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Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Michael Flynn told his former business associates that the Trump administration would get rid of Russia sanctions upon taking power, according to a whistleblower document revealed Wednesday by House Democrats. The New York Times first reported on the letter.

Why it matters, per the NYT: "The account is the strongest evidence to date that the Trump administration wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Mr. Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to forge a closer relationship with Russia."

How it happened: The whistleblower claimed that Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners who funded Flynn's trip to the Middle East, received a text from Flynn on inauguration day which said that the project was "good to go." Copson had said that Flynn's first order of business was to ensure the Russian sanctions were "ripped up," according to the whistleblower.

Refresher: While there were plans circulating in the Trump administration earlier this year to lift the sanctions Obama imposed on Russia, the sanctions were ultimately left in place.

Reactions:

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy calling for an investigation: “Our Committee has credible allegations that President Trump’s National Security Advisor sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners.  These grave allegations compel a full, credible, and bipartisan congressional investigation."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.