Since before the inauguration, Democrats have been hyper-ventilating about the Trump Team’s alleged collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election. The end game was undoubtedly the drafting of articles of impeachment against President Trump for his treasonous relationship with the Russians.
Having stressed the Russian threat to America and evil of Vladimir Putin, the Democrats cannot suddenly turn around and downplay the Russian menace, as President Obama did in 2012 when he mocked Mitt Romney in one debate for seeking to return to the foreign policy of the Cold War. And that is a problem for Democrats.
Why that is so begins with the machinations of the Clinton Foundation, especially during the time Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state and presumptive next president of the United States. Peter Schweitzer provided the details in his 2015 book Clinton Cash, and they were confirmed by New York Times reporters Joe Becker and Mike McIntire.
The Clinton Foundation never remotely functioned as a charitable institution, unless of course high end travel and large salaries for its principals and their permanent staff of retainers constitutes charity. As Mark Steyn notes, out of a million dollars donated to benefit street urchins in Africa, a mere $64,000 would have reached those urchins, with the remaining $936,000 going to salaries and overhead.
As a charitable institution, the Clinton Foundation was a scandal, but as an influence-peddling ATM for the Clinton family and their consiglieres, it was a remarkable success. Consider the Foundation’s services on behalf of Frank Giustra, a Canadian billionaire. In 2005, Giustra and partners contributed $10,000 to the Clinton Foundation. In return, former President Bill Clinton used his influence with Kazakhstan’s dictator to secure uranium mining rights for Giustra’s company. Those rights proved immensely profitable. Not for naught did Giustra and partners contribute, according to Newsweek, $145 million to the Clinton Foundation, or a Canadian subsidiary, over the years.
The problem developed when Vladimir Putin set his eyes on the same uranium and prevailed in his subtle fashion of Kazakhstan’s dictator to imprison the official who had signed the uranium deal with Giustra’s company. The threatened revocation of its uranium mining rights had predictable results on Giustra’s company’s share prices.
Fortunately for Giustra, Hillary Clinton was already secretary of state by that time. On a visit to Russia, she arranged for Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, to purchase a 17% share of Uranium One (a company formed from the merger of Giustra’s original company and a South African mining firm) and all the problems disappeared.
Putin, however, had bigger designs: He wanted a controlling share of Uranium One, which coincidentally controls 20% of America’s uranium. In addition to being the essential ingredient for America’s nuclear arsenal, uranium also fuels nuclear power plants that produce 20% of America’s power. America’s own uranium resources are only adequate to fill one-fifth of its needs.
To purchase a controlling interest, Rosatom required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS). As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was the senior member of the eighteen-person committee. To improve its chances of a favorable verdict from the CFIUS, a state-controlled Russian bank invited Bill Clinton to give an hour-long speech for which he was remunerated to the tune of half a million dollars, while the request was pending. Several million dollars were also donated to the Clinton Foundation by figures connected to Rosatom, through a Canadian subsidiary to avoid the reporting requirements imposed on Hillary Clinton when she was appointed secretary of state (at least in her interpretation of those requirements.)
CFIUS approval of the transfer of control was forthcoming on October 23, 2010. Rosatom chief and former president of Russia Sergei Kiriyenko reported to the Duma, “I am pleased to inform you that we control 20% of the uranium in the United States. If we need that uranium, we shall be able to use it any time.”
THOUGH THE FOREGOING SORDID TALE has never received the attention it deserves, it has been known and documented for more than two years. Last week, Hill reporters John Solomon and Alison Spann published an explosive investigative report detailing how the FBI and the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) acted in such a way as to facilitate the Uranium One deal going through.
CFIUS approval of Rosatom’s purchase of the controlling interest in Uranium One was only possible at a time of a “reset” of relations with Russia, when Russia was no longer viewed as America’s major adversary, but as a partner in creating a more stable and safer world. Many Republicans never bought that Obama-Clinton narrative, and there were stirrings of strong opposition to the Uranium One purchase, but the Republicans were a minority in the Senate and lacked a clear smoking gun proving that Russia had not signed on for the reset.
Though Republican senators would lack the proof that the Russian leopard had not changed its spots until Russia’s 2014 invasion of the Ukraine, the FBI and DOJ had solid evidence of Russia’s untrustworthiness prior to the CFIUS approval of Rosatom’s purchase of control of Uranium One.
From 2009, Vadim Miriken, the head of Tenam, a Maryland-based American subsidiary of Rosatom, was engaged in racketeering, extortion, and money-laundering involving U.S. uranium firms. In return for no-bid contracts and large kickbacks, Miriken was extorting above market prices for Rosatom’s uranium. The kickbacks were then laundered through a series of shell corporations.
As described by Andrew McCarthy, the lead prosecutor in the first World Trade Center bombing case, Miriken’s purpose was twofold: first, to line his pockets and those of senior officials in Moscow, and, second, to compromise leading companies in the American uranium industry by involving them in illegality. From 2009, the FBI had a plant within Tenam in the form of an American lobbyist hired by Miriken. That plant provided the FBI with incriminating emails and also recorded discussions with Miriken.
By May 2010, in McCarthy’s expert judgment, the FBI and DOJ already had clear evidence of Miriken’s racketeering activity and knew that at least one firm engaged in transporting uranium, Transport Logistics, had paid a $2 million kickback.
Had the DOJ commenced a prosecution at that time, it would almost certainly have scuttled Rosatom’s purchase of control of Uranium One. DOJ’s chief, Attorney General Eric Holder, incidentally, also sat on the CFIUS committee that approved that purchase.
Yet, the government did not commence prosecution until Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in 2014. And it did so with minimum fanfare, one would guess so as not to trigger a retroactive look at the 2010 CFIUS decision or to interrupt Hillary Clinton’s march to the White House.
By 2014, the statute of limitations had already run on many of Miriken’s crimes. He was not charged with money-laundering, each count of which carries a potential 20 years in prison, but rather with conspiracy to launder money, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. McCarthy points out that in doing so, the U.S. Attorney in charge of the case violated the DOJ’s own prosecutorial guidelines.
In the plea agreement signed with Miriken, only a few of his numerous criminal acts were mentioned, and none of those that took place in 2009 and 2010, prior to the CFIUS approval of the Rosatom purchase. Finally, the FBI pressured the chief informant into a non-disclosure agreement, which was subsequently used to prevent him from filing a civil suit against Tenam and Miriken for kickback payments he made to them, and more recently from testifying before Congress about what he knows and about what he heard of Russian efforts to curry favor with Ma and Pa Clinton.
And by the way, the FBI director at the time of almost all of Miriken’s racketeering activity was none other than Robert Mueller, today special prosecutor with an apparently unlimited mandate to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and all related matters. The U.S. Attorney for Maryland, with chief prosecutorial authority, was current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special prosecutor. And the head of DOJ’s Fraud Division, who signed off on the plea bargain with Miriken, was Andrew Weissman, currently one of Mueller’s top assistants.
As McCarthy sums up, the Rosatom purchase is no longer just a Clinton scandal; it is an Obama administration scandal. The administration acted to prevent its “reset” narrative from being exploded, and to do so, it required the cooperation of the FBI and DOJ.
All of which raises the question with respect to Mueller, Rosenstein, and Weissman: Who will investigate the investigators?