House Republicans Retaliate to Trump Russia Probe; Launch Two Probes Into Obama Administration.
(Politico) Two more Republican-led congressional committees will probe the Obama administration’s decision to approve the sale of American uranium production capability to a Russian state-run energy conglomerate, a key GOP lawmaker announced Tuesday.
Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he’d be linking up with the House Oversight panel led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). The Senate Judiciary Committee has already said it would investigate the uranium deal.
The announcement Tuesday is sure to infuriate Democrats, who have generally dismissed the issue as an attempt to distract from the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It comes on the same day President Donald Trump is slated to visit the Capitol to meet with Senate Republicans and as leaders of the Russian election-meddling probes have signaled the end of those investigations may be nearing.
Nunes’ announcement follows reports in recent days suggesting the sale of uranium production facilities to the Russian-run Rosatom came amid a broader bribery plot by Russian officials to gain a foothold in the American energy industry while President Barack Obama was in office.
Republicans have seized on the issue to try to deflect scrutiny over Russia’s actions after Democrats have spent months scouring for connections between Trump and the Kremlin. The election-meddling probes, including into whether Moscow had help from any Trump associates, have been a nonstop distraction for the White House and sent Trump into bouts of Twitter rage.
The Obama-era uranium deal was a source of Republican criticism during the 2016 campaign. Republicans latched onto reports showing that one of the parties to the uranium sale was a Clinton Foundation donor. The State Department had a role in approving the deal while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, though there’s no evidence she was personally involved.
Nunes remains head of the intelligence panel even though he stepped aside from the Russia probe in April after he raised eyebrows by unexpectedly visiting the White House to brief the president on early findings of the investigation. Democrats claimed his actions compromised the probe at a sensitive juncture.