Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has asked the attorney of a former FBI informant if her client can testify before the committee about the FBI’s investigation into a bribery scheme by a Russian state-controlled company that was allowed to purchase 20 percent of the United States uranium supply in 2010.
The request, in a letter dated October 18, 2017, asks attorney Victoria Toensing to allow her client to testify about the information he provided to the FBI about members of the Rosatom subsidiary Tenex from 2009 until the FBI’s prosecution of defendants in 2014.
The client is an American businessman who went to the FBI immediately after Russian officials asked him to engage in illegal activity in 2009, according to the Hill, which disclosed the existence of the FBI investigation.
The businessman worked for four years undercover as an FBI confidential witness and signed a non-disclosure agreement that Obama Justice Department officials have threatened him not to break.
According to Toensing, her client has pertinent information that the Russians were attempting to gain access to former President Bill Clinton and his wife, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to influence the Obama administration’s decision on the purchase of Uranium One.
Grassley’s letter reads:
Reporting indicates that “the informant’s work was crucial to the government’s ability to crack a multimillion dollar racketeering scheme by Russian nuclear officials on U.S. soil” and that the scheme involved “bribery, kickbacks, money laundering, and extortion.”
Further, the reporting indicates that your client can testify that “FBI agents made comments to him suggesting political pressure was exerted during the Justice Department probe” and “that there was specific evidence that could have scuttled approval of the Uranium One deal.”
It appears that your client possesses unique information about the Uranium One/Rosatom transaction and how the Justice Department handled the criminal investigation into the Russian criminal conspiracy. Such information is critical to the Committee’s oversight of the Justice Department and its ongoing inquiry into the manner in which CFIUS approved the transaction. Accordingly, the Committee requests to interview your client. Please contact Committee staff by October 25, 2017, to arrange the interview.
Grassley also sent another letter on Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that he release Toensing’s client from the non-disclosure agreement. He wrote in the letter:
These restrictions appear to improperly prevent the individual from making critical, good faith disclosures to Congress of potential wrongdoing. They also purport to limit the Committee’s access to information it needs to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of oversight.
This Committee has oversight jurisdiction of the Justice Department, and if this NDA does in fact exist, it hinders the Committee’s ability to do its job. Accordingly, please provide a copy of the NDA by November 1, 2017. In addition, should the NDA exist, I request that you release him from it and pledge not to engage in any form of retaliation against him for good faith communications with Congress.
Grassley told Sessions on Wednesday that he wants to know why the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved the Rosatom purchase of Uranium One despite the existence of an FBI investigation which could have impacted the approval.
At the time of the Uranium One deal, CFIUS was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
According to Circa, the FBI by 2010 had “gathered enough evidence to prove that Rosatom-connected officials were engaged in a global bribery schedule that included kickbacks and money laundering. Despite that, the U.S. government approved the sale.”
Uranium One controlled 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law, and its sale to Russian company Rosatom required approval by CFIUS, which reviews transactions leading to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the U.S.