Justice Department Weighing Special Counsel for Uranium One Dealings

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed senior federal prosecutors to examine whether a special counsel is needed for the Uranium One deal and other issues raised by Republican House Judiciary Committee Republicans.

According to a letter dated November 13 from an assistant attorney general to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA):

These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel. This will better enable the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General to more effectively evaluate and manage the caseload.

The GOP members had previously raised in two letters and during meetings with Sessions issues including the 2010 Uranium One deal and potential corruption by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, and his leaking of memos to prompt a special counsel in the Russia investigation.

A Tweet posted by NBC News Monday stated, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate concerns raised by Republicans, including alleged unlawful dealings by Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company

The letter did not confirm or deny whether the matters were already under investigation, except for an existing inspector general review into Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.

However, just before the letter leaked to media outlets, Circa reported that the Department is already investigating the Uranium One deal and allegations involving the Clinton Foundation, as well as the improper unmaskings of Americans.

The revelations come just a day ahead of Sessions’ appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Circa he was not surprised to hear that the Justice Department was investigating the Uranium One deal, whereby the Obama administration allowed a Canadian company to sell a fifth of the U.S.’s uranium assets to Russia in 2010.

During review of the sale, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow from a Russian bank that was promoting the deal, and the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from investors in the Canadian company, Uranium One, that sold the U.S. assets to the Russian firm.

At the same time, the FBI was investigating a Russian nuclear energy bribery and kickback scheme in the U.S., but barred an FBI witness from speaking to lawmakers about what he knew.

“This country has seen the most powerful and intrusive parts of the mammoth federal government misused and abused as a virtual, political racketeer influenced and corrupt organization,” Gohmert told Circa. “If the current Department of Justice does not investigate the abuses, then self-government as it was once known is gone. We’re finally getting glimpses of the investigations they’ve been doing.”

According to Circa, the Justice Department is also looking into the issue of improper “unmaskings” — or whether Obama officials with access to intelligence requested to reveal the identities of Americans swept up in surveillance.

The intelligence collected during surveillance of foreign targets is supposed to have the names of Americans “masked” or hidden – for legal, moral, and privacy reasons. However, administration officials can request the names be revealed if they say they want to do so in order to understand the communication.

Former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn reportedly has his name unmasked during Obama administration surveillance of Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Bloomberg, in April, found that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice had requested the identities of U.S. persons on “dozens of occasions” that connect to the Trump transition and campaign.

After Rice first said she knew nothing about the unmaskings of Trump campaign officials, she later admitted to doing so, telling lawmakers that she wanted to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year.

Sessions is also expected to answer questions about whether he knew about former Trump campaign advisers who had contacts with Russian nationals.

A Tweet posted by NBC News Monday stated, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate concerns raised by Republicans, including alleged unlawful dealings by Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company.” It included a copy of a letter written by Attorney General Sessions, dated November 13, 2017, addressed to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte.