To get a picture of the real “Russian Story,” first consider Russia’s state interests:
- Secure and maintain access to uranium for civil and military projects.
- Grow the influence of Russia’s state nuclear company, Rosatom.
- Protect Russia’s carbon-based fuel exports. Oil and gas sales make up 16% of Russia’s GDP, 70% of exports, and over half of revenues to the federal budget.
- Increase Russia’s foreign influence and power
Now, keeping these interests in mind, look back on Russian activities the past ten years or so:
- Russia began building nuclear reactors in Iran
- Rosatom (Russia’s state nuclear company) purchased Uranium One, a Canadian mining company, in 2013, securing access to, and control of, additional nuclear material
- Russia allegedly funds anti-fracking and anti-pipeline groups operating in the United States. This ensures that the U.S. does not produce more oil and gas and thereby protect’s Russia’s own exports.
Instrumental to these Russian goals and activities was the purchase of Uranium One by Rosatom and the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015. As mentioned above, the Uranium One deal helped secure Russian access to uranium. The Iran deal ensured that the planned Russian building of nuclear reactors in Iran could go ahead, all under the guise of ensuring that Iran does not use nuclear materials for weapons. In addition, the Obama administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline and opposition to coal and fracking served to further Russia’s economic interests (whether intended by the Obama administration or not). Therefore, in the end, Russia was the real beneficiary of these staples of the Obama administration.
How did the Uranium One deal come to be? First, since the Uranium One company had mines in the United States, its purchase had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. This approval came unanimously in 2010. Among the members of the Committee at the time were Hillary Clinton (then Secretary of State) and Eric Holder (then Attorney General). It is worth noting as well that Robert Mueller, currently leading the investigation of Russia’s interference of the U.S. election as special counsel, was then the head of the FBI, reporting to Holder.
These circumstances make what has now been revealed more interesting, for there is evidence that prior to the Uranium One deal being approved, the FBI uncovered evidence of Russian meddling, but didn’t report it for years. According to The Hill:
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States… They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow…
Thus, the Uranium One deal strengthened Russia’s position (it gave it access to 20% of the U.S.’ uranium) and was important enough for Russia to engage in whatever tactics necessary to get it approved.
With access to increased uranium reserves secured, how was Russia to benefit? One way was to grow another country’s nuclear program, providing equipment and services to do so. Iran was a convenient place for Russia to do this; it was estranged from the West, embroiled in sanctions, and a traditional ally of Russia. However, Russia needed international acceptance of Iran’s nuclear program to pull this off.
This necessary acceptance came with the Obama administration’s 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, which provided international approval of Iran’s civilian nuclear program. Russia could then continue with its plans to build additional reactors in Iran while supplying engineers, equipment, and uranium for them. Thus, both the Uranium One deal and the Iran Deal assisted Russia’s long-term goals.
Now, allegations have been made that not only did the FBI know about attempts by Russia to secure the approval of the Uranium One deal, but that they threatened a witness to prevent him from testifying before Congress.
Victoria Toensing, the attorney for an FBI confidential witness, alleged that the Obama Department of Justice blocked her client from informing Congress that Russian executives told him how they facilitated the Obama administration’s 2010 approval of the Uranium One deal and transferred millions of dollars in Russian nuclear funds to an entity assisting Bill Clinton’s foundation…. Bill Clinton accepted $500,000 in Russian speaking fees in 2010, as The New York Times reported in 2015; Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation.
With all these facts in mind, the conventional narrative that “Russia influenced the U.S. election to help Trump” not only begins to look inane, but also like a useful cover for the actions of the Obama administration and the Clinton State Department in assisting Russia in its commercial enterprises. And the person investigating the alleged Russian election interference is Robert Mueller, head of the FBI at the time in which the Uranium One deal was approved and during which Russian influence was discovered but not reported.