Blockbuster NYT story on Clinton Foundation money and deals giving Russia control of American uranium mines

The New York Times published a story just before the morning television news shows went on air today at 6 AM EDT that appears to contain bombshell information about the nexus of many millions of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation and U.S. State Department approval and assistance for transactions that bolstered Russian control of a substantial share of the world uranium supply, including mines in the United States.

Through a complex series of transactions requiring U.S. government approval or assistance over a period of eight years, a Russian atomic energy agency named Rosatom ended up controlling a large share of world uranium production, essential to the generation of electricity, including one fifth of U.S. power capacity.  New York Times reporters Jo Becker and Mike McIntire have a long and complex article outlining how a group of donors of many millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation were involved in and profited from those transactions, and a Russian investment bank paid a half-million-dollar speaking fee to Bill Clinton at a critical moment.  They summarize:

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One. (snip)

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

The story is a consequence of the deal struck by Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, to provide exclusive information to a number of media outlets on questionable fundraising activities:

Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting.

There is daylight opening between the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, something to pay close attention to.

[The Clinton Foundation] has limited donations from foreign governments, with many, like Russia’s, barred from giving to all but its health care initiatives. That policy stops short of Mrs. Clinton’s agreement with the Obama administration, which prohibited all foreign government donations while she served as the nation’s top diplomat.

The famous underside of the Obama bus is coming closer to Hillary.

A timeline of transactions and donations created by Timesman Wilson Andrews helps untangle to complicated transctions.  One of the key bodies involved is the:

Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee comprises some of the most powerful members of the cabinet, including the attorney general, the secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy, and the secretary of state. They are charged with reviewing any deal that could result in foreign control of an American business or asset deemed important to national security. (snip)

When ARMZ, an arm of Rosatom, took its first 17 percent stake in Uranium One in 2009, the two parties signed an agreement, found in securities filings, to seek the foreign investment committee’s review. But it was the 2010 deal, giving the Russians a controlling 51 percent stake, that set off alarm bells. Four members of the House of Representatives signed a letter expressing concern. Two more began pushing legislation to kill the deal.

Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, where Uranium One’s largest American operation was, wrote to President Obama, saying the deal “would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity.”

“Equally alarming,” Mr. Barrasso added, “this sale gives ARMZ a significant stake in uranium mines in Kazakhstan.”

One of the assurances given that ceding control to Russia was benign cited the alleged need to to have an export license in order to ship American uranium out of the country.  But the Times’ reporting revealed that this is a hollow safeguard:

Mr. Christensen, 65, [owner of a Wyoming ranch where uranium deposits are being mined by Uranium One] noted that despite assurances by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that uranium could not leave the country without Uranium One or ARMZ obtaining an export license — which they do not have — yellowcake from his property was routinely packed into drums and trucked off to a processing plant in Canada.

Asked about that, the commission confirmed that Uranium One has, in fact, shipped yellowcake to Canada even though it does not have an export license. Instead, the transport company doing the shipping, RSB Logistic Services, has the license. A commission spokesman said that “to the best of our knowledge” most of the uranium sent to Canada for processing was returned for use in the United States. A Uranium One spokeswoman, Donna Wichers, said 25 percent had gone to Western Europe and Japan. At the moment, with the uranium market in a downturn, nothing is being shipped from the Wyoming mines.

The “no export” assurance given at the time of the Rosatom deal is not the only one that turned out to be less than it seemed. Despite pledges to the contrary, Uranium One was eventually delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and taken private. As of 2013, Rosatom’s subsidiary, ARMZ, owned 100 percent of the company.

As I write, the story, published less than two hours ago, is being discussed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.  While MSNBC normally is pro-Democrat, the hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, openly mocked Clinton defenders on the show for demonizing Schweizer and following talking points and focused on the impact of growing public distrust of Hillary’s honesty.  It looks like this story is gaining traction, and a signal is going out to other Democrats that Hillary’s inevitability may not be beneficial to the party.

Meanwhile, Fox News is reporting that Peter Schweizer’s research group is planning to publish stories about the financial transactions of Jeb Bush and entities linked to him over the summer.

