'No Impropriety' by Trump in Transfer of Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia, GOP Probe Concludes

The Trump administration did not commit any wrongdoing in its transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a new report by the Republican staff of the House Oversight Committee that was compiled based on thousands of documents from private entities and the administration.

Democrats have previously alleged the administration may have broken federal laws and guidelines in its numerous transfers of U.S. nuclear technology to the Middle Eastern country and was "rushing" the transactions.

But the GOP report published Monday contradicts those claims, concluding that the Trump administration is "not rushing nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia," "not conflicted from deliberations to transfer nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia" and has "not skirted requirements for congressional notification about nuclear energy technology transfers to Saudi Arabia."

Trump transfer nuclear tech Saudi Arabia OK
President Donald Trump (R) looks at a defence sales chart with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, revealed last month that Trump had approved two of the various transfers after the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October. Despite the U.S. intelligence community concluding the brutal murder was conducted at the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump has refused to criticize Saudi Arabia on the matter, in addition to other international matters. In total, according to Kaine, who cited records from the Department of Energy, Trump has approved seven such nuclear technology transfers.

Democrats said in their February report that the administration sought to "rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law." Republicans' new report said that was not supported by the evidence and that IP3 International, a firm comprised of former U.S. national security officials who have pushed to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, kept Congress in the loop.

IP3 "briefed Democrat and Republican Members of Congress about the civilian nuclear energy possibilities in the Middle East in 2017 and 2018," the report states, adding: "Documents suggest that IP3 arranged a White House meeting with nuclear energy company executives in February 2019."

The report further stated that although there were alleged conflicts of interest by Democrats between the Trump administration, IP3, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Deputy National Security Adviser K. T. McFarland and former Trump inaugural chair Tom Barrack, they did not occur because the former officials failed to have influence on the administration's actions.

"The evidence shows that in the early days of the Trump Administration, IP3 attempted to excite new senior officials—including Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland—about its proposal to place the United States as the leader in developing civilian nuclear technology in the Middle East," the report says. "Importantly, IP3 did not successfully convince the Trump Administration to take any action."

With regard to congressional notification requirements, Republicans say documents obtained from the Energy Department showed that it granted the proper authorization for energy companies to do business in Saudi Arabia.

"The Democrats may allege there was malfeasance within the Trump Administration in granting or fast-tracking these authorizations," the report says. "However, the evidence before the Committee does not support this allegation."

Spokespersons for the Democratic committee members did immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.