(CNSNews.com) -- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announced today that his committe and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are investigating the Obama administration's handling of the partial sale of a uranium company to a Russian-state firm, Rosatom, which gave Russia (and President Vladimir Putin) control over 20% of U.S. uranium production.
That sale is also controversial because an ongoing FBI investigation at the time, in 2009-2010, exposed a bribery and kickback conspiracy involving a subsidiary of Rosatom in the United States.
Further, there is an FBI informant involved who was forced to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) by Obama's DOJ but who wants to speak with Congress about the case and, reportedly, about other information on how Russian operatives allegedly influenced the Obama administration to approve the 2010 sale and who were allegedly involved in making multi-million-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation.
“What we’re here today to announce is an inquiry into Russia’s involvement in the uranium deal that was done several years ago," said Chairman Nunes at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. "This is just the beginning of this probe. We’re not going to jump to any conclusions at this time."
"One of the things we’re concerned about is whether or not there was an FBI investigation," said Nunes. "Was there a DOJ investigation? And, if so, why was Congress not informed of this matter? That will be the start of the probe."
One of the main points in contention is whether the FBI in 2009-2010, headed by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, informed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) about the FBI's investigation of the Rosatom sibsidiary.
The CFIUS was responsible for approving the sale of the Toronto-based Uranium One to Russia's Rosatom. From the sale, Rosatom reportedly obtained a 51% stake in Uranium One. In 2013, Russia assumed 100% of Uranium One and renamed it Uranium One Holding.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, said, “We do have a witness who was a confidential informant, who wants to talk about his role in this, and we’re in contact with the Justice Department to release him from a Non-Disclosure Agreement. If that doesn’t work out in a timely fashion, then we obviously would be able to subpoena him."
The informant, according to his lawyer Victoria Toensing, was warned by the Obama administration's DOJ that if he broke the NDA, he would "lose his liberty." Her client witnessed "a lot of bribery going on around the U.S.," Toensing told The Hill. "The Obama administration threatened him with loss of freedom. They said they would bring a criminal case against him for violating the NDA."
Also speaking at the press conference today was Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He said, “Back in October 2010, I was the ranking member on the Homeland Security [Committee] – I myself and three other ranking members sent a letter to the Treasury Department raising very real concerns about why we would allow a Russian-owned company to get access to 20% of America’s uranium supply."
"This was brought to the highest levels of the Obama administration, including the Treasury secretary," said King. "So it’s important we find out why that deal went through. And certainly, in view of recent allegations that have been made, certain questions raised, it’s essential that this inquiry move forward."
Nine investors in Uranium One gave $145 million to the Clinton Foundation prior to, during, and after the 2010 sale to Rosatom was approved by CFIUS. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a member of CFIUS, as was Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Securuty Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The FBI director at the time was Robert Mueller, who is now the Special Counsel investigating the Trump campaign for alleged collussion with Russia.