We live in interesting times.

The New York Times published a story just before the morning television news shows went on air today at 6 AM EDT that appears to contain bombshell information about the nexus of many millions of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation and U.S. State Department approval and assistance for transactions that bolstered Russian control of a substantial share of the world uranium supply, including mines in the United States.

Through a complex series of transactions requiring U.S. government approval or assistance over a period of eight years, a Russian atomic energy agency named Rosatom ended up controlling a large share of world uranium production, essential to the generation of electricity, including one fifth of U.S. power capacity.  New York Times reporters Jo Becker and Mike McIntire have a long and complex article outlining how a group of donors of many millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation were involved in and profited from those transactions, and a Russian investment bank paid a half-million-dollar speaking fee to Bill Clinton at a critical moment.  They summarize:

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One. (snip)

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

The story is a consequence of the deal struck by Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, to provide exclusive information to a number of media outlets on questionable fundraising activities:

Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting.

There is daylight opening between the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, something to pay close attention to.

[The Clinton Foundation] has limited donations from foreign governments, with many, like Russia’s, barred from giving to all but its health care initiatives. That policy stops short of Mrs. Clinton’s agreement with the Obama administration, which prohibited all foreign government donations while she served as the nation’s top diplomat.

The famous underside of the Obama bus is coming closer to Hillary.

A timeline of transactions and donations created by Timesman Wilson Andrews helps untangle to complicated transctions.  One of the key bodies involved is the:

Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee comprises some of the most powerful members of the cabinet, including the attorney general, the secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy, and the secretary of state. They are charged with reviewing any deal that could result in foreign control of an American business or asset deemed important to national security. (snip)

When ARMZ, an arm of Rosatom, took its first 17 percent stake in Uranium One in 2009, the two parties signed an agreement, found in securities filings, to seek the foreign investment committee’s review. But it was the 2010 deal, giving the Russians a controlling 51 percent stake, that set off alarm bells. Four members of the House of Representatives signed a letter expressing concern. Two more began pushing legislation to kill the deal.

Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, where Uranium One’s largest American operation was, wrote to President Obama, saying the deal “would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity.”

“Equally alarming,” Mr. Barrasso added, “this sale gives ARMZ a significant stake in uranium mines in Kazakhstan.”

One of the assurances given that ceding control to Russia was benign cited the alleged need to to have an export license in order to ship American uranium out of the country.  But the Times’ reporting revealed that this is a hollow safeguard:

Mr. Christensen, 65, [owner of a Wyoming ranch where uranium deposits are being mined by Uranium One] noted that despite assurances by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that uranium could not leave the country without Uranium One or ARMZ obtaining an export license — which they do not have — yellowcake from his property was routinely packed into drums and trucked off to a processing plant in Canada.

Asked about that, the commission confirmed that Uranium One has, in fact, shipped yellowcake to Canada even though it does not have an export license. Instead, the transport company doing the shipping, RSB Logistic Services, has the license. A commission spokesman said that “to the best of our knowledge” most of the uranium sent to Canada for processing was returned for use in the United States. A Uranium One spokeswoman, Donna Wichers, said 25 percent had gone to Western Europe and Japan. At the moment, with the uranium market in a downturn, nothing is being shipped from the Wyoming mines.

The “no export” assurance given at the time of the Rosatom deal is not the only one that turned out to be less than it seemed. Despite pledges to the contrary, Uranium One was eventually delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and taken private. As of 2013, Rosatom’s subsidiary, ARMZ, owned 100 percent of the company.

As I write, the story, published less than two hours ago, is being discussed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.  While MSNBC normally is pro-Democrat, the hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, openly mocked Clinton defenders on the show for demonizing Schweizer and following talking points and focused on the impact of growing public distrust of Hillary’s honesty.  It looks like this story is gaining traction, and a signal is going out to other Democrats that Hillary’s inevitability may not be beneficial to the party.

Meanwhile, Fox News is reporting that Peter Schweizer’s research group is planning to publish stories about the financial transactions of Jeb Bush and entities linked to him over the summer.

We live in interesting times.