Late Wednesday, Trump’s Justice Department lifted an Obama-era gag order on the FBI’s Russia Uranium Deal informant during 2009-2010. While the FBI investigated the ongoing bribery and manipulation that Russia was engaged in, this key witness was at the center of affairs.
The move that comes amid the renewed Congressional scrutiny of the Obama administration’s approval of a deal to allow a Russian, state-owned energy company, Roastam, to purchase the US company “Uranium One,” which controls 20% of the United States’ Uranium mines.
Last week, three different Congressional Committees announced investigations into the deal, and into the level of involvement that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had in pushing the deal. This is an especially important question, because multiple millions of Russia-linked donations were funneled into the Clinton Foundation at this time.
“As of tonight, the Department of Justice has authorized the information to disclose to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as one member of each of their staffs, any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market,” announce Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department.
Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, also wants to know what roles other senior Obama Administration officials played in pushing the deal, and to what extent the FBI knew (or has since uncovered) that they were being bribed and manipulated by Russian agents.
Earlier this week, Clinton spoke on the brewing storm, calling the push to investigate the Crooked Uranium Deal utter “baloney,” and conjectured that this was merely a distraction to avert attention away from investigations on possible collusion between Trump and the Russians in the 2016 election.
Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the most powerful committee in the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, was among the first member of Congress to press the Justice Department for information about the Uranium One deal, demanding that his former colleague, Attorney General Jeff Sessions investigate further, and provide his committee with all possible information.
Grassley had also asked Sessions to lift the non-disclosure agreement on the said FBI informant so that he could speak freely to Congress about the information that he had discovered while he was helping the FBI to uncover the bribery scheme. The informant, through his attorney Victoria Toensing, said that the Obama Justice Department coerced him into signing an agreement, ordering him not to speak to any lawmakers about what he knew, under threat of prosecution.