Republicans launch two new probes targeting Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama

Former US president Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in July 2016. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republican lawmakers on Tuesday (Oct 24) added to the already copious investigations swamping the US capital, announcing two new probes targeting Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Democrats quickly accused them of creating a "massive diversion" to distract from President Donald Trump's troubles.

One of the new probes is demanding more clarity on how the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice decided during the height of last year's White House race to not pursue charges against Clinton over her alleged misuse of a personal e-mail server.

A second probe targets 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 gave Rosatom control of 20 per cent of US uranium stockpiles, and was decided after Uranium One made several donations to the Clinton Foundation of former president Bill Clinton.

The probes, involving the House Judiciary, Oversight and Intelligence Committees, came as Republicans and President Donald Trump weather increasing pressure from the multiple investigations into how Russia may have aided Trump's presidential campaign last year.

Announcing the Clinton-FBI probe, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, both Republicans, stressed that Republicans cannot be the only targets of investigations.

"The law is the most equalizing force in this country. No entity or individual is exempt from oversight," Goodlatte and Gowdy said in a statement.


Minutes later, Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a prominent Trump defender, announced an examination of the uranium story.

The move came after a news article revealed last week that the FBI had been investigating the Uranium One-Rosatom deal in 2013 as part of an effort by Moscow to gain influence in the US nuclear industry, in part by paying bribes.

Nunes said he wants to find out why Congress was not informed about any FBI investigation into the matter.

Nunes is an avid defender of Trump and was stripped of his lead role in the House Intelligence Committee's Russian interference investigation earlier this year for politicising it.

He announced the new probe on Tuesday after Trump repeatedly tweeted about the case.

"Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow!" Trump tweeted last Thursday.

Democrats, meanwhile, blasted Republicans for trying to distract attention and resources from the investigations into Russian election interference.

"This new investigation is a massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump administration and the national security threat that Russia poses," said Democratic Representatives Elijah Cummings and John Conyers in a statement.

"Ten months into the Trump administration and House Republicans still have not held a single substantive oversight hearing on clear abuses by the President or his top aides."

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