Watergate — on Steroids
Obama administration collusion with Russia might constitute the greatest scandal in the history of the republic.
“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” —Barack Obama’s open mic assurance to former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, March 26, 2012
Progressive ideology is about winning — by any means necessary. Thus, the same Russians Barack Obama’s administration accommodated for years — from Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” and Obama’s cancellation of missile defense systems for Poland and the Czech Republic, to allowing the Kremlin to become a Middle East powerbroker, and Obama mocking Mitt Romney’s correct 2012 assertion that Russia was our foremost geopolitical foe — quickly became the mortal enemies that orchestrated Trump’s election victory. In short, they told us, “collusion” between Trump administration figures and Russia was the primary reason Hillary lost. Yet as we are only beginning to learn, Obama administration collusion with Russia might constitute the greatest scandal in the history of the republic.
Andrew McCarthy sums it up. The Obama administration “green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom,” he explains. “Worse, at the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.”
Who approved the transfer? The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, (CFIUS) an intergovernmental panel representing 14 departments and offices, including the Treasury, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Commerce, State, Homeland Security, Justice, Trade, Science and Technology Policy and Defense. CFIUS is tasked with determining whether transactions and investments by foreign companies align with national security, and they unanimously approved the deal — despite the reality that when they were considering it, nine members of the Canadian company Uranium One that would receive the uranium contributed more than $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Moreover, while the Russians were transferring control of Uranium One to its state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate Rosatom via three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records reveal Uranium One chairman Ian Telfer also donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. And in 2010, Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from Renaissance Capital, a Kremlin-linked bank that was promoting Uranium One stock.
Telfer’s contributions were not publicly disclosed, violating an agreement Hillary Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.
In terms of concealment, she was not alone. The Obama administration knew “congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer,” McCarthy explains. “Consequently, the Justice Department concealed what it knew. DOJ allowed the racketeering enterprise to continue compromising the American uranium industry rather than commencing a prosecution that would have scotched the transfer.”
It was a racketeering enterprise conducted by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official in charge of Tenam USA, which is the American arm of Rosatom subsidiary Tenex. Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, Tenex was given control of the sale and transportation of blended-down uranium from dis-assembled Russian nuclear warheads to U.S. nuclear providers. Mikerin was extorting those U.S. companies, forcing them to pay inflated prices, and leaving them vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.
To facilitate the process, Mikerin secured the help of an unnamed lobbyist who became uncomfortable with the seemingly illegal arrangement, and notified the FBI. As a result he became an informant. At the time, the FBI was headed by Robert Mueller and the investigation was supervised by current Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. It was centered in Tenam’s home base of Maryland, whose U.S. attorney was Rod Rosenstein. It ended in late 2015, during the tenure of former FBI Director James Comey.
The FBI had proof of Mikerin’s racketeering in 2010, when any disclosure of it would have killed the uranium deal. Yet they let the scheme continue until 2014 when the agency quietly allowed Mikerin to plead guilty to one count of money-laundering conspiracy, courtesy of Rosenstein, whose office chose to prosecute Milkerin under the far less onerous section 371 of the U.S. penal code rather than section 1956 which could have imprisoned him for up to 20 years on each count of racketeering. The deal was cosigned by the DOJ’s Fraud Section, then run by Andrew Weissmann — one of the attorneys Mueller selected to investigate Trump.
While the DOJ slow-walked this prosecution, Russia gained complete control of Rosatom. And despite Nuclear Regulatory Commission assurances made in 2011 to a highly concerned Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) that Rosatom could not export uranium out of the country, The New York Times revealed Uranium One exported it to Canada using the licenses of a proxy transport company to do so.
Moreover, where the uranium is headed remains unknown.
What about the lobbyist/informant? He was issued a gag order and threatened with prosecution by the Loretta Lynch-led Justice Department when he pursued a civil action that would have revealed information about the sale. He is currently represented by attorney Victoria Toensing, who insists her client has “specific information about contributions and bribes to various entities and people in the United States.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is investigating the deal, and has sent letters to 10 federal agencies explaining he remains unconvinced there was no national security concerns associated with it, despite assurances to the contrary. He also pushed to have the gag order lifted.
Which brings us to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. While the DOJ finally announced late Wednesday night the gag order has been lifted, Sessions apparently continues to countenance the agency’s refusal to turn over documents related to the infamous Christopher Steele dossier compiled by Fusion GPS that was subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post revealed the most likely reason for the DOJ’s stonewalling. In a bombshell exposé, the paper reported the Clinton campaign and the DNC helped fund the dossier. The same dossier Clinton may have given the FBI (who initially offered to pay for it themselves), the one that may be the sole basis by which Obama administration officials justified the unmasking of Trump associates — and the entire rationale behind the Leftmedia’s orchestrated effort to convince Americans Trump’s presidency is illegitimate.
The dossier’s disseminators? In the last two weeks, Fusion’s partners exercised their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination during House Intelligence Committee meeting, and filed a complaint in federal court aimed at keeping their subpoenaed banking records secret.
Regardless, Sessions continues to abide an investigation of Trump administration collusion with Russia, conducted by many of the same people who buried possible Obama administration collusion. People like Robert Mueller who “has the means, motive and opportunity to obfuscate and distract from matters embarrassing to the FBI,” WSJ columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. astutely notes.
America is facing an existential crisis, one where it appears the same institutions designed to provide law and order and national security are guilty of wholesale corruption — and possible treason. Either the Trump administration will root out the rot, or the electorate will be faced with the undeniable reality we live in a nation where “justice” consists of one set of laws for the rich and powerful, and another for everyone else. A nation where Congress conducts toothless hearings, those who should be investigated conduct the investigations, and utterly corrupt media censor anything inimical to their own interests and those of their ideological allies.
Absolutely no one can justify the sale of the main ingredient used in nuclear weapons to the Russians. Either the swamp gets drained — or the entire nation drowns in it.