The Hill has a follow-up story on the big news it published Tuesday about a Russian plot to bribe businesses involved in the American nuclear industry. Today’s story focuses on a request made by Bill Clinton’s aides to meet with a list of Russian businessmen including some on the board of Russia’s nuclear company while giving a paid speech in Russia for $500,000 to a bank that was promoting the deal as a good investment:
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.
Ultimately, after asking the State Department for permission, Clinton did not meet with any of the Russians on this list, he met with Putin instead. Clinton’s aides deny he ever spoke to anyone about the Uranium deal during his trip to Moscow. An unnamed Clinton friend tells the Hill there was an unstated goal of Clinton’s trip to Russia in 2010 but claims it was not to help push through the Uranium deal:
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.
That’s quite an alibi. Clinton wasn’t focused on pushing the questionable uranium deal because he was focused on deals which could benefit his family.
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton tells the Hill, “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. 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.”
If you have a look at the timeline of events I put together, none of those events have been debunked. The Hill’s story from Tuesday hasn’t even been reported by the major networks, much less debunked by anyone. The question that story raises is simple. Why did the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approve the Rosatom purchase of Uranium One in 2010 even as the FBI had evidence Russia was using illegal means (bribery and extortion) to gain a foothold in the U.S. nuclear market starting in 2009. That investigation seems like exactly the sort of thing that should have resulted in CFIUS rejecting the deal. Why didn’t that happen? And why are most of us just hearing about the Russian interference years later?