US Republicans launch new probes targeting Clinton, Obama

KONFRONTASI - Republican lawmakers in the US Congress have launched new investigations targeting former Democratic President Barack Obama and her secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

The lawmakers announced two new probes on Tuesday - one included the FBI investigation of Clinton's alleged misuse of a personal email server and the other was an Obama-era deal in which a Russian company bought a Canadian firm that owned some 20 percent of US uranium stockpiles.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said in a statement that the probes addressed "outstanding questions" about why former FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed the bureau's investigation of Clinton but never disclosed one into then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's associates in the election race last year.

"The law is the most equalizing force in this country. No entity or individual is exempt from oversight,” the two lawmakers said, stressing that Republicans cannot be the only targets of investigations.

Comey led the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server to exchange thousands of potentially confidential emails during her tenure as secretary of state, a clear violation of security protocols.

The probe overshadowed Clinton’s campaign and gave Trump an effective opportunity to question the former first lady’s competence to run the country.

This photo taken on June 8, 2017 shows former FBI Director James Comey as he is sworn in during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The former FBI chief dropped all charges against Clinton shortly before the Election Day on November 8.

After the election, he began investigating President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia as well as a series of cyber attacks against Clinton’s campaign, which Democrats claimed were conducted by Russian hackers.

Trump fired Comey as he was busy heading the investigation into his alleged ties with the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign and transition.

Uranium deal

Former US President Barack Obama (R) gestures to Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam during a campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia October 19, 2017.  (Photo by AFP)

Goodlatte and Gowdy on Tuesday also questioned a 2013 decision by the Obama administration to approve the sale of a Canadian mining company Uranium One to Russian state-owned company Rosatom.

The move was prompted after reports emerged last week that the FBI had been investigating the deal in 2013 as part of an effort by Moscow to gain influence in the US nuclear industry, in part by paying bribes.

The probe was announced after Trump repeatedly tweeted about the case last week, noting "Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow!"

The diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington turned sour in the late 2016, when the then US administration expelled a number of Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the US presidential election. Russia has firmly dismissed the allegations.

In July 2017, the US Congress imposed new sanctions on Russia. The move prompted Moscow to reduce US diplomatic personnel numbers in Russia to 455.[ptv]