Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ordering the Justice Department to begin probing FBI agents for information about the long dormant Uranium One deal — a topic long cited by right-wing critics as proof of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s corruption.
The questioning is the next step for Sessions after he promised Congress in November that he would investigate the case to see if it’s worth assigning a special counsel, according to NBC News. The Obama-era deal allowed a Canadian based mining company, Uranium One, to be bought by a Russian firm in 2010. The company needed approval from nine agencies for the deal to go through. One of those agencies was the State Department, which Hillary Clinton was leading.
The Uranium One questions have intensified over the past few months as Robert Mueller — in charge of the investigation into any Trump dealings with Russia — has intensified his investigation.
Sessions had previously said he would recuse himself from any investigation involving Clinton, NBC reported, because of his position in the 2016 campaign against her. Justice Department officials said that the probing into the case would be a way for Sessions to go around his pledge.
The deal has been a cause for right-wing media, most notably Sean Hannity, who has been trying to say that the deal was underreported. On Thursday, Hannity complained about NBC's lack of reporting, by pointing to an NBC report.
The backstory of the Uranium One deal was highlighted in 2015 by The New York Times, noting that some people involved in the deal were Clinton Foundation donors. That prompted conservative critics to believe the former secretary of state benefited from the transaction.
Clinton has said that although the State Department had been one of the agencies to approve the deal, she herself had no direct involvement. A State Department official who did have connections to the deal had also confirmed that Clinton didn’t interfere with the approval process.