You may want to put your boots on before you begin reading this one. The more digging one does into the Uranium One deal, the thicker it gets, and you tend to walk away with more questions than answers. In fact, my questions sent me all the way back to the gold rush and the year 1872. Much of what we know about the Clintons’ involvement in Russia’s acquisition of rights to nearly one fifth of our country’s uranium appears circumstantial on the surface, however, it does not take much to connect the dots and we are still learning more every day. A former FBI undercover informant, William Campbell, is expected to testify regarding his role along with his claims that the deal was “political.” With so many Clinton supporters jumping ship as of late, will we finally see an unfettered investigation into the questionable activities of the Clintons?
As this issue has been so convoluted, and at times difficult to follow in the news as bits and pieces of speculation and facts flow, I am going to take a chronological approach in hopes of making it more reader friendly. When I began researching this issue, having absolutely no knowledge regarding U.S. mining, there was a constant nagging question I felt must be answered before anything else would make any sense whatsoever. Why in the world were foreign companies being given rights to mine the natural resources of the United States, especially an element like uranium? Believe it or not, mining in the U.S. is governed by the General Mining Law of 1872 (GML) and Mineral Lands Leasing Act. The GML stems from creating incentive for citizens to explore and settle the west, and apparently Congress has never seen fit to revisit an antiquated law that served its purpose long ago. But this is an issue to be researched for another day.
While laws require that claimants, permittees or lessees be United States citizens, we must remember that in the U.S., any corporation registered in the United States, even those owned 100% by foreign governments or entities, is considered to be its own entity and therefore assumes the same rights afforded to an American citizen as it applies to mining laws. The U.S. government seeks out and encourages foreign investment in mining operations with few restrictions. Although, those that may present national security implications, such as the mining of uranium, must jump through a few more hoops. This is why the 2010 deal that allowed the Russian nuclear energy agency to acquire controlling interest in Uranium One went through the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. This committee is composed of nine members; the secretaries of treasury, state, defense, homeland security, and commerce and energy; the attorney general; a White House representative from the Office of the United States Trade Representative; and a White House representative from the Office of Science and Technology.
Frank Guistra is a Canadian mining financier with ties to the Clinton’s that go back many, many years. Guistra, in 2005 and accompanied by Bill Clinton, made a trip to Kazakhstan in pursuit of a deal to mine uranium. The first stop on this trip for Clinton and Guistra was a banquet with Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, president of Kazakhstan. While his wife, then Senator Hillary Clinton, was criticizing human rights records in Kazakhstan, Bill Clinton was expressing support for Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. According to corporate records, within two days of the banquet, Guistra’s company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom, a deal that was reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars. A matter of mere months later, a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra was made to Clinton’s foundation, with a pledge for an additional $100 million to come. In 2007, Uranium One agreed to pay Guistra, a director and major shareholder in UrAsia (his mining company) $7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share. The new company retained the name of Uranium One, however, shareholders of UrAsia retained a 60% stake in the new company. Clinton and Guistra formed a new component of the Clinton Foundation known as the Clinton Guistra Enterprise Partnership, in Canada. Interestingly, the chairman of Uranium One was Ian Telfer, who indicated that he had been friends with Frank Guistra for decades, and also donated a reported $2.35 million to the foundation. These donations were not publicly disclosed as was agreed to when Hillary Clinton became Obama’s Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Russia was in the process of attempting to gain control, globally, of rights to mining uranium. In fact, by 2009 the FBI was investigating a bribery scheme involving Moscow and nuclear corruption on American soil. We know that control of Uranium One by Russia was a gradual process and took place in three separate transactions beginning in 2009. When Rosatom initially began making its move on Uranium One’s uranium interests in Kazakh, the Canadian company sought help from American diplomats, but ultimately decided to give in to Rosatom. Rosatom, in June of 2010, struck a deal to obtain no less than 51% interest in Uranium One. Also in June of 2010, a Russian investment bank, with ties to the Kremlin, that was promoting and stood to profit from the Uranium One deal, paid a $500,000 speaking fee to Bill Clinton for an event held in Moscow.
As discussed above, the 2010 deal that allowed the Russian nuclear energy agency to acquire controlling interest in Uranium One was required to go through the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States due to national security implications existing due to the involvement of uranium. Keep in mind, that by this time the FBI had already uncovered and had documentation of a racketeering scheme by the Russians that involved bribery, kickbacks and extortion related to U.S. contractors used in the mining and transportation of uranium in the U.S. The DOJ, however, to date had brought no charges in the matter and continued their investigation, meaning none of this was public information. And guess who was the director of the FBI at the time? You got it, Robert S. Mueller, III, the very same Mr. Mueller that has been charged with investigating Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. How about this one, guess who was the Attorney General (heading up the DOJ) in 2010. Yep, Eric Holder, Jr. As a side note, in June 2010, James Comey joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund with $75 billion in investments for clients including foreign governments. Now, while it has been stated that the Uranium One deal that effectively gave Russia control of approximately 20% of uranium production capacity in the U.S. had to be approved by CFIUS, it has also been reported that the only person that could stop the sale was then President Obama. One has to wonder what Obama knew regarding the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian racketeering in nuclear material at that time, after all, his whole “Russian reset” began in 2009.
Since that time, arrests have been made and convictions obtained in the FBI investigation including those involved in a trucking company used to transport the uranium and a woman we know as Cynthia Murphy, a Russian spy who worked as an accountant for a major Democratic donor, in place to get close to the Clintons and obtain information about the State Department. It has also come to light that, while Uranium One’s rights to mine uranium in the U.S. specifically precluded them from transporting or selling uranium outside of the U.S., with the exception of resources transferred to Canada for processing and return to the U.S., an unknown amount of yellowcake, the refined form of uranium ore, made its way to Europe and ended up who knows where.
This article is in no way an attempt at a comprehensive look at the Uranium One deal and its surrounding issues. It is way too convoluted and there is still much to learn. The tentacles in this deal are far-reaching and will undoubtedly require an extensive investigation to connect all of the dots and complete this puzzle. Of course the Clintons, Hillary Clinton in particular, have denied any wrong doing and any involvement in the approval process of the Uranium One deal. The claim is that such an issue is beneath the Secretary of State and that such a matter would have been handled by some underling from her office. Really? Russia obtaining rights to uranium on U.S. soil is a matter beneath the Secretary of State, and she had no knowledge of the proceedings? The Clintons continue to proffer that there is absolutely no evidence of any quid pro quo with regard to her positions in government, the Clinton Foundation or Russia’s acquisition of uranium mining rights. Granted, so far we have not seen anything that could be considered hard and definitive proof, however, the circumstantial evidence is mounting and seems to make it a very short leap. Add to that the recent number of democrats jumping from the Clinton ship, this may just be the proverbial straw.