WASHINGTON (AP) — A GOP political consultant and one of President Donald Trump’s harshest Republican critics has backed out of a six-figure agreement to lobby against potential U.S. sanctions on Russia’s nuclear energy industry.
John Weaver said in comments on his Twitter page Thursday that his decision to work for the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian uranium services company was a “mistake” because it could distract him from “playing any role” to ensure Trump serves only one term.
Weaver is a strategist for John Kasich, Ohio’s former Republican governor. Kasich has contemplated a primary challenge against Trump.
“I must reject this agreement,” Weaver wrote. “No funds were transferred, no actions taken. Now, I’ve got to get back to the barricades. Apologies for the momentary distraction.”
A foreign agent registration statement posted Wednesday on the Justice Department’s website showed Weaver was to be paid $350,000 through October to represent the Tenam Corporation on a range of issues that may include any restrictions on nuclear energy trade with Russia.
Tenam’s parent company is Tenex, which in turn is owned by Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy agency Rosatom.
The Commerce Department has been investigating the impact of uranium imports on U.S. national security. American mining companies have argued that the U.S. uranium industry has been decimated by imports from Russia, China and other countries.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last year that the United States produces just 5 percent of the uranium it needs for the U.S. military and for electricity generation, down from nearly half in 1987.