The FBI had evidence as early as 2009 that Russian operatives used bribes, kickbacks and other dirty tactics to expand Moscow’s atomic energy footprint in the U.S. – but the Obama administration approved a controversial uranium deal benefiting Moscow anyway, according to an explosive new report.
Revisiting allegations from the 2016 campaign, the report in The Hill noted that Bill Clinton and his family foundation got millions from figures tied to the uranium company while Hillary Clinton led the State Department and served on a panel that helped seal the deal. But the report also says evidence indicates Russian nuclear officials “routed” millions of dollars to the U.S. to benefit Bill Clinton’s foundation, while citing new allegations about a Russian plot that preceded that deal.
According to The Hill, federal agents gathered evidence – including recordings and emails – as early as 2009 showing Moscow used bribes and kickbacks to compromise an American uranium trucking firm. But rather than bring swift charges, the Obama Justice Department reportedly investigated for years, without informing the public and Congress of the full scope of the alleged scheme – as the administration made two decisions benefiting Moscow.
The first was the 2010 approval of a partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company. The U.S. was involved because the sale gave the Russians control of part of the uranium supply in the U.S.
A year later, the Obama administration gave the OK on a separate deal involving a Rosatom subsidiary.
“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” the Hill quoted a “person who worked on the case” as saying.
The details of the Uranium One deal first emerged in news reports in 2015. Since then, President Trump’s allies have cited the deal – and accusations that the Clintons benefited from figures tied to it -- to counter allegations of Russia collusion during the 2016 campaign.
At the time, Clinton’s campaign downplayed the allegations
"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," a spokesman said at the time. "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. It mischaracterizes the nature of the State Department's participation in such reviews, and also ignores the range of other regulatory agencies that ultimately supported this sale."
He dismissed the allegations as “conspiracy theories.”
As noted in The Hill, the feds did go after Vadim Mikerin, a Russian nuclear industry official, in connection with the investigation. He was later sentenced, in 2015, to 48 months in prison and ordered to hand over more than $2.1 million, in connection with money laundering allegations.
The case, incidentally, was overseen by Rod Rosenstein, who is now overseeing the special counsel probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential campaign.