Congressional investigators make first evidence requests in Russia nuclear bribery case

Congressional investigators make first evidence requests in Russia nuclear bribery case
© Getty

Republican House and Senate investigators on Wednesday launched their effort to secure evidence from federal agencies about an Obama-era Russian corruption case as lawmakers prepare to interview a former undercover informant who helped the FBI chronicle bribery, kickbacks and money laundering inside Moscow's nuclear industry.

In letters to the FBI, Justice Department, Treasury Department and intelligence agencies, the congressional investigators demanded to know whether the evidence the FBI gathered starting in 2009 against figures inside Rosatom was circulated to government agencies before the Obama administration made a series of favorable decisions between 2010 and 2012 benefitting the Russian nuclear firm.
 
One of those decisions included the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approval of a sale of the Uranium One firm with large U.S. assets to Rosatom, while others opened the door for Rosatom's Tenex arm to win lucrative commercial nuclear fuel contracts. 
 
The favorable decisions occurred even as the FBI captured widespread evidence that Tenex official Vadim Mikerin and others were carrying out a racketeering scheme. Three individuals, including Mikerin, eventually pleaded guilty to various crimes.
 
"It is unclear to the Committees whether the FBI alerted the other members of the CFIUS about the investigation into Russia's effort to obtain control of the U.S. uranium market," a letter from the House Intelligence and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees read. 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
The letters, signed by Republican committee chairmen Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes says he won't meet with DOJ officials until they hand over documents DOJ asks watchdog to probe Trump campaign surveillance claims Scalise: FBI needs to stop ‘running around on witch hunts’ MORE (R-Calif.) and Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyNunes says he won't meet with DOJ officials until they hand over documents Scalise: FBI needs to stop ‘running around on witch hunts’ Talk of unproven FBI 'plant' in Trump campaign circulates among Republicans MORE (R-S.C.), as well as subcommittee chairmen Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisDivisions deepen as Mueller probe hits one year House conservatives ask Trump to intervene in fight with DOJ over documents GOP Florida gov candidate: I was wrong and Obama was right on Ebola response MORE (R-Fla.), and Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingDemocratic overreach is key to rising Republican prospects in November FEC allows candidate to use campaign funds for child care Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE (R-N.Y), demanded the agencies turn over a wide swath of documents.
 
Separately, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThis week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure Kennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive How House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe MORE (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding that the FBI and Justice Department retain all documents in the Russia investigation for review by the committee.
 
"In light of the fact that the confidential informant is now cleared to speak with Congress, please preserve all records relating to his involvement with the Department as an informant and the resulting criminal cases," Grassley wrote.