The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday called in a Tweet for someone in the Department of Justice to name a special prosecutor to look into the Uranium One scandal.
Whoever in DOJ is capable w authority to appoint a special counsel shld do so to investigate Uranium One "whoever" means if u aren't recused
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) October 25, 2017
The Tweet follows up on Senator Grassley‘s own call Thursday to have the Justice Department to lift the non-disclosure agreement preventing a former FBI confidential informant from speaking to Congress about the handling of a criminal probe linked to a controversial deal that ceded ownership of U.S. uranium assets to the Russian government.
Despite an ongoing criminal investigation into officials working for subsidiaries of Rosatom, the Russian government entity seeking to acquire ownership of U.S. uranium, the Obama Administration approved the deal, he said.
The Justice Department has reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he discloses details of his involvement in the investigation,” he said.
“The Executive Branch does not have the authority to use non-disclosure agreements to avoid congressional scrutiny,” he said.
“If the FBI is allowed to contract itself out of congressional oversight, it would seriously undermine our constitutional system of checks and balances,” he said.
The Justice Department needs to work with the Committee to ensure that witnesses are free to speak without fear, intimidation or retaliation from law enforcement. Witnesses who want to talk to Congress should not be gagged and threatened with prosecution for talking. If that has happened, senior DOJ leadership needs to fix it and release the witness from the gag order,” Grassley said.
Grassley was responding to news reports that a U.S. businessman-turned-confidential informant documented bribes, extortion and money laundering by Russian entities that were attempting to secure U.S. government approval of a deal to acquire Uranium One. Uranium One at the time was said to have the rights to 20 percent of American uranium assets at the time.
The media reports said that the informant has information regarding payments made by Russian executives to a U.S. entity that supported the Clinton Foundation, controlled by President William J. Clinton.
Despite the informant’s detailed reports to the FBI and an ongoing criminal investigation, the Obama administration and the Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton approved the sale of controlling interest in Uranium One by the Russian company Rosatom.
Grassley has long had the reputation as the guardian of whistleblowers. In early 2011, insiders aware of the both President Barack Obama’s Fast and Furious Mexican gunrunning program and that one of the weapons from the Fast and Furious program killed Border Patrol agent Brian Terry reached out to Grassley first. Because Grassley was not a committee chairman, since the Senate was controlled by the Democrats, the senator reached out himself to Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.). That is why it was Issa and his committee that issued the subpoenas and conducted hearings on that scandal, not Grassley.
The Judiciary Committee chairman also requested that several federal agencies involved in approving the Uranium acquisition if they had any knowledge of the ongoing criminal investigation and all communications relating to donations made to the Clinton Foundation by interested parties in the transaction, including the Justice and State departments.
The chairman also demanded information about any non-disclosure agreements related to the Uranium One deal.
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House Republicans Hoping to Get Americans Back to Work By End of April
It’s a aspiration, not a plan.
House Republicans are considering plans that would help Americans get back to work by the end of the month. Kevin Brady of Texas told reporters on a conference call that the caucus is preparing preliminary plans that phase the workforce back in at the end of April.
“Our focus is on locking down the virus while we’re taking the steps now to prepare to reopen the economy by the end of the month if the virus permits.”
Brady was careful to qualify that there’s no guarantee the public health situation in the United States would allow such a development.
“I think we should all expect the jobs, the unemployment in the GDP numbers to feel brutal over the short term. It’s because they are. This economy is taking hits like we’ve not seen in most of our lifetimes. But it is just a short-term hit.”
Initial social distancing guidelines set forth by the White House in conjunction with the CDC were extended from two weeks to April 30th earlier in the week, suggesting the executive branch may be cautiously looking towards the end of April to begin phasing out the unprecedented disruptions to everyday American life.
It is worth noting that an early cease to social distancing and commonsense measures to deter the spread of the Chinese coronavirus could prove to be even more harmful than the negative impacts to the economy since the beginning of the virus-related recession. This can’t be rushed. But the consequences of the economic damage are real, and all Americans should look to get everyday economic life up and running against as soon as possible.
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