Archive for the ‘Robert Mueller’ category

Mueller Investigating Top DC Lobbyists: Five Things to Know About the New Turn

November 5, 2017

Mueller Investigating Top DC Lobbyists: Five Things to Know About the New Turn, BreitbartKristina Wong, November 5, 2017

(Please see also, Why Robert Mueller is making K Street Republicans and Democrats sweat. — DM)

Alex Wong/Getty

It’s not certain if this means that Trump’s campaign is in the clear yet with Russian collusion, but so far, none of the indictments are related to the campaign itself.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating another lobbyist in addition to Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta — former Republican congressman Vin Weber, according to a new report by the Associated Press. Mueller is also looking into law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. Here’s the five things to know about the investigation’s latest turn:

Who is Vin Weber?

Vin Weber, 65, is a former Republican congressman who represented southwest Minnesota from 1981 to 1993. He then served as secretary of the House Republican Conference and as an adviser to incoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He then worked as an influential lobbyist and political strategist for several Republican presidential campaigns. He is the leader of high-powered lobbying firm Mercury LLC.

Weber did not support President Trump’s candidacy, calling it a “mistake of historic proportions,” according to an August 3, 2016 CNBC article. “I won’t vote for Trump … . I can’t imagine I’d remain a Republican if he becomes president.”

According to the CNBC article, Weber is a friend and ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He speculated that Trump would withdraw from the race before the election.

Why is Weber now under investigation?

Weber is now under investigation due to Mercury LLC’s lobbying work in 2012 with Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, according to the AP article. On Monday, Mueller’s team unveiled indictments against Manafort and Gates, who are charged with 12 counts of money laundering, tax fraud, violating lobbying regulations, and making false statements.

The indictments mentioned “Company A” and “Company B,” which are Mercury and the Podesta Group respectively, according to NBC News.

According to the indictment, Mercury and the Podesta Group were paid $2 million from offshore accounts controlled by Manafort, and their work included lobbying “multiple members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections,” and the reasons for imprisoning Yulia Tymoshenko, the political rival of Russian-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The indictment shows that both Mercury and Podesta Group understood their lobbying efforts were being directed by the Ukrainian government, but neither company had registered their work in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), only filing retroactive disclosures after their lobbying was revealed in media reports.

NBC News reported last week that Mueller was investigating the Podesta Group. After the indictments were unsealed on Monday, Tony Podesta announced he was stepping down as chairman of the Podesta Group. He is the brother of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman.

What is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP?

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is an international law and lobbying firm, with more than 1,800 attorneys in offices across the world. Lobbyists working for the firm represent some of the largest political players in the country, according to OpenSecrets.org.

According to OpenSecrets.org: “The firm regularly brings in more than $1.5 million per year in lobbying income. The firm’s PAC expenditures show strong support for Democrats running for office, although these sums have decreased in recent years.”

Why are FBI agents expressing interest in the law firm?

The firm produced a report in 2012 that used to justify the Ukrainian government’s jailing of an opposition politician in Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, the AP report said. “How the report came to be is now in question,” the report said.

The report was written by former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig. The report found that her trial was “procedurally flawed but not marked by political persecution,” the report said.

“The Ukrainian justice ministry officials who supposedly commissioned the report trumpeted it as proof that Tymoshenko was not a political prisoner,” it said.

The indictment of Manafort and Gates said they used an offshore account to funnel $4 million to secretly pay for the report.

It’s not clear whether the law firm is under investigation yet, or if agents are simply asking questions about it.

What do these new investigations mean?

It appears that Mueller is moving beyond investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, now going after lobbyists who violated lobbying laws, or worked as foreign agents without properly registering it with the Justice Department.

Investigators are asking witnesses about meetings between Gates, Podesta, and Weber, and any communication with representatives of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, sources told the AP.

Specifically, they are asking what the lobbyists knew about the source of the funding they were receiving, and who was directing the work in 2012, which took place four years before Manafort became Trump’s campaign chairman.

It’s not certain if this means that Trump’s campaign is in the clear yet with Russian collusion, but so far, none of the indictments are related to the campaign itself.

