If President Trump or anyone even remotely close to his presidency, including his best friend from 2nd grade that he hadn't seen in 40 years, sought to meet with key Russian nuclear officials, in Moscow, just months before the federal government approved a very controversial deal handing Vladimir Putin 20% of U.S. uranium reserves, despite an ongoing investigation into Russian fraud, bribery, extortion and money laundering, it would be the only story played on a 24 x 7 loop on CNN and MSNBC.
Ironically, that is exactly what new emails dug up by The Hill show that Bill Clinton did in June 2010, just months before the Uranium One deal was approved by a committee on which his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sat. Oh, and did we mention that Bill's Clinton Foundation just happened to collect millions of dollars in bribes donations from Russian sources and Uranium One shareholders shortly after his Moscow meetings?
As you will recall, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), approved the Uranium One transaction in October 2010. According to new emails revealed by The Hill, just months before that approval, Bill Clinton sought permission from the State Department, run by his wife at the time, to meet 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, the company which was ultimately approved to purchase Uranium One.
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.
While we apparently still don't know whether Bill Clinton was ultimately approved to hold those meetings, his team did confirm that he met with Vladimir Putin at his private residence.
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.
Meanwhile, The Hill revealed yet another facet to the story from a "close associate of Bill Clinton" who says that his trip to Russia may have been as much about helping family members “grow investments in their business with Russian oligarchs and other businesses," businesses in which we're sure Bill and Hillary just happened to have a stake, as it was about trading American uranium reserves for Clinton Foundation donations.
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.
“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.”
Of course, Hillary contends that this entire story is a "big nothing-burger" and that everyone should promptly return their focus to the $100,000 worth of Facebook ads that destroyed her campaign and the entire American democratic process...
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.
...and we're confident CNN wholeheartedly agrees.