The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into the 2010 Uranium One deal with Russia.
The controversial deal gave Russian company Rosatom control of Canadian mining company Uranium One, which controls 20% of America’s uranium deposits.
The deal required approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a 13-member group responsible for reviewing certain transactions that pose national security risks to the US.
The deal was unanimously approved by CFIUS, whose membership at the time included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
Fifteen months before CFIUS approved sale, the FBI began to investigate Rosatom officials suspected of bribery and racketeering. By 2010, the FBI had gathered enough evidence to prove that Rosatom officials were involved in a global bribery scheme. This information was not revealed until 2014.
In the meantime, the Uranium One deal went through and former President Bill Clinton collected millions in speech fees and charitable donations from Russia and other parties interested in the outcome of the deal.
Now, lawmakers seek to discover who knew about the corruption before the deal was approved. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already sent letters to 10 federal agencies demanding answers and information by October 26th.
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says he does not believe the Obama Administration’s claims that they had no reason to block the uranium deal. “The sale of Uranium One resulted in a Russian government takeover of a significant portion of US 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 US national security.”
“It has recently come to the committee’s attention that employees of Rosatom were involved in a criminal enterprise involving a conspiracy to commit extortion and money laundering during the time of the CFIUS transaction,” wrote Grassley. “The fact that Rosatom subsidiaries in the US were under criminal investigation as a result of a US intelligence operation apparently around the time CFIUS approved the Uranium One/Rosatom transaction raises questions about whether that information factored into CFIUS’ decision to approve the transaction.”
The Justice Department finally moved forward with the prosecution of Rosatom officials in 2014, long after CFIUS had approved the Uranium One deal.
In 2015, former Rosatom official Vadim Mikerin pled guilty to charges of money laundering after the FBI accused him of offering “no-bid contracts to US businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money.” By the end of the year, four defendants were indicted.
Victoria Toensing, a lawyer who is defending an FBI informant involved in the case, insists the Obama Administration knew about the corruption before the uranium deal was signed:
“My client was providing information for a couple years before this really got voted on by CFIUS, and here’s the rub: high-ranking law enforcement officials in the Obama Administration knew that there was corruption in this company and that information about the corruption in this Russian entity never made it to CFIUS, evidently, because CFIUS authorized the purchase in 2010.”
These are the key questions that need to be answered:
• Did anyone inform the CFIUS board about the investigation? If not, why?
• If CFIUS was informed, why did it approve the deal?
• Did President Obama know about the corruption?
• What role did the Clinton Foundation have in the Uranium One deal?
The CIA, the US Department of Energy, and the State Department were all involved in their own investigations regarding Rosatom. The end results of those investigations are unclear, but “one thing is for certain,” said one official who was not authorized to speak on the matter. “Other agencies must have known what was going on but more importantly, did the CFIUS members?”
Editor’s note: The Clintons helped give away a dangerous treasure here, no doubt in my mind they were well compensated.