George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy campaign adviser, had talked to Russian nationals and tried to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but there is no evidence that any such meeting happened.

Why Robert Mueller is making K Street Republicans and Democrats sweat

November 4, 2017

Why Robert Mueller is making K Street Republicans and Democrats sweat, Washington ExaminerSarah Westwood, November 4, 2017 

A special counsel investigation into allegations of collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russians could end up exposing illegal activity from lobbyists and consultants at some of Washington’s most powerful firms across the political spectrum.

At least three major lobbying firms have already been identified or had their work described in court documents laying out the criminal charges against two of Trump’s former campaign aides. Those former associates — Paul Manafort, who worked on Trump’s campaign between March and August 2016, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy — face a 12-count indictment related to the false foreign lobbying disclosure forms they filed after years of failing to register their activities, as well as their efforts to launder the millions of dollars they earned from their undisclosed lobbying.

But Democratic powerhouses could also get caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller’s massive investigation. And Mueller’s seeming willingness to crack down on a practice that insiders describe as common and usually tolerated by the government could send shockwaves through the K Street lobbying firms that have represented foreign clients for years without proper documentation.

“This whole scandal has made K Street very nervous,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “There’s every indication that ignoring and violating the requirements of [the Foreign Agents Registration Act] is fairly widespread.”

Under FARA, lobbyists who represent foreign leaders or entities in Washington must disclose the nature of their business relationships to the Justice Department within a certain timeframe. However, the agency’s inspector general found in a report last year that 62 percent of all FARA registrations were late and found that the number of lobbyists registering under FARA had plummeted in recent years, suggesting more lobbyists are simply choosing not to disclose their work.

“The Department of Justice has done an exceedingly lax job at enforcing FARA, and everybody knows it,” Holman said. “Only recently, because of this Russia connection scandal, has there been any effort at tracking down those who are in violation of FARA.”

Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, said Monday, after Manafort and Gates made their first appearances in court, that Mueller’s team had used a “novel theory” to build its case around a series of FARA violations despite the government’s sparse history of securing convictions using that law.

The pair of former Trump associates are far from the only Washington insiders facing pressure from investigators over their conduct, however.

Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman and co-founder of the Podesta Group, stepped down this week from his position as chairman of the lobbying firm he built into a Washington institution. The Democrat-leaning Podesta Group had already come under scrutiny for failing to register all of its lobbying activity in Ukraine, but the indictment against Manafort and Gates alleged that two unnamed companies — one of which is believed to be the Podesta Group — falsely represented the nature of their relationships to a think tank controlled by Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russia Ukrainian leader at the center of the scandal.

A former Obama administration official and the powerhouse law firm for which he works may also face scrutiny from Mueller’s team over work he performed for Manafort in Ukraine.

Gregory Craig, White House counsel for former President Barack Obama from January 2009 to January 2010, led a team that performed a supposedly neutral analysis in 2012 of the controversial trial that led to the conviction and imprisonment of Yanukovych’s political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.

Craig’s team at the major Washington law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom concluded that Yanukovych’s government had not locked up Tymoshenko for political reasons and found “no evidence” during the review to support the idea that Yanukovych’s government had abused the justice system. The report was described, at the time, as the product of an “independent” review that the Ukrainian government under Yanukovych commissioned and funded.

But a little-noticed passage in the 31-page indictment against Manafort and Gates suggests Manafort may have secretly steered the Skadden report in a direction favorable to Yanukovych and may have wired the report’s authors millions of dollars to secure a friendly conclusion.

“Manafort and Gates also lobbied in connection with the roll out of a report concerning the Tymoshenko trial commissioned by the Government of Ukraine,” Mueller’s team wrote in the indictment. “Manafort and Gates used one of their offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay secretly for the report.”

Craig did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The report his team produced at Skadden received criticism at the time for its failure to find Yanukovych responsible for misconduct in a case that many human rights advocates considered a politically motivated effort to extract revenge on a rival.

Freedom House, a nonpartisan democracy watchdog, called many of Skadden’s findings “utterly baffling” and described the report as “misguided.”

“Predictably, the Yanukovych government seized on this part of the report as proof that the proceedings had conformed to the norms of judicial fairness,” Freedom House noted in a December 2012 blog post about the Skadden report.

