Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley asked the attorney of a former FBI informant Wednesday to allow her client to testify before his committee regarding the FBI's investigation regarding kickbacks and bribery by the Russian state controlled nuclear company that was approved to purchase twenty percent of United States uranium supply in 2010, Circa has learned.
In a formal letter, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked Victoria Toensing, the lawyer representing the former FBI informant, to allow her client, who says he worked as a voluntary informant for the FBI, to be allowed to testify about the "crucial" eyewitness testimony he provided to the FBI regarding members of the Russian subsidiary and other connected players from 2009 until the FBI's prosecution of the defendants in 2014.
Toensing's client was an American businessman who says he worked for four years undercover as an FBI confidential witness. Toensing said he was blocked by the Obama Justice Department, under then Attorney General Loretta Lynch, about testifying to Congress about his time as an informant for the FBI. He contends that he has pertinent information that the Russian's were attempting to gain access to former President Bill Clinton and his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to influence the Obama administration's decision on the purchase of Uranium One, Toensing said.
"Reporting indicates that “the informant’s work was crucial to the government’s ability to crack a multimillion dollar racketeering scheme by Russian nuclear officials on U.S. soil” and that the scheme involved “bribery, kickbacks, money laundering, and extortion," Grassley states in his letter. "Further, the reporting indicates that your client can testify that 'FBI agents made comments to him suggesting political pressure was exerted during the Justice Department probe' and 'that there was specific evidence that could have scuttled approval of the Uranium One deal.' 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 added that "such information is critical to the Committee’s oversight of the Justice Department and its ongoing inquiry into the manner in which CFIUS approved the transaction. Accordingly, the Committee requests to interview your client."
Toensing, who formerly worked under the Reagan Justice Department and is the former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said told Circa Tuesday that she was attempting to get Congress to persuade the Trump Justice Department or the FBI to free her client of a non-disclosure agreement he signed with the FBI so that he can talk to lawmakers.
Toensing told Circa, the letter from Grassley is important and "sets up a constitutional issue, the executive branch cannot prevent somebody from giving information to the legislative branch."
"He's truly a patriot, he started this because he cares for his country and he's doing this because he cares for his country," said Toensing of her client.
On Wednesday, Grassley asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the Department of Justice is looking into revelations that the FBI was investigating officials tied to a Russian state-controlled nuclear company after The Hill and Circa published the first stories revealing the information.
“What are you doing to find out how the Russian takeover of the American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by the Russia company that the Obama administration approved the purchase," Grassley said.
Grassley said he wants to know why the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, approved the Rosatom purchase of Uranium One despite the existence of an FBI investigation which could have impacted CFIUS’ approval.
Circa reported Tuesday that 15 months before the 13 members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, approved the sale of Uranium One to Russia’s nuclear arm giant Rosatom, the FBI had already began investigating persons who were connected to the Russian state corporation.
The FBI said in court documents and in interviews conducted by Circa that by 2010 they had gathered enough evidence to prove that Rosatom-connected officials were engaged in a global bribery schedule that included kickbacks and money laundering. Despite that, the U.S. government approved the sale.
FBI officials told Circa the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law. The deal which required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.