Russia Uranium Investigation: Justice Department Looks Into Hillary Clinton Role in Kremlin Scheme

Jeff Sessions
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., on July 20. Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Hillary Clinton may find herself under the magnifying glass of justice. Again.

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate whether a deal made by the Obama administration with a Russian energy company involved "unlawful dealings related to the Clinton Foundation," according to a letter issued by the Office of the Assistant Attorney General. The decision is a response to July 27 and September 26 requests by Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

According to a New York Times report, the Department told Congress that senior prosecutors were contemplating the creation of a special counsel to investigate any misconduct at the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration's 2010 decision to allow a Russian nuclear energy company to gain control of a substantial portion of U.S. uranium, at a time when Clinton was secretary of state.

The announcement comes 10 days after President Donald Trump expressed his frustration with the Department for not leading an investigation into Clinton and other Democrats, according to the Times. The decision raises concerns about Trump's attempt to influence the Department and take attention away from the special counsel's investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has repeatedly asked why Robert Mueller was not investigating the Uranium One case, the Times reported.

Sessions's move leaves an open door for a probe. "The Department does not ordinarily confirm or deny investigations, and this letter should not be construed to do so," the letter states. "While this policy can be frustrating, especially on matters of great public concern, it is necessary to ensure that the Department acts with fairness and thoughtfulness."

The decision occurs on the eve of Sessions's testimony before the committee Goodlatte presides, Fox News reported. The attorney general's appearance is part of the committee's probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, The Hill reported last week. Democrats are interested to learn more about Sessions's ties to former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos, The Hill noted.

Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during the 18th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea, on October 18. During a discussion about sexism on The Washington Post’s “Cape Up” podcast, host Jonathan Capehart mentioned Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, in a string of men who have faced grave accusations. YONHAP VIA REUTERS

Critics of the Obama administration call the Uranium One deal a Russian bribery scheme to become a player in the U.S. nuclear industry, and the FBI said it uncovered substantial evidence of racketeering by Russian officials before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian mining company, to Russia's nuclear company Rosatom in 2010.

Clinton served on that committee when it greenlit the deal. She could have objected, but she did not. The FBI knew that Russians were involved in a kickback scheme before the deal was signed, but did not inform the Obama administration, which has raised flags for Republicans.

The Times reported in 2015 that the Clinton Foundation had received millions in donations from investors in Uranium One. The donations from those with ties to Uranium One weren't publicly disclosed by the Clinton Foundation.