The State Department, then under Clinton’s leadership, criticized Skadden’s methodology shortly after it completed the review in December 2012, but stopped short of accusing the law firm of colluding with Yanukovych.

“I can’t speak to the relationship that the Ukrainian Government has with a private law firm in the United States,” then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said when asked in 2012 whether Yanukovych had purchased an exonerating review from Skadden. Manafort’s alleged secret payment in connection with the report was not known at the time.

The Podesta Group did not respond to a request for comment on its own activity in Ukraine, which allegedly extends beyond a simple FARA violation.

The firm registered in April its contract with the think tank cited in the indictment of Manafort and Gates. Podesta personally signed a document that said the Belgium-based think tank, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, hired the Podesta Group independently and directed all of the firm’s advocacy efforts, according to the Podesta Group’s lobbying disclosure forms.

A representative of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine signed her name to a statement in the documents, swearing that “none of the activities of the Centre are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized, in whole or in major part, by a government of a foreign country or foreign political party.”

But Mueller’s indictment alleges that the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was nothing more than a vehicle for Yanukovych to purchase more lobbying power in Washington while evading detection. The indictment also claims the Podesta Group and Mercury LLC, a Republican-leaning lobbying firm, took their marching orders from Manafort and Gates, not the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.

“To minimize public disclosure of their lobbying campaign, Manafort and Gates arranged for the Centre to be the nominal client of Company A and Company B, even though in fact the Centre was under the ultimate direction of the Government of Ukraine, Yanukovych, and the Party of Regions,” prosecutors wrote in the indictment. “For instance, Manafort and Gates selected Company A and Company B, and only thereafter did the Centre sign contracts with the lobbying firms without ever meeting either company. Company A and Company B were paid for their services not by their nominal client, the Centre, but solely through off-shore accounts associated with the Manafort and Gates entities.”

The second unnamed company, whose partnership with the Centre is thought to be described in the Manafort and Gates indictment, could bring Mueller’s scrutiny back to the Right side of the aisle. Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, is a partner at Mercury and signed his name to a FARA form that the firm filed in April for its work with the center.

Mercury retroactively registered its representation of the center just 16 days after the Podesta Group registered its own, according to disclosure forms.

Weber did not respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Mercury also did not return a request for comment.

Mercury’s FARA compliance has come under scrutiny in the past.

For example, the firm raised eyebrows earlier this year when it filed a foreign lobbying disclosure form that did not actually name a foreign client. Instead, Mercury noted it would be doing public relations work for “Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia & Greece,” while listing the Libertas Foundation, an American group, as its client. Libertas was incorporated just one day before Mercury filed its FARA form for the organization, BuzzFeed reported in June.

“Mercury Group should have asked at least, who’s funding Libertas?” said Holman, the FARA expert.

Holman predicted Mercury could face prosecution for its work in Ukraine.

“The fact that Mercury Group is now shown to have violated FARA twice, indicates that Mercury really is deliberately not complying with FARA,” Holman said.

Daniel Pickard, an attorney at Wiley Rein who advises clients on FARA, said the Justice Department brought just seven criminal cases related to violations of FARA between 1966 to 2015.

“On top of this, the FARA registration unit, which is composed of intelligent and hardworking professionals, has limited staff and resources but considerable responsibilities,” Pickard said of the Justice Department unit tasked with enforcing the rules surrounding foreign lobbying disclosures.

Trump, for his part, has sought to keep the focus on Democrats’ dealings with foreign powers, as the special counsel’s investigation has closed in on three of his former campaign aides.

The president and his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, have repeatedly insisted that the only “collusion” with Russia that occurred during the presidential race came at the hands of Democrats. Trump’s allies had been emboldened by the discovery last week that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee shared the cost of producing a dossier of Russia-related allegations against the Trump campaign. The former British spy who authored that dossier sourced some of his allegations to senior Russian officials, spawning the argument that Democrats had indeed teamed up with Russians to hurt Trump.

But the two indictments and one guilty plea unsealed by Mueller this week have relegated the dossier to a footnote of the Russia narrative.

