The FBI apparently ignored evidence of Russian involvement in the uranium market “when they approved the deal back in 2010,” said Peter Schweizer of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s (CFI) 2010 approval of the Russian government’s purchasing of a majority stake in Uranium One.
Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, offered his remarks in a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with co-hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Robert Mueller — director of the FBI between 2001 and 2013 — must have known of corrupt dealings related to the Uranium One deal in 2010, said Schweizer.
“It’s been long known by the FBI that the Russian involvement in the uranium market was highly suspect, that their efforts were nefarious, and that there was a lot of corruption involved with these programs,” said Mueller:
There was a megatons program that was designed to, in a sense, help the Russian nuclear industry transition from sort of military-based work to civilian work — a lot of detailed corruption that the FBI tracked in the 1990s and 2000s, so going up to the 2010 approval for Uranium One, it’s really impossible for senior FBI officials, including the director at the time — Mueller — to argue that they are just completely shocked that Uranium One and these kickbacks were taking place. It was widely known.
Schweizer spoke of William Douglas Campbell, a “Uranium One whistleblower” who has testified privately before Congress about his involvement in the Uranium One deal.
“[Bruce Campbell] testified before Congress,” said Schweizer:
It was behind closed doors, so we don’t know the details, but essentially he was asked about what he knew as it related specifically to the Clinton Foundation, and what you hear indirectly — I was certainly not there — but what you hear indirectly is that he was told specifically by the Russians to work on helping get Uranium One approved. One of the things that they did was the Russians hired the lobbying firm APCO, and then APCO turned around and essentially gave an in-kind or free donation to the Clinton Foundation, valued somewhere in the order of $3 million.
Campbell’s work as an undercover informant for the FBI led to convictions of Russian executives related to Rosatom — the nuclear agency of the Russian state — in 2015 on bribery and money-laundering charges related to the Uranium One deal.
“APCO denies that charge, but Campbell is a pretty credible guy,” said Schweizer:
This is a guy who was an FBI witness. It’s known that the Russians were paying him $50,000 a month to do work for them, and some of that work included, according to his job description, setting up meetings with high-level ranking U.S. officials. That’s all not in dispute. So this is a guy that certainly was there. The FBI found him credible. He got FBI executives thrown into jail, and they eventually pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, including bribery and kickbacks. So you can’t dismiss, as some Clinton defenders want to, this whistleblower as if he has no credibility because he was there.
It was Campbell’s “testimony and undercover work that got them convicted,” said Schweizer.
“It’s also been hinted that [Campbell] has audiotapes that talk about some of these meetings, and essentially, that some of these Russian officials were bragging and making claims as it related to the Clintons and providing support for them,” said Schweizer.
The Clintons stood to benefit financially from approval of the Uranium One deal, said Schweizer.
“Looking at the approval of Uranium One, it seems pretty clear to me that the Clintons had a huge financial motive to see this deal approved because so many of their big financial supporters stood to gain from this deal being approved, and of course, they had a lot of Russians that were involved in supporting the Clinton Foundation and were partners,” said Schweizer.
The ostensibly charitable Clinton Foundation received $145 million in donations from nine of the deal’s investors.
The CFI’s 2010 approval of the Uranium One deal — through which approximately 20 percent of America’s uranium supply came under Russian state control — occurred while the Obama administration was pursuing a “Russian Reset” policy.
“This occurred in 2010, and this was a time when Barack Obama’s number one foreign policy agenda was the ‘Russian Reset,’” said Schweizer:
I’m sure there were professionals within parts of the national security bureaucracy that were concerned about this transaction, we know that they were, we know on Capitol Hill that there here half a dozen members of Congress on powerful committees dealing with national security deadly opposed to this deal. Those voices were clearly never heard in the Obama administration because there was no debate about this. I think the reason there was no debate about this was because the Obama administration decided very early on: we’re going to do whatever we can to have warmer relations with Moscow, and if that means turning over this uranium company to a corrupt Russian government institution, so be it. We’re going to ram it through.
“It’s got to go down as one of the worst deals that has ever been done in American foreign policy,” said Schweizer.
“We have no idea where that uranium is now,” said Mansour. “We’ve completely lost track of it. It could be going to Iran, it could be going to North Korea. No one can tell.”
The statute of limitations — “where the allegation is that the Clintons traded favors for financial gain and benefits,” as Schweizer described it — has passed on crimes of corruption related to the Uranium One transactions, said Schweizer. Such crimes have statutes of limitations ranging between five and seven years, he added.
Criminal use of a charity for self-enrichment does not have a statute of limitations, said Schweizer: “If you use a charity for personal gain, which is a violation of the IRS tax code, those statutes of limitation do not run out.”
According to a January report in The Hill, the FBI launched a new investigation of possible criminal conduct related to the Clinton Foundation, including possible monetization of political influence by the Clintons:
The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill. … The probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes. … The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.
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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.