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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    The case for Russia collusion … against the Democrats

    The case for Russia collusion … against the Democrats

    BY JOHN SOLOMON, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR —
    02/10/19 08:30 AM EST

    EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL


    Now that both the House and Senate have cleared Donald Trump of Democrat-inspired allegations of Russian collusion, it is worth revisiting one anecdote that escaped significant attention during the hysteria but continues to have U.S. security implications.

    As secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked with Russian leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-President Dmitri Medvedev, to create U.S. technology partnerships with Moscow’s version of Silicon Valley, a sprawling high-tech campus known as Skolkovo.

    Clinton’s handprint was everywhere on the 2009-2010 project, the tip of a diplomatic spear to reboot U.S.-Russian relations after years of hostility prompted by Vladimir Putin’s military action against the former Soviet republic and now U.S. ally, Georgia.

    A donor to the Clinton Foundation, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, led the Russian side of the effort, and several American donors to the Clinton charity got involved. Clinton’s State Department facilitated U.S. companies working with the Russian project, and she personally invited Medvedev to visit Silicon Valley.

    The collaboration occurred at the exact same time Bill Clinton made his now infamous trip to Russia to pick up a jaw-dropping $500,000 check for a single speech.

    The former president’s trip secretly raised eyebrows inside his wife’s State Department, internal emails show.

    That’s because he asked permission to meet Vekselberg, the head of Skolkovo, and Arkady Dvorkovich, a senior official of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear giant seeking State’s permission to buy Uranium One, a U.S. company with massive uranium reserves.

    Years later, intelligence documents show, both the Skolkovo and Uranium One projects raised serious security concerns.

    In 2013, the U.S. military’s leading intelligence think tank in Europe sounded alarm that the Skolkovo project might be a front for economic and military espionage.

    “Skolkovo is an ambitious enterprise, aiming to promote technology transfer generally, by inbound direct investment, and occasionally, through selected acquisitions. As such, Skolkovo is arguably an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage — with the additional distinction that it can achieve such a transfer on a much larger scale and more efficiently,” EUCOM’s intelligence bulletin wrote in 2013.

    “Implicit in Russia’s development of Skolkovo is a critical question — a question that Russia may be asking itself — why bother spying on foreign companies and government laboratories if they will voluntarily hand over all the expertise Russia seeks?”

    A year later, the FBI went further and sent letters warning several U.S. technology companies that had become entangled with Skolkovo that they risked possible espionage. And an agent in the bureau’s Boston office wrote an extraordinary op-ed to publicize the alarm. Skolkovo “may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application,”Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro wrote in the Boston Business Journal.

    The FBI had equal concern about Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One. An informer named William Douglas Campbell had gotten inside the Russian nuclear giant in 2009 and gathered evidence that Rosatom’s agents in the United States were engaged in a racketeering scheme involving kickbacks, extortion and bribery.

    Campbell also obtained written evidence that Putin wanted to buy Uranium One as part of a strategy to obtain monopolistic domination of the global uranium markets, including leverage over the U.S.
    Campbell also warned a major in-kind donor to the Clinton Global Initiative was simultaneously working for Rosatom while the decision for U.S. approval was pending before Mrs. Clinton’s department. Ultimately, her department and the Obama administration approved the transaction.

    The evidence shows the Clintons financially benefited from Russia — personally and inside their charity — at the same time they were involved in U.S. government actions that rewarded Moscow and increased U.S. security risks.

    The intersections between the Clintons, the Democrats and Russia carried into 2016, when a major political opposition research project designed to portray GOP rival Donald Trump as compromised by Moscow was launched by Clinton’s presidential campaign and brought to the FBI.

    Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS research firm was secretly hired by the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party through their law firm, Perkins Coie.

    Simpson then hired retired British intelligence operative Christopher Steele — whom the FBI learned was “desperate” to defeat Trump — to write an unverified dossier suggesting that Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the election.

    Simpson, Steele and Perkins Coie all walked Trump-Russia related allegations into the FBI the summer before the election, prompting agents who openly disliked Trump to launch a counterintelligence probe of the GOP nominee shortly before Election Day.

    Simpson and Steele also went to the news media to air the allegations in what senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr would later write was a “hail Mary” effort to influence the election.

    Congressional investigators have painstakingly pieced together evidence that shows the Clinton research project had extensive contact with Russians.

    Ohr’s notes show that Steele’s main source of uncorroborated allegationsagainst Trump came from an ex-Russian intelligence officer. “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.,” Ohr scribbled.