Even so, White House aides are not yet worried that the special counsel’s investigation will do lasting damage to the president, a source close to the White House told the Washington Examiner.

“White House staffers are used to dealing with high-level crises because of the sheer volume has been very intense since January,” the source said. “However, if there are more dominoes that fall, such as a Jared Kushner indictment, that would really sink the morale inside the White House to the point of potential paralysis.”

Trump’s team has managed to insulate the White House from much of the Mueller drama by pointing to the unrelated nature of Manafort’s work for Yanukovych, most of which took place long before he joined the Trump campaign. Yanukovych was ousted from power in 2014, at which point he fled to Russia. And the White House has argued the campaign hand who pleaded guilty to lying about his ties to Russia, George Papadopoulos, was simply an overzealous volunteer who never wielded real influence within the campaign.

However, Mueller’s probe does pose a threat to K Street, and lobbyists from both parties will likely watch Manafort’s case with great interest to see which of their peers and practices will come under scrutiny.

Manafort made another appearance in court on Thursday.

Democrats demand Congress move to protect Mueller from Trump ire

October 30, 2017

Democrats demand Congress move to protect Mueller from Trump ire, Washington TimesSally Persons and Stephen Dinan, October 30, 2017

(Rumors are also being spread that Henny Penny will soon announce the imminent fall of the sky. Congress must immediately pass legislation to silence Henny Penny. Please see also, Manafort surrenders…What has this got to do with Trump? –DM)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Oct. 26, 2017. (Associated Press)

Democrats demanded Monday that Congress approve a bill preventing the special counsel from being fired after Robert Mueller unsealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials concerning their work with or on behalf of Russian interests.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, Virginia Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the charges against Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman and top deputy, and the guilty plea from a foreign policy advisor, are reasons to quickly protect Mr. Mueller from interference by an angry president.

“Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, must also make clear to the president that issuing pardons to any of his associates or to himself would be unacceptable, and result in immediate, bipartisan action by Congress,” Mr. Warner said in a statement.

Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, unsealed indictments against Paul Manafort, who served as Trump campaign chairman from March to August, and against his deputy Rick Gates, charging them with a long-running scheme to represent pro-Russian interests in Ukraine, laundering money and avoiding taxes for the operation, then lying to investigators to cover it up.

The crucial activity appeared to take place before 2014, or well before the campaign.

But Mr. Mueller also unsealed a guilty plea entered earlier this month by George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor, who admitted to lying to cover up contacts he had during the campaign with someone promising dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Democrats said the charges showed there were live targets for Mr. Mueller’s investigation within the Trump campaign operation, and said it’s a reason to defend the special counsel against interference.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, warned Mr. Trump not to intervene to help his two former associates.

“The president must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel’s work in any way. If he does so, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues,” he said.

Multiple congressional committees are probing Russian activities during the election, including Mr. Warner’s panel.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she still wants to see yet another investigation launched.

“Even with an accelerating Special Counsel investigation inside the Justice Department, and investigations inside the Republican Congress, we still need an outside, fully independent investigation to expose Russia’s meddling in our election and the involvement of Trump officials,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement.

Carlson Exposes Russia Story the Rest of Mainstream Media Missed

October 26, 2017

Carlson Exposes Russia Story the Rest of Mainstream Media Missed, Accuracy in Media, Brian McNicoll, October 25, 2017

(Please see also, DOJ lifts gag order; former FBI informant can tell Congress about 2010 uranium deal. — DM)

 

Carlson’s source said he had also been interviewed by Mueller, whom the source said is now more interested in those who facilitated Russian involvement in our political system as opposed to electoral collusion.

“Manafort was crystal clear Russia wanted to cultivate Hillary,” Carlson quoted the source as saying. Manafort, Tony and John Podesta, who went on to manage Clinton’s campaign, were “operatives on behalf of Russian business interests.”

“And now it turns out two people very close to Hillary Clinton were working for them. Obama administration in its effort to seek a closer relationship with Russia acquiescing in the sale of materials that are strategic and place American security interests at some risk.”

The last remark referred to other reporting this week that President Obama worked with Clinton during her time at the State Department to sell a fifth of the U.S. uranium supply to the Russians – another event that has received almost no coverage.

