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The Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017, Story 1: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community Including FBI and National Security Agency To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off  The Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Obama’s DOJ and FBI To Clear Hillary Clinton and FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony On Russian Rosatom Bribery, Extortion and Kickbacks — The Political Scandal of The Century — American People Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation — Videos — Story 2: Republican House and Senate Agree on Tax Bill — Rush To Pass Bill Before Congressional Christmas Break — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve As Expected Raises Federal Funds Target Rate Range By .25% to Between 1.25% and 1.5% — Expect Three Hikes in 2018 or Four Hikes If Economy Booming — Videos — Story 3: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off Together With FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony — The Political Scandal of The Century — Videos — We wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017 posted as soon as possible

Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1011, December 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1008, December 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 991, October 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

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Story 1: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community Including FBI and National Security Agency To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off  The Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Obama’s DOJ and FBI To Clear Hillary Clinton and FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony On Russian Rosatom Bribery, Extortion and Kickbacks — The Political Scandal of The Century — American People Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation — Videos

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The Latest on a Biased Bureau

“Stunning Examples of Bias Taint Mueller Probe”

Chaffetz on the Inspector General and the DOJ/FBI Scrutiny

Penn: Mueller and FBI face a crisis in public confidence

Mueller probe paints a picture of a banana republic: Ken Blackwell

Sen. Grassley calls for greater scrutiny of Strzok’s texts

Evidence of “Brazen” FBI Plot Deepens and Thickens

Trump addresses FBI event after criticizing agency

DOJ bias is like a cancer: Rep. Gaetz

Deep State Conspiracy Revealed – Bruce Ohr’s CIA Russia Expert Wife Worked with Fusion GPS

New Revelations Regarding Hillary’s Exoneration by the FBI

Judge Nap on the Mueller Probe Bias and More

Tom Fitton on credibility problems of DOJ and FBI

Gohmert on New Allegations of Bias in Mueller/Russia Probe

Gohmert on Peter Strzok’s Biased & Vengeful Text Exchanges

Judge Nap: Too Early to Say Mueller Probe Is Biased Against Trump

Documents confirm language softened in Comey’s Clinton memo

Gingrich on cesspool of corruption covering up for Clintons

DOJ SCANDAL: List of democrats making donations to Bob Mueller’s team EXPOSED

Trey Gowdy on FBI Dep Director Andrew McCabe – Surprised if Still an FBI Employee Next Week

OMG!!ROBERT MUELLERS INVESTIGATIONS JUST ESCALATED TO ANOTHER LEVEL.SEE HOW.”DEEPER THAN YOU THINK”

EXPOSED! How the FBI, DOJ conspired to stop President Trump. What will happen to Bob Mueller now?

FBI’s Strzok & Page in Andrew McCabe’s Office Discuss ‘Insurance Policy’ to Prevent Trump Election

Mueller’s Russiagate Prosecution Is Imploding Before His Eyes While DOJ and FBI Scandals Metastasize

OMG!! Bob Mueller JUST confessed to Coup d’état plot against President Trump

Congressman Jim Jordan sends SHOCKING WARNING to Jeff Sessions, Bob Mueller will be trembling now!

JUST IN: Judge reveals names of corrupt FBI and DOJ officials to be arrested

Fox News obtains texts between FBI agent Strzok, lawyer

Hannity 12/5/2017 – Sean Hannity Dec 5, 17 on Fox News

Demoted top DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS of dossier fame

Congressman Jim Jordan sends SHOCKING WARNING to Jeff Sessions, Bob Mueller will be trembling now!

Jordan: We need to depose Peter Strzok, talk to Bruce Ohr

“Peter Strzok is the SMOKING GUN!!” Hannity and Ben Shapiro Break it Down

Bret Baier and Trey Gowdy speak about Strzok

Mueller, Strzok, Comey should the subjects of criminal investigations: Lou Dobbs

FBI Hillary Cheerleader Peter Strzok Changed Comey Language That Exonerated Hillary

Former FBI Ass’t Dir says DoJ cabal is a conspiracy

Hannity: Rosenstein pretends not to see evidence of bias

Body Language: Rosenstein Mueller Expansion

BREAKING: JW Sues FBI Over Removal of FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok from Mueller Operation

“The FBI Belongs to the VOTERS!!” Tucker GOES OFF on FBI Leaders

‘NUCLEAR’ Sen. Grassley Lashes out at FBI, DOJ in Fiery Senate Floor Speech

Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Obama knew about the Russian dossier: Tony Shaffer

