“We don’t know what Mueller knew,” said Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Headquarters, hedging against assumptions that former FBI Director Robert Mueller was familiar with federal investigations of Russian state attempts to procure uranium assets in the United States and Canada via illicit measures.
Hosko’s comments came during an interview on Wednesdays SiriusXM Breitbart News Tonight with co-hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
In a broader conversation about possible improper politicization of the FBI, Mansour asked Hosko for comment on a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board call for Mueller to resign. The WSJ wrote in October of 2017, “[Robert Mueller] lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years. He could best serve the country by resigning to prevent further political turmoil over that conflict of interest.”
“I’m glad that you mention Hillary Clinton being targeted for all sort of mischief [by foreign adversaries],” began Mansour, responding to Hosko’s description of Hillary Clinton as a high-value target of hostile foreign actors during her tenure as secretary of state. “One of the things [the WSJ] mentioned is the fact that there was controversy re-emerged surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation because of a report out of the Hill last October, revealing that the FBI had uncovered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in very high stakes ‘bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money-laundering’ schemes to expand Russia’s nuclear footprint in the United States, and that has to do with the sale of about a quarter of the U.S. uranium market to Uranium One, a company controlled by Russia.”
Mansour then asked Hosko why Mueller did not inform Congress or the public about Russia’s aforementioned uranium procurement measures, given his directorship of the FBI while the bureau investigated Russia’s illicit operations.
“We now know that the Justice Department did not inform Congress and the public about this information that they had about this Russian scheme,” said Mansour. “The leader of the FBI at the time was Robert Mueller. We find this very troubling. Do you have anything you want to comment on that? Why didn’t Robert Mueller inform the public and inform the president and stop this sale?”
Hosko proceeded to note the total volume of cases the FBI handled at any given time, suggesting a bureau investigation of “foreign corrupt practices” involving a sitting secretary of state and a former president might not warrant the attention of its director.
“First, we don’t know what Mueller knew,” said Hosko. “I will tell you, during some of that time period, the back end of it, I was assistant director, and I had foreign corrupt practices under me, as I did in the Washington field office, here. I knew nothing of that, even though it sounded like there were some bribery and foreign corrupt practices aspects to it. I will tell you that whether you’re assistant director or you’re the director of the FBI, information on cases and briefings on cases have to be distilled for all of us. In my portfolio, for criminal [cases], there were probably 50,000 criminal cases across the FBI. Counterintelligence, I’d guess, maybe four or five thousand cases. Counterterrorism, a couple of thousand cases. Senior leadership has to distill that and find the pieces that are most important, in our view, for the director to hear. And my subordinates were trying to do the same for me because you cannot sit and listen to the developments on 50,000 cases every day, nor is that the expectation.”
An FBI investigation into Russian state efforts – involving domestic criminality – toward expanding control over uranium in America and Canada might not have been brought to Mueller’s attention as FBI director, said Hosko.
“It could be that at that time, Mueller was never briefed on the case, that it was being worked at lower levels. My sense was it was being worked out of the Baltimore office. Maybe Rod Rosenstein knew about it because he was the U.S. attorney up there. Maybe there wasn’t anything significant enough to bring up to [Mueller’s] level at that time. But I think to offer the proposition that Mueller knew or should have known underestimates the scope of what’s in the FBI’s holdings and what’s going on any given day. I would want to know that he actually knew, that he actually was briefed, what the briefing papers looked like, and what did it look like at the time, not what we know five years later.”
“I would certainly like to know that, as well,” responded Mansour. “And I would love to see that investigation, and I’m stunned that we don’t know more about this because I would think that the sale of uranium would be really critical and warrant a lot of attention from the top.”
According to the Hill, during Mueller’s directorship of the FBI, the bureau investigated a “racketeering scheme” run by the Russian state “to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States,” an operation involving “bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
As detailed in Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book Clinton Cash and subsequent reporting in the New York Times, the Hill, and elsewhere, during the period in which Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of all U.S. uranium to a Russian state-owned company, nine foreign investors involved in the deal gave $145 million to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s personal charity, the Clinton Foundation. At that same time, Bill Clinton received $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow paid for by a Kremlin-back bank.
As early as 2009, the FBI discovered “substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering,” according to the Hill. The agency also learned that Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. However, the Justice Department did not pursue prosecution and the uranium deal was approved.
By the end of Mueller’s tenure as FBI director, the bureau’s aforementioned investigation into illicit Russian pursuit of uranium assets was years-long.
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