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Nowhere in the New York Times or Washington Post will you find it, but Tucker Carlson might have pulled off the scoop of the year on his show on Fox.

Paul Manafort has long been known to be at or near the center of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The FBI searched Manafort’s house, he was at the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., and the Russian lawyer who offered dirt on Hillary Clinton and his past as a lobbyist for foreign governments means he likely knows the people might collude with.

But the assumption has been that Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager for a brief period in the summer of 2016, was a problem for Trump and perhaps a link from underground Russian dealings to the Oval Office itself.

Carlson said that a former senior employee at the Podesta Group with “direct personal knowledge” of the Mueller investigation contacted the show because he was “motivated … by the disgust he felt watching media coverage.”

Not only are the media getting it wrong, he said, they are getting it backwards. 

The man told Carlson the Russians were deeply involved in American politics, but the real story – perhaps now even the focus of the Mueller investigation – has “almost nothing to do with the 2016 presidential campaign.”

Instead, it is about Manafort working for years with the Podesta Group on behalf of Russian government interests, the source told Carlson. Manafort was a regular in the Podesta offices and sought to influence the Obama administration, Congress and the Hillary Clinton State Department on behalf of Russian government interests.

Tony Podesta, in turn, was a constant voice in Hillary Clinton’s ear when she was secretary of state, working through David Adams, whom he hired from the State Department to improve access.

The man said he knows of at least one meeting held to “determine how to help Uranium One, whose board members gave $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

Carlson’s source said he had also been interviewed by Mueller, whom the source said is now more interested in those who facilitated Russian involvement in our political system as opposed to electoral collusion.

“Manafort was crystal clear Russia wanted to cultivate Hillary,” Carlson quoted the source as saying. Manafort, Tony and John Podesta, who went on to manage Clinton’s campaign, were “operatives on behalf of Russian business interests.”

The Podestas “are in the crosshairs,” Carlson concluded.

He then brought on Brit Hume, who agreed this revelation changed the story completely by complicating everyone’s idea of Manafort’s place in it and by revealing that Mueller “is on this” and may now be involved in “a more broad-gauged effort to determine the extent and depth of Russian efforts to influence American politics going back several years.”

But then raised perhaps an even more significant question.

The story “suggests what collusion that have been was between Paul Manafort and the Podesta Group on behalf of Russian interests,” Hume said. “What you’re coming around and getting at this now … how could it be that all these journalists chasing this story for lo these many months and never ran across this thing? How can that be?”

“It’s pretty striking, and it suggests the work done on this story has not been of the best quality or this would have turned up. I’d also suggest you have a pack of journalists who are so determined to follow one storyline that they completely missed this.

“And now it turns out two people very close to Hillary Clinton were working for them. Obama administration in its effort to seek a closer relationship with Russia acquiescing in the sale of materials that are strategic and place American security interests at some risk.”

The last remark referred to other reporting this week that President Obama worked with Clinton during her time at the State Department to sell a fifth of the U.S. uranium supply to the Russians – another event that has received almost no coverage.

“The tide may be turning in political terms and hopefully in journalistic tones,” Hume said.

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe

October 19, 2017

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, October 18, 2017

(Please see also, How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One? — DM)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

At the end of their lengthy editorial regarding the new Uranium One revelations —  “Team Obama’s stunning coverup of Russian crimes” — the New York Post editorial board writes:

Until September 2013, the FBI director was Robert Mueller — who’s now the special counsel probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It’s hard to see how he can be trusted in that job unless he explains what he knew about this Obama-era cover-up.

I’ll go the Post one better. Virtually whatever Mueller has to say about his involvement or non-involvement in this metastasizing scandal, he must recuse himself immediately for the most obvious reasons of propriety and appearance. Frankly, it’s outrageous that he, Ron Rosenstein, or anyone who even touched the Uranium One investigation now be involved with the current probe — unless the real name of the FBI is actually the NKVD.  This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, even remotely.  Forget transparency — this was deliberate occlusion.

