Obama Admin Knew Of Russian Plot Before Uranium Deal

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A new report is raising questions about what Obama administration officials knew regarding a Russian plot to increase its atomic energy business inside the U.S. through bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering.

Although the FBI uncovered the plot and began collecting evidence in 2009, the Department of Justice continued its investigation for four years, all while the Obama administration approved a deal that saw Russia gain partial control over America's uranium supply, according to the report by The Hill.

"The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns," an anonymous source told The Hill. "And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions."

The scheme was carried out "with the consent of higher level officials" in Russia, one agent said, according to The Hill.

The uranium deal approved by the Obama administration in 2010 has come under fire in recent years, after the book "Clinton Cash" unveiled how the Clinton Foundation received millions in donations from parties invested in the deal while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. 

As secretary of state, Clinton was a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an inter-agency group that reviews and approves purchases of U.S. companies by foreign companies or individuals. 

It is unclear if the FBI ever told members of the committee about the wrongdoing it had uncovered before the deal was approved.

Most of that wrongdoing was being carried out by Vadim Mikerin, the man in charge of Russia's nuclear ambitions in the U.S., according to The Hill.

In 2015, Mikerin reached a plea deal with the Department of Justice on a single count of money laundering and was sentenced to 48 months in prison and required to pay $2.1 million.

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In the wake of The Hill's report, the Senate Judiciary Committee is launching a new probe into the bribery case, seeking to determine which agencies knew of the FBI's discovery before the uranium deal was approved. 

The committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, has sent letters to each agency with a seat on CFIUS asking what each agency knew at the time the deal was approved. 

"The fact that Rosatom [state owned Russian nuclear company] 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," Grassley wrote, reports The Hill.

Sources: The Hill (2)/ Featured Image: Pete Souza/The White House / Embedded Images: U.S. Department of State/FlickrThe Kremlin

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