The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched a probe into a Russian nuclear bribery case, demanding several federal agencies disclose whether they knew the FBI had uncovered the corruption before the Obama administration in 2010 approved a controversial uranium deal with Moscow.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, gets his first chance to raise the issue in public on Wednesday when he questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions during an oversight hearing.
Aides said the committee had sent requests for information to 10 federal agencies involved in the Russian uranium approvals.
The senator also specifically conveyed in the latest letters he no longer accepts the Obama administration’s assurances from 2015 that there was no basis to block the Uranium One deal.
“I am not convinced by these assurances,” Grassley wrote the Homeland Security Department last week. “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.”
He also questioned whether the documented corruption that was uncovered posed a national security threat that should have voided approval of the uranium deal.
“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,” Grassley wrote in one such letter addressed to Sessions.
“The fact that Rosatom subsidiaries in the United States were under criminal investigation as a result of a U.S. 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 chairman added.
Grassley has been one of the few congressional leaders to have consistently raised questions about the uranium deal, and in 2015 agencies told his committee they had no national security reasons to reject the Moscow approval.
Those representations, however, made no mention of the FBI probe or the national security issues uncovered by agents, including the fact that Russian officials had compromised an American trucking firm that transported uranium….