The collusion Trump & Co have been accused of is chickenfeed compared to twenty percent of U.S. uranium ending up in Putin’s hands under the aegis of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, the latter two members of CFIUS (the inter-agency committee that reviews the transfer of U.S. companies to foreign entities and was then chaired by Timothy Geithner).  We have heard disturbing allegations of this for some time, via “Clinton Cash” and even from the New York Times, but the new disclosure that a 2009 FBI investigation of this possible nucleardeal uncovered kickbacks, money laundering, and bribes from the Russian company involved (Rosatom) and yet it still was given the go-ahead by the Obama administration is — I can think of no better word — appalling.  How could it have come to pass that this occurred?  Why are we supposed to believe anyone now?

On Wednesday, Senator Grassley asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “What are you doing to find out how the Russian takeover of the American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by the Russia company that the Obama administration approved the purchase?”

Evidently, not much.  At least so far. In fact Sessions said that Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein, who led this long-hidden investigation, should “investigate himself.”

No, Jeff.  You may have properly recused yourself from the Russian investigation, despite Trump’s criticism, but this one is your job.  You run the Department of Justice and therefore the FBI.  Something is rotten as much as it ever was in Denmark.  Indeed it’s worse, since nuclear weapons were not even dreamed of in Hamlet’s time.  So don’t be like Hamlet.  Act now.

For starters, Mueller must step down.  We cannot have an investigation of this magnitude that half the country will completely disrespect — and for increasingly good reason.  History will mock it, also for good reason.  On top of that, with our country as split as it is, the results could be catastrophic.

Equally important, the reputation of the FBI must be resuscitated.  Speaking entirely as a private citizen, I do no trust the FBI anymore. To be honest, it scares me. And I am certain I am not alone.  It feels like an often-biased organization so bent on self-preservation that it hides evidence and lets the powerful off the hook. That’s the royal road to totalitarianism.  No, it’s not the NKVD yet.  No one that I know of is being hauled off in the middle of the night.  But very few of us know what it is really up to, how it makes its frequently dubious decisions, or whether it is working for the good of the citizenry at all.  Almost everything we learn of its investigations is so heavily redacted, no one but one of the myriad leakers seems to know what it means — and they’re usually lying.  This, as they say, will not end well.

People can dismiss my view by claiming I am a right-wing ideologue, but the problem transcends administrations, as have FBI directors.  Something is wrong with the system.  No one seems to be watching the watchers, from the FBI to the NSA.  Other than Senator Grassley, will anyone have the guts to save us?

How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One?

October 19, 2017

How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One? American ThinkerDaniel John Sobieski, October 19, 2017

Back in July, I called for a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s collusion with Russia to turn over control of 20 percent of our uranium supplies to Russian interests in return for some $145 million in donation to the Clinton Foundation. Now it turns out that there was one, an FBI investigation dating back to 2009, with current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller up to their eyeballs in covering up evidence of Hillary’s collusion, bordering on treason, with Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

Prior to the Obama administration approving the very controversial deal in 2010 giving Russia 20% of America’s Uranium, the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering in order to benefit Vladimir Putin, says a report by The Hill….

John Solomon and Alison Spann of The Hill: Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show….

From today’s report we find out that the investigation was supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who is now President Trump’s Deputy Attorney General, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now the deputy FBI director under Trump.

Robert Mueller was head of the FBI from Sept 2001-Sept 2013 until James Comey took over as FBI Director in 2013. They were BOTH involved in this Russian scam being that this case started in 2009 and ended in 2015.

If evidence of bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering in the Uranium One affair are not grounds for a special prosecutor assigned to investigate Hillary Clinton, what is? Rosenstein and Mueller, by their silence on this investigation hidden from Congress and the American people, are unindicted co-conspirators in Hillary’s crimes and should be terminated immediately.

One can understand the Obama Justice Department covering up and slow-waking this investigation, but what about the Trump DOJ and our missing-in-action Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Was this the reason Democrats were hot-to-trot on him recusing himself from all things Russian? How could Rosenstein sit before Congress and not say anything, only to appoint Mueller to investigate Team Trump? Rosenstein and Mueller are poster children for duplicity and corruption.

