An FBI investigation was dormant until Thursday when it was revealed that the Justice Department may re-examine the Uranium One deal that was approved by the federal government and under authority of Hillary Clinton while she served as Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed prosecutors to require the FBI to explain evidence about the sale that was uncovered by the agency.

According to NBC News, FBI agents are also being asked if there was any improper effort to sideline prosecution. In 2010, Uranium One was sold in 2010 to a Russian firm. Before the sale could go through, the sale of the Canadian company needed approval from nine U.S. agencies, including the State Department, because it owned substantial holdings in the U.S. Some of the persons benefiting from the sale were also donors to the Clinton Foundation, which is controlled by Hillary and Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton was not directly involved with the sale, according to reports, but was represented by proxy on a panel of the government agencies.

In November, Sessions said he may appoint a new special counsel to look into Clinton and Uranium One. During his confirmation hearings last year, Sessions recused himself from investigations involving Clinton, thus necessitating a special counsel.

In April 2015, the New York Times reported that some of the individuals involved in the Uranium One deal had contributed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Another issue that has stirred rumord is that Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for speech he delivered in Moscow for a Russian investment bank with links to the transaction.

Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd wrote a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, that said that DOJ lawyers will recommend whether an investigation should be opened or expanded, or whether a special counsel should be appointed. to probe a Uranium One and other issues. In October, the House intelligence and oversight committees announced a joint investigation into the Uranium One sale.

In June 2010, Uranium One announced its agreement to sell a majority stake to Rosatom, the official Russian nuclear energy agency. The two licensed mining operations owned by Uranium One in Wyoming amounted to about 20 percent of all uranium production in the U.S, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is because enriched uranium is used in nuclear weapons that the Uranium One deal required a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investments, which is chaired by the Secretary of State and is constituted by several departments of the federal government, including Treasury and Energy.

Among the issues before any future investigation is that Uranium One's Canadian chairman, Ian Telfer, made four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. The contributions were not publicly disclosed by the foundation despite promise to publicly identify all donors. Later, the foundation claimed it made a mistake. Besides Telfer, there were others associated with Uranium One who in turn made donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Despite objections by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and the American ambassador to Kazakhstan that Rosatom was acting on behalf of Russia’s military in purchasing Uranium One, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved the deal by a unanimous vote. Despite being a member of CFIUS, Hillary Clinton has said she was not involved in deliberations over Uranium One.

Additionally, Jose Fernandez, a former assistant secretary of state, told the New York Times that he represented the State Department on the committee, and said that "Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any C.F.I.U.S. matter." Another Clinton spokesman claimed that concerns over the sale were orchestrated as a distraction by Trump’s supporters.

An early Clinton connection

Prospects for Uranium One were improved once it absorbed UrAsia, a company run and co-owned by Frank Giustra, which was bidding for uranium rights in Kazakhstan. In 2005, after Giustra started the deal, he Bill Clinton flew to Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, on separate planes to meet the country's president. Soon afterwards, UrAsia had made deals for mining uranium in the Central Asian country. Over the next two years, UrAsia’s shares increased in value by 70 times. In 2007, Uranium One absorbed UrAsia. Giustra, a Canadian, claims that he sold his shares in Uranium One then and left the company. This was three years before the sale of Uranium One to the Russians that was approved by the Obama administration. Giustra continues to be associated with the Clintons, having donated more than $100 million to the Clinton Foundation and sitting on the foundation's board.



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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