Devin Nunes Launches Investigation Into Hillary Clinton's Russian Uranium Deal
On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes announced a new investigation into Hillary Clinton's involvement in a Russian uranium deal under the Obama administration in 2010. "This is just the beginning of this probe," Nunes said in a press conference acknowledging that this deal was struck years ago. "We are not going to jump to any conclusions at this time, but one of the things as you know that we are concerned about is whether or not there was an FBI investigation, was there a DOJ investigation, and if so, why was Congress not informed of the matter."
The announcement comes one week after The Hill reported on an FBI discovery prior to the Obama administration's approval of a 2010 deal handing Russia control over American uranium. The agency reportedly found a trove of documents showing that Russian officials were engaged in bribery and money laundering plans aimed at building "Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business" in the U.S.
According to the Hill report, documents and an eyewitness account claim that Russian nuclear officials directed millions of dollars to the U.S. that was meant to benefit the Clinton Foundation. At the time, Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and she "served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow," the report stated.
Both the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees will be conducting the investigation together. Nunes' Tuesday announcement also comes in the wake of President Trump's tweet last week asserting that the "Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow!"
The investigation has sparked plenty of discussion on Twitter over how the committees choose to spend its time and resources. Nunes' role in it has also set of criticism; in April, he had recused himself from Russia-related investigations due to concerns over his connection to the White House. According to Business Insider, Nunes told reporters on Tuesday to "stop referring" to his recusal in their questions during the press conference.
Some pointed out that the investigation into Russia focused on the wrong party involved, citing the probes into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials in 2016. Many said Nunes' investigation was merely an attempt to interfere with the Trump-Russia investigation.
This connection between the Clinton Foundation and the uranium deal with Russia in 2010 isn't the first time Trump has brought it up. During the campaign, candidate Trump claimed that Secretary Clinton "approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation."
But how much truth is there in that statement? Politifact rated the claim "Mostly False," noting that though the connection seems suspicious, "there was simply no proof of any quid pro quo." Clinton has publicly denied that she was "personally involved" in the deal, and eight other government agencies, on top of the State Department, had given it the green light. While several figures involved in the uranium deal did donate to the Clinton Foundation over the years, Politifact found that Trump's claim was "exaggerated."
Conservative media outlets have called for more coverage of the link between Clinton and the 2010 uranium deal. (Sean Hannity recently fumed that it was "one of the biggest scandals in American history.") And it appears that Republicans are jumping on board the so-called scandal that several fact-checking outlets have labeled as unsubstantiated.
In fact, Snopes.com updated its page debunking the connection to include The Hill's report last week stating that "none of these revelations prove that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in a quid pro quo agreement" accepting payment for the deal.
At the time of writing, Clinton had not yet responded to the probe. It's unclear if she will comment on it at all; House Republicans also announced on Tuesday that they opened an investigation into the FBI's handling of its probe on Hillary Clinton's emails.