Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) began warning way back in 2010 that there was something amiss about the Uranium One deal approved by President Barack Obama. His concerns were largely ignored and his requests for information were stonewalled by the previous administration. But now that it’s clear that the Obama administration was aware of potential conflicts with the deal, Barrasso is asking the Trump administration for help.
Barrasso first became concerned about the deal Obama inked because it handed over control of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply to the Russians. His state holds the majority of the country’s uranium reserves.
In a 2010 letter to President Obama, Barrasso expressed concern that the deal would have serious implications for American national security.
“As you know, Russia has a disturbing record of supporting nuclear programs in countries that are openly hostile to the United States,” the senator wrote. “This record is at great odds with our own national security.”
The Obama administration brushed off the concern and subsequent attempts to attain information regarding the deal went nowhere.
The Hill on Tuesday published a report blowing the top off a political scandal involving Russia, Bill and Hillary Clinton and a handful of former Obama administration officials now involved in the ongoing Russian collusion investigation against President Trump.
The report revealed that the Uranium One deal was signed by the previous president amid pretty damning evidence of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for foreign officials to offer personal payments and kickbacks to U.S. policymakers.
According to The Hill’s review of FBI sources, the government was aware that Russian “nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States…” at the time the agreement was signed.
From The Hill’s report:
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. 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.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
In other words, that provides a pretty substantial motive for the Obama administration to have stonewalled congressional oversight on the matter.
Barrasso is now revisiting his investigation.
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week, the senator wrote: “Recent reports indicate that, prior to … approval of the Russian-Uranium One deal, the Department of Justice possessed substantial evidence that Russian officials engaged in bribery kickbacks, and other criminal conducts to expand Russia’s nuclear energy business in the United States.”
He wants Sessions to turn over to Congress any information the Justice Department has regarding the investigation into the deal along with details about how Justice officials went about warning policymakers of potential corruption.
Besides The Hill, the Capitol newspaper that broke the latest information regarding the budding scandal, the national media has largely ignored the Russian uranium scandal this week. But pretty soon, it’s likely that even the most Clinton-friendly outlets are going to be forced to acknowledge what’s happening.