Senate

Feinstein seeks contact with FBI informant in Russia nuclear bribery case

Camille Fine

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has sought access to an undercover informant who helped the FBI chronicle bribery, kickbacks and money laundering inside Moscow’s nuclear industry as part of an Obama-era Russia corruption case.

Heather Sawyer, the general counsel for Feinstein — the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee — sent an email this week to the lawyer for the former FBI informant, William Campbell, seeking to be included in conversations involving the committee.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, secured an agreement with the Justice Department to allow Campbell to talk to Congress about the evidence he gathered for the FBI from 2009 to 2014 when he worked as a consultant for Tenex, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned commercial nuclear arm Rosatom.

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Campbell’s work led to the indictments of three major players, including Tenex official Vadim Mikerin, a key Russian nuclear figure inside the United States who was sentenced to 48 months in prison in December 2015.
 
Grassley wants to know what the FBI did with the evidence it first gathered in 2009 that Mikerin and others inside the Russian nuclear industry were engaged in illegal activity.
 
The GOP chairman also wants to know whether the Obama administration was alerted to the illegal activity before it approved the sale of U.S. uranium assets to Rosatom and made other favorable decisions worth billions of dollars to Russia’s nuclear industry.
 
“I’m writing to follow-up on the October 18, 2017 letter from Chairman Grassley,” Sawyer wrote Campbell’s attorney, Victoria Toensing.
 
“I understand that you represent someone who may have information of interest to the Committee and that discussions are under way to arrange for a possible interview,” she added. “We would appreciate being looped in on those discussions so that we can address any concerns that might arise.”
 
Toensing signaled in a response back to Feinstein’s staff that she and her client will cooperate, according to an email exchange reviewed by The Hill.
 
Feinstein first showed her interest in the case a few weeks ago in an interview with The Hill where she said she would like to learn more about the FBI case and what happened with the evidence.
 
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats, likewise has said the case may raise legitimate oversight issues for Congress.
 
Some Republicans are pressing the Justice Department to name a special counsel to re-investigate the Mikerin matter. The department already appointed one special counsel in May, Robert Mueller, to probe ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.
 
Republicans have noted that former President Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speech fee and millions in charitable donations from parties interested in the Russia nuclear company during the time his wife Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State.
 
Hillary Clinton has scoffed at those requests, suggesting they are nothing more than a partisan distraction from the current federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
 
Updated on February 19, 2020 at 7:55 a.m.

Disclosure: Victoria Toensing is an attorney who represents John Solomon.

Tags Angus King Bill Clinton Chuck Grassley Chuck Grassley Dianne Feinstein Dianne Feinstein Donald Trump Federal Bureau of Investigation Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Robert Mueller Rosatom Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Victoria Toensing

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