Today The Hill broke a fairly big story that is significant both for what it says and what it doesn’t say. My colleague, Brandon Morse, posted an overview of the story:
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
One would think the public corruption folks would have been on this like stink on poo, no? Well, no.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.
And, of course, Hillary cashed the checks:
Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2013, the Clinton Foundation was the recipient of four suspicious tranches of donations totaling $2.35 million from Russian-linked sources including Uranium One’s chairman. Former President Bill Clinton personally received half a million dollars for one speech in Moscow from a Russian government-linked investment bank that was promoting Uranium One stock. While the Uranium One deal was under consideration by the Treasury Department, that bank’s analysts were talking up the value of that firm’s stock.
None of these donations were previously disclosed, despite the Clinton Foundation’s written pledge to disclose all donations it received while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. If The Hill’s reporting is accurate, this is dirty money. Their report alleges that eyewitness and written accounts obtained by the FBI confirm that Russian officials were responsible for this influx of cash to the Clintons.
What makes this all stink is that eventually some arrests were made. Usually, Justice and the FBI publicize crimes where Russian financiers are convicted of bribery, buying a controlling interest in the US production of uranium, and gifting politicians large sums of money. In this case: crickets. Not just crickets but mute crickets. Then the FBI and Justice tried to hide the investigation from Congress and keep it tightly compartmented inside the FBI and Justice:
Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, told The Hill he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case by the counterintelligence side of the bureau despite the criminal charges that were being lodged.
“I had no idea this case was being conducted,” a surprised Hosko said in an interview.
Likewise, major congressional figures were also kept in the dark.
Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during the time the FBI probe was being conducted, told The Hill that he had never been told anything about the Russian nuclear corruption case even though many fellow lawmakers had serious concerns about the Obama administration’s approval of the Uranium One deal.
“Not providing information on a corruption scheme before the Russian uranium deal was approved by U.S. regulators and engage appropriate congressional committees has served to undermine U.S. national security interests by the very people charged with protecting them,” he said. “The Russian efforts to manipulate our American political enterprise is breathtaking.”
Who was the prosecutor leading the investigation? Rod Rosenstein. That would be the same Rod Rosenstein who is now Deputy Attorney General and supervising the Russia probe.
Who was the FBI Director? Robert Mueller. That would be the same Robert Mueller who is leading the Russia probe.
Who was leading the FBI investigation? Andrew McCabe. That would be the same Andrew McCabe whose wife ran for a Virginia state senate seat and got some $700K from Clinton bagman, Terry McAuliffe. This would be the same Andrew McCabe who is under investigation for violating the Hatch Act by electioneering for his wife. This would be the same Andrew McCabe who is under investigation for retaliation and sex discrimination. This would be the same Andrew McCabe who approved his own refusal to recuse himself from the Russia investigation both because of his Clinton ties and because of his personal vendetta against Mike Flynn.
Only in Washington could this mess be carried out and the perpetrators still not only walk free but be thought of as men of integrity.