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FBI Knew of Russian Bribery as Obama & Clinton Approved Uranium Deal

by Countable | 12.21.17

UPDATE – December 12, 2017: The Justice Department, acting under the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has reportedly begun questioning FBI agents about evidence they discovered during their Uranium One investigation.

The report comes from NBC News, which spoke with multiple law enforcement officials.

“The interviews with FBI agents are part of the Justice Department's effort to fulfill a promise an assistant attorney general made to Congress last month to examine whether a special counsel was warranted to look into what has become known as the Uranium One deal,” the outlet writes, citing a senior DOJ official.


UPDATED – October 30, 2017: Under the alleged urging of President Donald Trump, the Justice Department has given a former FBI informant the approval to testify before Congress on the Uranium One deal. The informant’s lawyer claimed his client would discuss his work “uncovering the Russian nuclear bribery case and the efforts he witnessed by Moscow to gain influence with [former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] in hopes of winning favorable uranium decisions from the Obama administration.”

Countable’s earlier story appears below.


What’s the story?

In 2010, the Obama administration approved a controversial deal to provide a Russian company with American uranium. Seven years later, the controversy continues to grow: The Hill has learned that prior to the deal, the FBI had "gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the [U.S.]."

This includes routing millions of dollars to former President Bill Clinton’s The Clinton Foundation at a time when Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. The uranium deal was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), of which Secretary Clinton was a member.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched a probe into the case.

Why does it matter?

According to The Hill’s report, the FBI had evidence "as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act." The Department of Justice, however, continued investigating the allegations for four more years, “essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil.”

During the intervening years, the CFIUS, as Newsweek explained, "unanimously agreed to a partial sale of the Canadian mining company Uranium One to Rosatom, a major Russian nuclear company, effectively handing Moscow control of 20 percent of the U.S.’s uranium supply."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has vowed to "get to the bottom of this issue." The committee sent letters to 10 federal agencies, demanding they disclose whether – and when – they were aware that the FBI had information about the Uranium One deal.

In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security obtained by The Hill, Grassley wrote he was "not convinced by these assurances" the Obama administration gave in 2015 that they had no evidence suggesting they block the Rosatom deal.

"The sale of Uranium One resulted in a Russian government takeover of a significant portion of U.S. uranium mining capacity. In light of that fact, very serious questions remain about the basis for the finding that this transaction did not threaten to impair U.S. national security."

Grassley voiced some of these concerns during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hearing yesterday.

"Has the Justice Department fully investigated whether the Russians compromised the Obama administration’s decisions to smooth the way for transactions?" Grassley asked Sessions.

The AG responded, "It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on any ongoing investigation."

The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have denied having knowledge of any Russian bribery before they inked the deal.

The current administration, meanwhile, has accused the media of ignoring this story. President Trump tweeted early Thursday morning:

What do you think?

Like Grassley, are you "no longer convinced by these assurances" of the Obama administration? Or do you support the administration’s claims that there was no evidence of wrongdoing at the time they made the deal? Should the DOJ have come forward with the information earlier? Hit Take Action and tell your reps how this investigation should proceed, then tell us below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: AndreyPopov / iStockphoto)

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