In New Obama and Clinton Russia Probe, Republican Senators Demand Chat With FBI Informant

Senate Republicans are stepping up their probe into a Russian bribery scheme that the FBI had evidence of before the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton approved a uranium deal that greatly expanded Vladimir Putin's footprint in the U.S.'s nuclear industry.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday night requested permission to interview an undercover informant who helped FBI agents compile evidence of Russia racketeering before the 2010 deal approved by President Barack Obama's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which included then-Secretary of State Clinton.

Department of Justice officials threatened the informant in a lawsuit litigated during November's presidential election when he attempted to disclose some of the findings, forcing him to step back from taking legal action, his lawyer Victoria Toensing told The Hill. The informant, whose identity has not been made public, could not disclose information he gathered over a nearly five-year period because he signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI, according to Toensing.

During his service, the informant collected financial records, made secret recordings and intercepted emails dating back to 2009 that showed that Moscow was involved in bribery and kickbacks with an American uranium trucking company. The CFIUS unanimously agreed to a partial sale of the Canadian mining company Uranium One to Rosatom, a major Russian nuclear company, effectively handing Moscow control of 20 percent of the U.S.'s uranium supply.

Though FBI officials held evidence on the investigation in 2009 and 2010, the Department of Justice waited until 2014 to bring forth charges. In his letter Wednesday night to Toensing, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley expressed concern that the Obama administration agreed to the deal while the FBI had evidence of Russian collusion and corruption, and questioned whether that posed a national security threat.

"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," Grassley stated in the letter obtained by The Hill. "Such information is critical to the Committee's oversight of the Justice Department."

Last week, the Senate committee sent letters to 10 federal agencies involved in the Uranium One deal, requesting information.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week, Grassley wrote he was not convinced of assurances the Obama administration gave in 2015 that no evidence existed suggesting they should block the Uranium One deal.

Like the Obama administration, Clinton has denied knowledge of Russian bribery before the deal. Her husband, Bill Clinton, received millions of dollars from Russian officials while she sat on the CFIUS.