During the 2016 election campaign, the accusations of “pay-for-play” surrounding the business deal approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that effectively gave Moscow control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves were dismissed by the Clintons.
There was no evidence, they insisted, that the Uranium One deal had any relationship to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees that subsequently went to Bill Clinton or the millions in donations from uranium investors that flowed to the Clinton Foundation.
None of the Russians involved in the deal or any of the donors engaged in wrongdoing, the Clintons told the world.
It turns out, however, that before the deal was approved in 2010, the FBI was sitting on evidence Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to expand Moscow’s nuclear business in the U.S., reported the Hill.
Further, according to an eyewitness account backed by government documents, the FBI had evidence Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit the Clinton Foundation at the time of the deal, sources told the Hill.
Now, the Senate Judiciary Committee has acknowledged it is investigating the claims, demanding several federal agencies disclose whether they knew the FBI had uncovered the corruption before the 2010 deal was completed.
As WND reported in March, while Congress was examining allegations that President Trump and his aides colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Trump called on Congress to investigate the Clintons’ relationships with Russia, including the donations by uranium investors to the Clinton Foundation. Along with Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder was also on the panel that approved the deal, President Obama’s multi-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the issue during an oversight hearing Wednesday.
“What are you doing to find out how Russian takeover of American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by Russian company that the Obama administration approved to make the purchase?” Grassley asked.
“I would offer that some people have gone to jail in that transaction already,” Sessions replied, “but [The Hill] article talks about other issues. Without confirming or denying existence of any particular investigation, I would say I hear your concerns and they will be reviewed.”
Senate Judiciary aides told the Hill the committee had asked 10 federal agencies involved in the Russian uranium approvals to provide information, and sources said Grassley is expected to seek access to potential witnesses soon.
In a letter last week to the Homeland Security Department, Grassley said he was no longer convinced by the Obama administration’s assurances in 2015 that there was no reason to block the Uranium One deal.
“The sale of Uranium One resulted in a Russian government takeover of a significant portion of U.S. uranium mining capacity,” he wrote. “In light of that fact, very serious questions remain about the basis for the finding that this transaction did not threaten to impair U.S. national security.”
Grassley also said he has additional information about the $500,000 fee Bill Clinton received from a Russian investment bank for a June 2010 speech. The bank’s senior officers, Grassley wrote, include former Russian intelligence personnel, and the company had been described by sources as an “extension” of the Russian government.
The senator pointed out that in the same month as the Clinton speech, Uranium One and the state-owned company Rosatom notified Obama’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States of the Russian government’s intent to acquire 20 percent of U.S. uranium assets.
“The next month, in July 2010, Renaissance Bank reportedly assigned Uranium One a ‘buy’ rating, a move that would principally benefit its Russian investors,” Grassley wrote.
“The donations raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest for Secretary Clinton and the Obama administration.”
‘Spontaneous outbreak of philanthropy’
The 2010 deal for a majority stake of Canadian-based Uranium One and its plausible connection to major donations to the Clinton Foundation was exposed by author Peter Schweizer in his book “Clinton Cash” and confirmed in a 3,000 word, front-page story by the New York Times.
Former Uranium One chairman Ian Telfer was among several individuals connected to the deal who made donations to the Clinton Foundation. Telfer made four foreign donations totaling $2.35 million, the Times reported.
The donations flowed as the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013. Snopes and other “fact checkers” who insist there was no quid pro quo have argued that most of the donations were made in 2008, before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state. But she was running for president at that time.
A spokesman for Clinton’s campaign in 2015 declared: “No one has produced a shred of evidence that Hillary Clinton ever took action as Secretary of State in order to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation. To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless.”
The origin of the deal traced back to 2005, when mining financier Frank Giustra traveled with Bill Clinton to work out an agreement with the government of Kazakhstan for mining rights.
Giustra has donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Schweizer pointed out that when the Uranium One deal was under way, “a spontaneous outbreak of philanthropy among eight shareholders in Uranium One” took place.
The Times pointed out that the Canadian tax records show the contributions to the Clinton Foundation were not publicly disclosed, which violated an agreement Clinton signed with the Obama administration when she became secretary of state to disclose all foreign donations.
The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group reported in March Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, may have opened himself up to a Russian “influence campaign” designed to temper his views of the Kremlin. Podesta possibly violated federal law when he failed to fully disclose his membership on the executive board of an energy company that accepted millions from a Vladimir Putin-connected Russian government fund.