referring to testimony by government whistleblowers cited in the report.

California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said his panel will work in conjunction with Mr. Cummings to investigate whether the Trump administration broke federal mandates under the Atomic Energy Act in its dealings with the Saudis.

“If the allegations are borne out, such an effort … is precisely the type of dangerous conflict of interest, serious compromise, and danger to national security that Congress has a duty to expose and root out,” he said Tuesday.

At issue are negotiations between top Saudi officials and senior Trump aides, including then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, to share highly secretive details of the U.S. civilian nuclear program going back to 2018.

While the talks focused strictly on non-military nuclear programs, divulging such sensitive information without congressional oversight undermines standing U.S statues and international agreements “that safeguards nuclear material and prevents a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Mr. Schiff said.

The Democrats claim those secretive Saudi-U.S. talks are still ongoing between the White House and Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump “met with nuclear power developers at the White House about sharing nuclear technology with countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Cummings’ said in his statement.

The White House did not immediately comment on the reports, the Associated Press reported.

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