he Trump administration has continued pursuing a proposed nuclear power deal with Saudi Arabia despite warnings from ethics lawyers and security experts, according to a congressional oversight committee.
The proposal gained traction in the early days of the administration because of then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and presidential confidant Tom Barrack, who had potential financial stakes in the plan, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said in initial findings released on Tuesday.
The administration’s early efforts threatened to make an end-run around U.S. laws governing the transfer of nuclear power technology, the oversight committee said. The U.S. tightly controls the technology because it can be diverted to build atomic bombs.
While Saudi Arabia has a legitimate goal of diversifying its economy away from oil, its leaders have also shown interest in keeping pace with Iran’s nuclear development. “Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” the crown prince, who is known in Washington by his initials MbS, told “60 Minutes” last year.