    Steele’s dossier also relied on information from a Belarus-born Russian businessman, according to numerous reports and a book on the Russia scandal.

    Steele and Simpson had Russian-tied business connections, too, while they formulated the dossier.

    Steele worked for the lawyers for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and tried to leverage those connections to help the FBI get evidence from the Russian aluminum magnate against Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    The effort resulted in FBI agents visiting Deripaska in fall 2016. Deripaska told the agents that no collusion existed.

    Likewise, Simpson worked in 2016 for the Russian company Prevezon — which was trying to escape U.S. government penalties — and one of its Russian lawyers, Natalia Veselnitskaya. In sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Simpson admitted he dined with Veselnitskaya both the night before and the night after her infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016.

    Simpson insists the two dinners sandwiching one of the seminal events in the Trump collusion narrative had nothing to do with the Trump Tower meeting, a claim many Republicans distrust.

    Whatever the case, there’s little doubt the main instigators of the Clinton-inspired allegations against Trump got information from Russians and were consorting with them during the political opposition project.

    This past week, we learned from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) that his committee came to the same conclusion as the House: There is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    But now there is growing evidence — of Democratic connections to Russia. It’s enough that former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) believes a probe should be opened.

    There is “obvious collusion the Democrats had through Glenn Simpson and through Fusion GPS, that they were talking directly to Russia,” Nunes told Hill.TV’s Rising show in an interview to be aired Monday.
    Collusion can be criminal if it involves conspiracy to break federal laws, or it can involve perfectly legal, unwitting actions that still jeopardize America’s security against a “frenemy” like Russia.

    There is clear evidence now that shows Hillary Clinton’s family and charity profited from Moscow and simultaneously facilitated official government actions benefiting Russia that have raised security concerns.
    And there’s irrefutable evidence that her opposition research effort on Trump — one that inspired an FBI probe — was carried out by people who got information from Russia and were consorting with Russians.

    It would seem those questions deserve at least some of the scrutiny afforded the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry that is now two-plus years old.

    John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

    https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/429292-the-case-for-russia-collusion-against-the-democrats

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Bill Clinton sought State’s permission to meet with Russian nuclear official during Obama uranium decision

    BY JOHN SOLOMON AND ALISON SPANN - 10/19/17 07:56 PM EDT

    FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

    As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

    Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.

    “In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

    The email went to two of Hillary Clinton’s most senior advisers, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.

    The approval question, however, sat inside State for nearly two weeks without an answer, prompting Desai to make multiple pleas for a decision.

    “Dear Jake, we urgently need feedback on this. Thanks, Ami,” the former president’s aide wrote in early June.

    Sullivan finally responded on June 7, 2010, asking a fellow State official “What’s the deal w this?”

    The documents don’t indicate what decision the State Department finally made. But current and former aides to both Clintons told The Hill on Thursday the request to meet the various Russians came from other people, and the ex-president’s aides and State decided in the end not to hold any of the meetings with the Russians on the list.

    Bill Clinton instead got together with Vladimir Putin at the Russian leader’s private homestead.

    “Requests of this type were run by the State Department as a matter of course. This was yet another one of those instances. Ultimately, President Clinton did not meet with these people,” Angel Urena, the official spokesperson for the former president, told The Hill.

    Aides to the ex-president, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation said Bill Clinton did not have any conversations about Rosatom or the Uranium One deal while in Russia, and that no one connected to the deal was involved in the trip.

    A spokesman for Secretary Clinton said Thursday the continued focus on the Uranium One deal smacked of partisan politics aimed at benefiting Donald Trump.

    “At every turn this storyline has been debunked on the merits. Its roots are with a project shepherded by Steve Bannon, which should tell you all you need to know,” said Nick Merrill. “This latest iteration is simply more of the right doing Trump’s bidding for him to distract from his own Russia problems, which are real and a grave threat to our national security.”

    Current and former Clinton aides told The Hill that the list of proposed business executives the former president planned to meet raised some sensitivities after Bill Clinton’s speaker bureau got the invite for the lucrative speech.

    Hillary Clinton had just returned from Moscow and there were concerns about the appearance of her husband meeting with officials so soon after.

    In addition, two of the Russians on the former president’s list had pending business that would be intersecting with State.

    The first was Dvorkovich, who was a chief deputy to Medvedev and one of the Russian nuclear power industry’s cheerleaders. He also sat on the supervisory board of Rosatom, the state owned atomic energy company that was in the midst of buying a Canadian uranium company called Uranium One

    The deal required approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an intergovernmental panel represented by 14 departments and offices that approve transactions and investments by foreign companies for national security purposes. Approval meant that control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium production would be shifting to the Russian-owned Rosatom’s control.

