The Obama administration’s most controversial foreign policy deal is coming under federal scrutiny for operating under a backdrop of corruption and backroom dealing.
The Senate Judiciary Committee began a full-fledged probe into the Russian nuclear bribery case in 2010. They’re demanding several federal agencies disclose whether they knew the FBI had found out about the corruption before the Obama administration approved the controversial deal that gave 20 percent of US uranium supplies to Moscow, according to The Hill.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is spearheading the investigation into whether or not Obama was aware of the corruption taking place before he approved the deal.
In 2010, the Obama administration, alongside Clinton’s State Department approved the sale of Uranium One to a Russian conglomerate, a deal that gave a large portion of our nations uranium reserves to the Kremlin.
However, a recent investigation reported by The Hill shows that the FBI, Energy Department, and other agencies were well aware of back-room dealing that was taking place well before the Uranium Deal was agreed upon. Despite bringing these concerns to the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder, they did little to stop the deal and instead conducted a quiet investigation for four years that slid into obscurity.
When Eric Holder did choose to press charges four years later, numerous agents testified that they were well aware of the complex Russian “racketeering scheme” that was taking place concurrent with the deal. One Agent, David Gadren, testified that higher level officials of Rosatom (a Russian state-owned company) were engaged in kickbacks to other executives, including one trucking firm in America. “Mikerin apparently then shared the proceeds with other co-conspirators associated with TENEX in Russia and elsewhere,” he added.
It was this investigative report that Grassley cited as he questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions during an oversight hearing. “According to government documents and recent news reports, the Justice Department had an ongoing criminal investigation for bribery, extortion, money laundering, into officials for a Russian company making purchase of Uranium One,” Grassley said.
He added, “That purchase was approved during [the] previous administration and resulted in Russians owning 20 percent of America’s uranium mining capacity.” He then asked what Sessions would be doing to investigate this scandal further.
The Attorney General responded by saying that some people had already gone to jail resulting from the investigation that concluded in 2014, but concurred with the senator’s sentiments and promised to review those concerns.
Grassley also mentioned in recent letters that he no longer accepts the Obama administration’s assurances from 2015 that there was no basis to block the Uranium One deal. Although having no reason to doubt the administration at the time, the assurance didn’t mention the FBI probe or the corruption findings revealed by agents.
It’s possible the FBI discovered that Russia was trying to bribe US officials before Obama approved the uranium deal. Do you think Obama had knowledge of the bribery before approving the deal?
“I am not convinced by these assurances,” he wrote to the Homeland Security Department recently. “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.”
This is a real Russian corruption story, one that the public should demand more coverage on from the media.