Rpt: Obama Aligned Group Paid Law Firm That Hired Fusion GPS To Create Dossier – Story

Obama campaign connection to Fusion GPS

FBI Comey “Don’t call us weasels” Trey Gowdy Grills FBI James Comey On Hillary Clinton’s Email

Judge Nap on FBI Bias and More

Corruption at the FBI

The FBI Now Under Intense Scrutiny Over McCabe Potential Hatch Violations

BOMBSHELL Sen. Grassley “THE FIX WAS IN..Congress has the Right to Know”

Gohmert Speaks on House Floor about the Recent Rosenstein Hearing

What happened during Andrew McCabe’s testimony at Senate Intelligence hearing?

Acting FBI director McCabe gets GRILLED on James Comey Firing & Trump Russia Connections

Acting FBI director contradicts White House on Comey

Judge Napolitano on acting FBI director McCabe’s ties to Clinton ally

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

 

Fusion GPS admits DOJ official’s wife Nellie Ohr hired to probe Trump

A co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS acknowledged in a new court document that his company hired the wife of a senior Justice Department official to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump last year.

The confirmation from Glenn Simpson came in a signed declaration filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and provided a fuller picture of the nature of Nellie Ohr’s work – after Fox News first reported on her connection to Fusion GPS.

Her husband, Bruce Ohr, was demoted at the DOJ last week for concealing his meetings with the same company, which commissioned the anti-Trump “dossier” containing salacious allegations about the now-president. Together, the Fusion connections for Mr. and Mrs. Ohr have raised Republican concerns about objectivity at the Justice Department, and even spurred a call from Trump’s outside counsel for a separate special prosecutor.

Simpson’s statement shows Mrs. Ohr was indeed involved in the Trump research. He said bank records reflect Fusion GPS contracted with her “to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.”

WIFE OF DEMOTED DOJ OFFICIAL WORKED FOR TRUMP DOSSIER FIRM

Further, Simpson said he disclosed to the House intelligence committee that he met personally with Bruce Ohr, “at his request, after the November 2016 election to discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election.”

Fox News first reported last week that Bruce Ohr had been demoted at the DOJ amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with Fusion GPS. Evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the “dossier.” Additionally, as acknowledged in the court filing, he met with Simpson after the election.

bruceohr

DOJ official Bruce Ohr was demoted amid questions over his contacts with Fusion GPS figures.  (AP)

Fusion GPS has attracted scrutiny because Republican lawmakers have spent the better part of this year investigating whether the dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, served as the basis for the Justice Department and the FBI to obtain FISA surveillance last year on a Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page.

On Tuesday, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow called for the appointment of a separate special prosecutor to look into potential conflicts of interest involving Justice Department and FBI officials.

A group of House Republicans for months has called for the appointment of a second special counsel to probe certain Obama and Clinton-related controversies, something Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing.

When asked Tuesday about the Sekulow call, Sessions noted he’s already ordered that review following the prior call from members of Congress.

“I’ve put a senior attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me … if things aren’t being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met,” he said, calling that the “appropriate” course.

Fox News’ James Rosen and John Roberts contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/13/fusion-gps-admits-doj-officials-wife-nellie-ohr-hired-to-probe-trump.html

A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now.

 December 4

The Post reported that a former top FBI official, Peter Strzok, who had been assigned to and then removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, had “exchanged politically charged texts disparaging [President] Trump and supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton” and that Strzok was “also a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.”

This is a blockbuster revelation, carrying the possibility of shattering public confidence in a number of long-held assumptions about the criminal-justice system generally and the FBI and the Justice Department specifically. The Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate Strzok’s actions as soon as possible.

The Strzok report comes on the heels of the widely derided Justice Department investigation into IRS discrimination against conservative groups, including the disposition of allegations against IRS senior official Lois Lerner, and after the wildly erratic behavior of then-FBI Director James B. Comey during 2016. It also follows the vote to hold then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress — the first ever against a sitting member of the Cabinet — with 17 Democrats voting in support. Mix into this battering of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s reputations the still-murky charges and counter-charges of abuse of “unmasking” powers during the waning days of the Obama era.

As a result, a large swath of responsible center-right observers are demanding a full review of the investigation and prosecution powers wielded by the Obama-era Justice Department and FBI. Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in National Review on Saturday that President Trump should call for a second independent counsel to investigate abuse of the counterintelligence authorities under President Barack Obama, abuses he suggests were undertaken to protect the controversial Iran deal on nuclear weapons.