    CFIUS approved the transaction in October 2010, saying there was no national security concerns. Hillary Clinton has said she did not intervene in the matter and instead delegated the decision to a lower official, who said he got no pressure from the secretary on any CFIUS matters. Any one of the participating offices and departments could have sought to block the deal by requesting intervention by the president.

    The Hill reported earlier this week that the FBI had uncovered evidence that Russian nuclear officials were engaged in a massive bribery scheme before CFIUS approved the deal, raising new questions in Congress and drawing attention from President Trump. Uranium “is the real Russia story,” he told reporters, accusing news media of ignoring the new developments reported in The Hill.
    The second person on the list that caught attention was Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg.

    Two days after Hillary Clinton’s visit to Russia, Vekselberg was named by Medvedev to oversee a new technology investment project called Skolkovo, designed to be Russia’s new Silicon Valley, according to media reports.

    Hillary Clinton had directly discussed the Skolkovo project with Medvedev, and her State Department was whipping up support for it among U.S. companies, creating the potential appearance for a conflict. She even attended a major event with the Russians in 2010 to promote the project.

    “We want to help because we think that it’s in everyone’s interest do so,” she was quoted as saying at the time.

    A third issue that emerged was Renaissance Capital, a Russian bank that actually paid the $500,000 speaking fee to the former president for his 90-minute June 29, 2010, speech, one of the largest one-day fees Bill Clinton ever earned.

    Renaissance Capital had ties with the Kremlin and was talking up the Uranium One purchase in 2010, giving it an encouraging investment rating in Russia right at the time the U.S. was considering approval of the uranium sale, according to reports in The New York Times in 2015.

    The Hill was alerted to Bill Clinton’s attempted meeting with Dvorkovich from a nonpolitical source involved in the FBI investigation into Russian nuclear corruption. The Hill then scoured through thousands of pages of documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests over the past four years and located the Bill Clinton emails in a batch delivered to the conservative group Citizens United.
    The head of that group, David Bossie, said Thursday the documents forced into the public by federal lawsuits continue to shed light on new questions arising from Hillary Clinton’s time at State, and that Citizens United still gets documents released almost every month.

    “Citizens United continues to unearth important information about the relationship between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation through our ongoing investigations and litigation,” he said.

    A source familiar with that FBI investigation says an undercover informant that Congress is currently trying to interview possesses new information about what Russian nuclear officials were doing to try to win approval of the Uranium One deal.

    The importance of CFIUS’s approval was highlighted in Rosatom’s annual 2010 report that listed Dvorkovich as one of its supervisor board directors. The report crowed the U.S. approval was one of its most “striking events” of the year and allowed Russia to begin “uranium mining in the United States.”

    The head of Rosatom boasted in the report that the Uranium One deal was part of a larger Putin strategy to strengthen “Russia’s prestige as a leader of the world nuclear industry.”
    Inside the Clintons' inner circle, there also was a debate in 2010.

    A close associate of Bill Clinton who was directly involved in the Moscow trip and spoke on condition of anonymity, described to The Hill the circumstances surrounding how Bill Clinton landed a $500,000 speaking gig in Russia and then came up with the list of Russians he wanted to meet.

    The friend said Hillary Clinton had just returned in late March 2010 from an official trip to Moscow where she met with both Putin and Medvedev. The president’s speaker’s bureau had just received an offer from Renaissance Capital to pay the former president $500,000 for a single speech in Russia.

    Documents show Bill Clinton’s personal lawyer on April 5, 2010, sent a conflict of interest review to the State Department asking for permission to give the speech in late June, and it was approved two days later.

    The Clinton friend said the former president’s office then began assembling a list of requests to meet with Russian business and government executives whom he could meet on the trip. One of the goals of the trip was to try to help a Clinton family relative “grow investments in their business with Russian oligarchs and other businesses,” the friend told The Hill.

    “It was one of the untold stories of the Russia trip. People have focused on Uranium One and the speaking fees, but opening up a business spigot for the family business was one only us insiders knew about,” the friend said.

    Conservative author Peter Schweizer, whose 2015 collaboration with The New York Times first raised questions about the Uranium One deal and Clinton donations, said Thursday the new emails were “stunning they add a level of granularity we didn’t have before."

    “We knew of some sort of transactions in which the Clintons received funds and Russia received approvals, and the question has always been how and if those two events are connected,” he said. “I think this provides further evidence the two may be connected.”

    https://thehill.com/policy/national-...ussian-nuclear


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