The House Oversight committee has started looking into an Obama-era deal in which a Russian-backed company bought a uranium firm with mines in the U.S., Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Sunday, adding that he’s spoken with the federal government’s “confidential informant” on the matter.
The uranium agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and some investors in the Russian-backed company, Uranium One, had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated to the Clinton Foundation.
“I’ve spoken with the confidential informant that helped the FBI uncover this bribery scheme,” DeSantis, R-Fla., a member of the oversight committee, told “America’s News Headquarters.” “Clearly, it’s in the public’s interest that this individual be able to tell his story to Congress.”
When asked by Fox News if a criminal investigation would be coming, DeSantis responded: “It could be criminal.” He cited statutes of limitations that may limit prosecutions of any crimes that may arise from the 2010 deal.
The Senate Judiciary Committee last week said it started an investigation into the matter, including whether federal agencies knew the FBI was looking into possible corruption before the deal was approved.
In addition, Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley, the committee chairman, has requested the Justice Department lift a non-disclosure agreement that a former FBI confidential informant said prevents him from speaking to Congress about the handling of a criminal probe linked to the deal.
Grassley said the Justice Department had threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation.
DeSantis said Sunday the informant to whom he spoke signed his original non-disclosure deal with Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder and was “threatened with reprisal” by the Justice Department under Attorney General Loretta Lynch when he tried to “come forward” in 2016.
DeSantis also said he has spoken with the informant’s attorney, but it’s unclear whether the informant is the same one to whom Grassley has referred.
The House Oversight Committee doesn’t appear to have announced officially that it has opened a probe or more formal investigation. Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., could not be reached Sunday for comment.
“I have spoken with Chairman Gowdy. He believes that this is an important issue and he has indicated to me that he is supportive of what we are doing. So, I think you are going to see action,” DeSantis added.
The Senate committee launched its probe after the series of Hill stories, which showed the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear officials were involved in fraudulent dealings in 2009 before the uranium deal was approved.