Collusion itself is not a crime but jeopardizing American national security by conspiring to supply the Russian nuclear program with our uranium is a crime of the highest order. No one to date has provided any evidence that any favor was granted as a result of that meeting or that the Trump campaign benefited in any way from the meeting.

One cannot say the same thing about Hillary Clinton and her role in the Uranium One deal with Russia. Clinton played a pivotal role in the UraniumOne deal which ended up giving Russian interests control of 20 percent of our uranium supply in exchange for donations of $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a federal crime. As Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer has noted:

Tuesday on Fox Business Network, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Breitbart editor at large and the author of “Clinton Cash,” Peter Schweizer said there needs to be a federal investigation into the Russian uranium deal then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved after the Clinton Foundation receiving $145 million from the shareholders of Uranium One…

Discussing the Clinton Foundation receiving $145 million from the shareholders of Uranium One, he continued, “Look, there are couple of things that are extremely troubling about the deal we touched on. number one is the amount of money $145 million. We are not talking about a super PAC giving a million dollars to support a candidate. We are not talking about campaign donations. We are talking about $145 million which by the way is 75 percent or more of the annual budget of the Clinton Foundation itself so it’s a huge sum of money. Second of all we are talking about a fundamental issue of national security which is uranium — it’s not like oil and gas that you can find all sorts of places. They are precious few places you can mine for uranium, in the United States is one of those areas. And number three we are talking about the Russian government. A lot of people don’t realize it now, in parts of the Midwest American soil is owned by Vladimir Putin’s government because this deal went through. And in addition to the $145 million Bill Clinton got half a million dollars, $500,000 for a 20-minute speech from a Russian investment bank tied to the Kremlin, two months before the State Department signed off on this deal. It just stinks to high heaven and I think it requires a major investigation by the federal government.”

Yet seemingly the only thing warranting a major federal investigation is a wasted 20 minutes of Donald Trump Jr’s life that he will never get back. Democrats and the media and, again, apologies for the redundancy, had no problem with Bill Hillary Clinton brokering deals giving Russia and Putin 20 percent of our uranium supply to benefit Clinton Foundation donors, including Canadian billionaire Frank Giustra.

Giustra earlier had a cozy relationship with Bill Clinton and participated in and benefitted from his involvement in a scam run by the Clinton Foundation in Colombia.

Clinton donor Giustra benefited significantly from his association, even if the people of Columbia didn’t:

When we met him (Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo) in his wood-paneled office in Colombia’s Capitol building in May, his desk was stacked high with papers related to Pacific Rubiales’s labor practices, the result of years of investigative work by his staff. He did not see the Clinton Foundation and its partnership with Giustra’s Pacific Rubiales as either progressive or positive. “The territory where Pacific Rubiales operated,” he said, thumbing through pages of alleged human-rights violations, “was a type of concentration camp for workers.”…

In September 2005, Giustra and Clinton flew to Kazakhstan together to meet the Central Asian nation’s president. Shortly thereafter, Giustra secured a lucrative concession to mine Kazakh uranium, despite his company’s lack of experience with the radioactive ore. As Bill Clinton opened doors for Giustra, the financier gave generously to Clinton’s foundation.

As the New York Times reported, this mutual back-scratching gave Clinton donor Giustra control of a significant portion of the world’s uranium supply:

Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton…

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges…

In February 2007, a company called Uranium One agreed to pay $3.1 billion to acquire UrAsia. Mr. Giustra, a director and major shareholder in UrAsia, would be paid $7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share.

Now isn’t that special? Both the Clintons and their donor made out handsomely. Uranium One, which was gradually taken over by the Russians, would later be involved in a curious deal involving Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. As the New York Times reported:

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.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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…

Soon, Uranium One began to snap up companies with assets in the United States. In April 2007, it announced the purchase of a uranium mill in Utah and more than 38,000 acres of uranium exploration properties in four Western states, followed quickly by the acquisition of the Energy Metals Corporation and its uranium holdings in Wyoming, Texas and Utah.

So in exchange for donations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with husband Bill, gave Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a nuclear power, control of 20 percent of the world’s uranium supply. Is that what Hillary Clinton meant by a “Russian reset”? Yet neither Congressional Democrats, who accuse Trump and his son of being too cozy with Moscow, nor their wholly owned subsidiary, the mainstream media, are eager to talk about the Clinton uranium deals with Russia.

