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Senate Judiciary Committee Launches Probe Into Uranium One Bribery Case, DOJ to Review

Sen. Charles Grassley questions AG Jeff Sessions

The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into the Uranium One bribery case. It will be asking several federal agencies to disclose if they knew the FBI had uncovered corruption before the Obama administration approved the suspect uranium deal with Moscow in 2010.

According to The Hill, the committee has already "sent requests for information to 10 federal agencies involved in the Russian uranium approvals."

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chairman, wrote in the letters that he no longer buys the Obama administration's 2015 "assurances" that there was no basis to block the deal.

Said Grassley in a letter to Homeland Security last week:

I am not convinced by these assurances. ... 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.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice will be reviewing the case before deciding whether to launch a probe, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Grassley raised the issue when he questioned Sessions during an oversight hearing Wednesday morning.

Answered Sessions:

We will hear your concerns. The Department of Justice will take such actions as is appropriate. ... I would offer that some people have gone to jail in that transaction already, but the article talks about other issues. ... Without confirming or denying the existence of any particular investigation, I would say I hear your concerns, and they will be reviewed.

Grassley then brought up a potential conflict of interest in the case involving the deputy attorney general:

I think I know why you're probably reluctant to go into some detail on that, but I'd like to remind you that Deputy Attorney Rosenstein directly supervised the criminal case when he was U.S. attorney in Maryland. I don't think it would be proper for him to supervise a review of his own conduct. Do you?

Answered Sessions:

It would be his decision. He is a man of integrity and ability. If he feels that he has an inability to proceed with any ... investigation, it would be his responsibility to make that determination and he should consult -- as I told you I would, and as I have done -- with the senior ethics people at the department.

Grassley:

Reports suggest that the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from interested parties in the transaction. Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow, June 2010, from a Russian government-aligned bank. This fact pattern raises serious concerns about the improper political influence on the process by ... the Clintons during the Obama administration. 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?