- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The House intelligence and oversight committees will investigate the circumstances surrounding a 2010 Obama administration deal that allowed a Kremlin-backed company to gain control of a huge chunk of America’s uranium supply.

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announced the probe Tuesday and said lawmakers hope to get to the bottom of whether U.S. authorities were investigating Russia’s atomic energy giant Rosatom at the time the U.S. government signed off on the deal.

“One of the things we are concerned about is whether or not there was an FBI investigation, was there a DOJ investigation and if so, why was Congress not informed of this matter?” Mr. Nunes said.

Other congressional committees have already sought to learn more about the deal, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley last week calling on the Justice Department to lift a nondisclosure agreement that he said prevented a former FBI confidential informant from speaking to Congress about the handling of a criminal probe linked to the uranium deal.

Rep. Ronald DeSantis, a member of the House Oversight Committee, confirmed Tuesday that a confidential informant is trying to speak with his committee about the matter and that the committee is working with the Justice Department to try and release him from the nondisclosure agreement.

President Trump has previously sought to link Hillary Clinton to the uranium deal, in which the State Department and eight other U.S. agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to Rosatom. Democrats contend Mr. Trump and his allies are seeking to deflect from the Russian meddling probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mrs. Clinton told C-SPAN on Monday that the uranium story is “the same baloney they’ve been peddling for years, and there’s been no credible evidence by anyone.”

“In fact,” she added, “it’s been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked.”

Mr. Nunes said the investigation announced Tuesday is separate from an ongoing intelligence committee probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign.

But he added that intelligence committee has been looking into the circumstances of the uranium deal “for awhile now” and the investigation was not being driving by the White House, nor had he talked to anyone at the White House about the probe.

Rep. Peter King, the former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, joined the lawmakers Tuesday to discuss concerns he had raised about the deal with the treasury secretary in 2010.

“There were very, very real concerns about why we would allow a Russian-owned company to get access to 20 percent of America’s uranium supply,” Mr. King, New York Republican said. “It is important to find out why the deal went through.”

Mr. Nunes said he believes anyone potential whistleblowers with information about the deal should be able to speak with the committees.

“We think that any American if they have information, even if it’s top secret, they can come to the House Intelligence Committee and provide that information as a whistleblower if they would like,” he said. “We are very interested in talking to any individuals and any agencies that might have this information.”

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