Actually, we no longer need an investigation of Hillary Clinton and Uranium One. This FBI investigation in conjunction to what we already knew is prima facie evidence of criminal corruption and intentionally putting of American national security at risk for personal financial gain. If an indictment of Hilary Clinton is not forthcoming, then Jeff Sessions should also be fired.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Mueller and Trump Prepare for War with America the Loser

July 22, 2017

Mueller and Trump Prepare for War with America the Loser, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, July 21, 2017

Watergate ended with a whimper, not a bang. After months of sturm und drang, Richard Nixon finally mounted that helicopter, gave that famous farewell peace sign and flew away. Most Americans were relieved to see him go. Our long national nightmare was over.

If something similar happens to Donald Trump, it will be entirely different. A significant portion of the American public — myself admittedly among them — will be convinced he has been railroaded in a partisan hatchet job. The voters who elected the president are going to feel, at the very least, undermined, more likely betrayed,  by their own government and public officials. Many are going to feel this has nothing to do whatsoever with justice and will act accordingly.

The exact results of this mammoth national split are not easy to predict but they could range from massive civil disobedience to outright civil war.

The behavior of special prosecutor Robert Mueller has exacerbated the situation. Even CNN admits he has staffed his investigation almost exclusively with Democratic Party supporters and donors. It’s hard to say whether this is brazen or stupid or both, but it certainly doesn’t lend credibility to his eventual decisions. At the very least it’s extremely unsophisticated for a former director of the FBI — but perhaps that’s really the way it is. Nothing (and no one) can stand in the way of prosecution.

And then there are the leaks that emerge from his supposedly confidential investigation at seemingly a mile a minute pace. The (always) anonymous creeps who do this are sleazy individuals who — under the mega-narcissistic pretense that they are informing the public of something of importance — undercut everything everyone has ever known about the rule of law. They are, effectively, enemies of the state and even more, of the American people — and pompous ones into the bargain.  It would be poetic justice to send them all to Gitmo.

The most recent of these leaks — published as is so frequently the case by that junk scandal sheet formerly known as The Washington Post — tells us that AG Sessions was supposedly talking about the Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. What Sessions said exactly, which could have been something completely innocuous and no more than a sentence or two, if indeed he did say anything at all, was of course not mentioned. If it was something serious, most likely it would have been specified, but then who knows. We don’t know if this leak is first, second or fifth hand. We don’t know anything about the source. We don’t know anything about the content. We just have the smear. Not surprisingly too, this leak — a character assassination really — was again anonymous (what else?). When Joe McCarthy made his famous character assassinations, at least he had the guts to do it under his own name. (Yes, I know McCarthy turned out to be right in some instances.)

Mr. Mueller runs a tight ship, no? (Maybe he doesn’t even want to. Comey certainly didn’t care. He leaked himself.)

The situation is grim all around. Trump, lawyering up, is obviously preparing for war against Mueller who, in his turn, is apparently digging into information regarding the president’s ten-year-old Russian business dealings. Again, this is a fraught decision because everyone in the informed public is aware of the myriad Clinton-Russia connections (including Uranium One) detailed in Clinton Cash that were, as far as we know, never investigated by the FBI, not to mention the well-documented Russian business connections of John Podesta and his brother.

If Trump and his family are singled out for this when the Democrats have skated, this will be regarded by a vast proportion of the public as selective prosecution further exacerbating the ominous possible results I referred to above.

To take any of this seriously as a search for truth is absurd. It’s more like a blood sport, the modern equivalent of a gladiatorial. Trump baiting. And Trump, as the bear, lashes out.

He has reason to. As everyone knows, cooks cook, plumbers fix the plumbing, and prosecutors prosecute. It’s what they do, part of their personality structure. Especially if the prey is big, and they don’t bring in at least one or two significant players, they feel as if they haven’t done their job. So they work and work until they do — nab someone for something. Trump knows this. The media know this. We all know it.

And bad as it may be for Trump, it’s going to be even worse for We the People.

En garde!