Democrats say a whistleblower who has been a key component of a Republican-led investigation that’s targeted Hillary Clinton’s role in the approval a uranium sale to a Russian state energy company provided Congress with no evidence of wrongdoing involving Clinton, President Bill Clinton or the Clinton Foundation.
And they say the Justice Department confirmed to Congress that the whistleblower, William Campbell, was an FBI informant who had credibility issues as a witness that ultimately led the DOJ to pursue other charges in a corruption case against a Russian energy official.
Campbell was interviewed last month by staff of the House Intelligence, House Oversight and Senate Judiciary Committees over what he knew about Russian influence in the Obama administration’s decision to approve the 2010 sale of Canadian uranium mining company Uranium One to Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom.
The deal had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a committee that comprises representatives from several US government agencies, including the State Department, which at the time was led by Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic pushback against the whistleblower, which was released Thursday in a memo summarizing Campbell’s interview, is the most aggressive attempt yet by Democrats to undercut the Republican allegations of wrongdoing in the Uranium One case. Democrats made some similar claims in a letter last month from Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Adam Schiff to two GOP chairmen of those committees and requested a transcribed interview with Campbell.
A spokeswoman for House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy said that the committee’s investigation into Uranium One was focused on what the FBI knew when the deal was approved and improving the inter-agency process for greenlighting similar mergers in the future.
“We appreciate Mr. Campbell’s service to our country and his willingness to appear before the Committee to answer questions related to our core investigative mission: to determine what the FBI did or did not know at the time CFIUS approved the Uranium One deal, and how we can improve the CFIUS process and agency coordination moving forward,” the spokeswoman Amanda Gonzalez said in a statement.
President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have alleged that Rosatom donated to the Clinton Foundation in an effort to sway Clinton to sign off on the deal. Those allegations are unproven, although the Justice Department has said it’s reviewing whether to appoint another special counsel to probe the matter, as many Republicans have demanded.
Democrats and Clinton say the allegations are false and an attempt to distract from the Russia investigation.
Three congressional committees — House Intelligence, House Oversight and Senate Judiciary — are investigating the Uranium One case, and their staffs interviewed Campbell last month. The Democratic committee staffs released the joint summary of Campbell’s four-hour interview on Thursday, as well as a summary of Justice Department briefings on the matter.
The memo said that Justice Department officials confirmed Campbell had “serious credibility concerns” when he was an FBI informant in the 2015 case against Vadim Mikerin, a Russian energy official who worked for a Rosatom subsidiary, Tenex. Campbell’s company had been hired by Tenex, and he provided the FBI with evidence of a kickback extortion scheme.
But Justice Department officials told Congress they had concluded that inconsistencies between Campbell’s statements and documents in the FBI’s investigation led the Justice Department to pursue other charges against Mikerin.
“Justice Department officials stated that it was a ‘godsend’ that they had another avenue to charge Mr. Mikerin that relied on evidence other than this individual’s testimony,” the Democratic memo stated.
The Democrats also said that in Campbell’s interview, he “identified no evidence that Secretary Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton or anyone from the Obama administration took any actions as a result of Russian requests or influence.”
The Democratic memo stated that Campbell did not back up Republican claims of a quid pro quo. He did not, for instance, recall anyone mentioning a $500,000 speaking fee for Bill Clinton in Moscow, one issue that Republicans have raised about the Uranium One matter.
Campbell stated that Tenex officials had bragged about “influence from Moscow” over the Clintons, but he did not tell the FBI about any statements involving attempts to influence the Clintons, according to the memo.