Bill Clinton wanted State Department's permission to meet with Russian nuke official in 2010

The Hill, which broke the story about the possible bribery by Russian officials in the Uranium One deal, reports that Bill Clinton sought permission to meet with a Russian board member of the nuclear giant Rosatom during a trip to Moscow in 2010.

"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.

Uh-huh.  And the Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch airport conversation dealt only with grandchildren and recipes for cookies.

Actually, this reporting exposes a problem with the entire Uranium One story: lack of evidence.  Clinton asked to meet with the Rosatom board member, but there is no evidence he did.  There is also no evidence he discussed the deal with Vladimir Putin when he met with him.

But Bill Clinton had just recently been offered $500,000 to speak in Russia.  The list of officials he wanted to clear with the State Department was related to that trip.

And perhaps more significant than any Russian influence on the Uranium One deal is the Clinton involvement in encouraging U.S. investment in what has been called "the Russian Silicon Valley."

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."

Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to sell the Uranium One story as "old news" and a nothingburger.

Business Insider:

The Uranium One deal is well-tread territory for both Republicans and Trump. It first emerged as a point of contention following Breitbart News editor Peter Schewizer's 2015 book "Clinton Cash."

Trump has a history of dubious claims about the deal.

On the campaign trail in October 2016, Trump said that Clinton gave uranium to Russia "for a big payment," a claim that The Washington Post said was inaccurate.

When the transaction became politicized during the 2016 campaign, some experts cast doubt over the legitimacy of the Clinton connection, as well as the national security threat posed by the deal.

PolitiFact found that the US produces such little uranium that the "concerns were out of proportion," and pointed out that there was no existing evidence of "quid pro quo" between Clinton Foundation donations and the approval of the deal.

In a 2016 piece, The Washington Post's fact checker noted that although the State Department was one agency that had approval over the 2010 deal, there's no evidence Clinton herself had significant influence over it:

Of course, what's new in all this is the FBI bribery investigation.  This puts an entirely different spin on the issue, and any media organization worth its salt would be champing at the bit to investigate the story, looking for a Clinton-Russian connection that benefited the Clintons' foundation and their personal wealth.

But the press appears to be too busy trying to turn the death of Green Berets in Niger into the next "Benghazi" to show much curiosity about where this story might lead. 

There's a lot of smoke in this story that may be obscuring some fire.  Over the next couple of weeks, more is likely to be revealed as Congress hears from a witness to the bribery by Rosatom officials and Hillary Clinton's influence in the matter is fleshed out.

The Hill, which broke the story about the possible bribery by Russian officials in the Uranium One deal, reports that Bill Clinton sought permission to meet with a Russian board member of the nuclear giant Rosatom during a trip to Moscow in 2010.

"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.

Uh-huh.  And the Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch airport conversation dealt only with grandchildren and recipes for cookies.

Actually, this reporting exposes a problem with the entire Uranium One story: lack of evidence.  Clinton asked to meet with the Rosatom board member, but there is no evidence he did.  There is also no evidence he discussed the deal with Vladimir Putin when he met with him.

But Bill Clinton had just recently been offered $500,000 to speak in Russia.  The list of officials he wanted to clear with the State Department was related to that trip.

And perhaps more significant than any Russian influence on the Uranium One deal is the Clinton involvement in encouraging U.S. investment in what has been called "the Russian Silicon Valley."

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."

Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to sell the Uranium One story as "old news" and a nothingburger.

Business Insider:

The Uranium One deal is well-tread territory for both Republicans and Trump. It first emerged as a point of contention following Breitbart News editor Peter Schewizer's 2015 book "Clinton Cash."

Trump has a history of dubious claims about the deal.

On the campaign trail in October 2016, Trump said that Clinton gave uranium to Russia "for a big payment," a claim that The Washington Post said was inaccurate.

When the transaction became politicized during the 2016 campaign, some experts cast doubt over the legitimacy of the Clinton connection, as well as the national security threat posed by the deal.

PolitiFact found that the US produces such little uranium that the "concerns were out of proportion," and pointed out that there was no existing evidence of "quid pro quo" between Clinton Foundation donations and the approval of the deal.

In a 2016 piece, The Washington Post's fact checker noted that although the State Department was one agency that had approval over the 2010 deal, there's no evidence Clinton herself had significant influence over it:

Of course, what's new in all this is the FBI bribery investigation.  This puts an entirely different spin on the issue, and any media organization worth its salt would be champing at the bit to investigate the story, looking for a Clinton-Russian connection that benefited the Clintons' foundation and their personal wealth.

But the press appears to be too busy trying to turn the death of Green Berets in Niger into the next "Benghazi" to show much curiosity about where this story might lead. 

There's a lot of smoke in this story that may be obscuring some fire.  Over the next couple of weeks, more is likely to be revealed as Congress hears from a witness to the bribery by Rosatom officials and Hillary Clinton's influence in the matter is fleshed out.

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