During an Oct. 18 congressional hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pressed about recent news reports that the Obama administration was aware of a Russian bribery operation on a uranium deal tied to Hillary Clinton.
The Hill published an exclusive story on Oct. 17 showing that before the Obama administration approved its 2010 deal that gave Russia control of 20 percent of America’s uranium supply, “Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering” meant to grow Russia’s nuclear energy business in the United States.
The story says that “Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the United States designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.” It cited government documents, interviews, and eyewitness accounts.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Sessions during the Oct. 18 hearing, “Has the Justice Department fully investigated whether the Russians compromised the Obama administration’s decisions to smooth the way for transactions, and if not, why not?”
Sessions hinted, yet did not confirm, whether the Department of Justice was looking into the case. He said, “Mr. Chairman, we’re working hard to maintain discipline in the department. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on any ongoing investigation.”
The latest finding adds evidence of known corruption around the deal that caused controversy for the Clinton campaign in the 2016 elections.
In the deal, Russian nuclear company Rosatom was able to purchase part of mining company Uranium One, which is headquartered in Canada but has operations in the United States. The Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which was involved in the deal, paid the Clinton Foundation $500,000 for a speech given by Bill Clinton. Around the same time the Clinton Foundation was paid by Renaissance Capital, the State Department under Hillary Clinton signed off on the deal.
Grassley noted that the same month the Clinton Foundation was paid, “Russia began the uranium acquisition process. This pattern raises serious concerns about improper political influence on the process by the Clintons during the Obama administration.”
The New York Times reported on the Clinton scandal in April 2015, noting that as the bids were approved from 2009 to 2013, “a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation” that totaled $2.35 million. It notes, “Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.”
Donald Trump Jr. linked to a New York Post story about the case in a Tweet that said, “Obama administration knew about Russian bribery plot before uranium deal.”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 18, 2017
The case has only grown deeper. In a follow-up story on Oct. 18, The Hill reported that the Justice Department under the Obama Administration blocked a confidential FBI witness from telling Congress about the Russian nuclear scandal with the Clintons.
Information-leaking website WikiLeaks also published diplomatic cables from August 2009 showing that Robert Mueller, special counsel leading the investigations into potential Russian interference in the 2016 elections, also played a role in the deal with Russia when he served as FBI director.
The leaked cable states, “Embassy Moscow is requested to alert at the highest appropriate level the Russian Federation that FBI Director Mueller plans to deliver the HEU sample once he arrives to Moscow on September 21.”
Wikileaks noted the cable on Twitter, stating on July 29, “Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller flew to Moscow and gave the FSB 10 grams of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) in 2009.”
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 29, 2017
Grassley also noted during the Oct. 18 hearing that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel, was involved in the Russia uranium scandal as well. Rosenstein supervised the criminal investigation into Russia’s uranium bribery campaign when he was U.S. Attorney in Maryland.
Grassley noted “I don’t think it would be proper” for Rosenstein to supervise an investigation into a case that he was also involved in, and asked Sessions whether he agrees. Sessions replied, “If he feels that he has an inability to proceed with any of this investigation, it would be his responsibility to make that determination.”