This is an excellent idea. The new special counsel could also review Strzok’s texts and, more crucially, his conduct throughout 2015 and 2016. Strzok may be completely innocent of everything except an offhand joke that the straight-laced Mueller deemed necessary to punish in a display of a “Caesar’s wife” sort of purity of purpose. But if his texts to FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal a partisan animus toward Trump or admiration for Clinton, then the bureau and the department have a huge problem on their hands and not just with Strzok and Page.

When FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen was revealed to have committed espionage against the United States, it didn’t mean that even one other member of the bureau was guilty of Hanssen’s sins, but it did require a painstaking review of all of Hanssen’s activities and inputs, as all of them had to be reconsidered in light of his treasonous behavior.

If Strzok’s texts reveal deep animus toward Trump or an operational effort to tilt one or more investigations, then all of his actions have to be reviewed to assure the public’s confidence in the bureau. That one or two agents or officials of the bureau are discovered to have been acting from improper motives would be bad enough. To try and sweep those activities under the rug would be worse. Against the backdrop of other recent controversies, it would be disastrous.

Step one is a quick publication of the questionable texts. All of them. The public has a right to know what the predicate for Mueller’s extraordinary action was. The public also deserves a detailed account of Strzok’s (and Page’s) duties and authorities during the years in question. If an NBA official was discovered to have purposefully thrown even one game, every game in which he had carried a whistle would be under the microscope. That’s how it works.

Unless there’s a coverup.

Nevertheless, just as Hanssen was “one bad apple” who didn’t spoil the bunch, so even an out-of-bounds Strzok doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the FBI beyond him. To get to the truth, and restore confidence in federal law enforcement, a special counsel should conduct an inquiry, bring any necessary charges and make a report — someone without ties to the president or his opponents.

They do exist, such men and women. Former federal judges make excellent candidates. But we need one appointed right now.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-special-counsel-needs-to-investigate-the-fbi-and-justice-department-now/2017/12/04/5ca1234c-d916-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html?utm_term=.3035631daa63

Meet the Inspector General

Photo of Michael E. Horowitz

Michael E. Horowitz was confirmed as Inspector General for the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the U.S. Senate on March 29, 2012, and sworn in as the fourth confirmed Inspector General on April 16, 2012. Since 2015, he has simultaneously served as the Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).

As Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz oversees a nationwide workforce of more than 450 special agents, auditors, inspectors, attorneys, and support staff whose mission is to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel, and to promote economy and efficiency in Department operations.

Prior to serving as Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz worked as a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft LLP, where he focused his practice on white collar defense, internal investigations, and regulatory compliance. He also was a board member of the Ethics Resource Center and the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics. From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Horowitz served as a Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Mr. Horowitz previously worked for DOJ in the Criminal Division at Main Justice from 1999 to 2002, first as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then as Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1999. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Horowitz was the Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and from 1995 to 1997, he was a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. In 1995, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his work on a complex police corruption investigation.

Before joining the DOJ, Mr. Horowitz was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and clerked for Judge John G. Davies of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Mr. Horowitz earned his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.

https://oig.justice.gov/about/meet-ig.htm

 

Peter P. Strzok II[1] (born c. 1970[2]) (English pronunciation: /stɹʌk/like “struck”[3][4]) is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent currently assigned to its Human Resources Branch.

Until July 2017, Strzok served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and the top FBI agent working for Robert Mueller in the 2017 Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[5][6][7][8][9][10]He also served as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section during the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.[4]

Education and personal life

Strzok attended high school in Minnesota.[11] He earned a bachelors degree from Georgetown University in 1991 and returned to earn a master’s degree there in 2013.[12]

He is married to Melissa Hodgman, an associate director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[13][14][15] His father worked for many years as an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and after 1980 worked in villages of several West African countries.[16]

Career

Strzok served as a captain[citation needed] in the United States Army before joining the FBI in the 1990’s as an intelligence research specialist.[9][17]

Clinton email server investigation

By July 2015, Strzok was serving as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section[4] and a led a team of a dozen investigators to examine Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.[18] After the investigation was closed, Strzok changed draft language being prepared for then-FBI Director James Comey, which had described Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent“, which may be a criminal offense, to “extremely careless”. The draft was reviewed and corrected by several people and its creation was a team process.[4] Strzok and his team also helped review newly discovered Clinton emails days before Election Day.[18]

Russia election interference investigation

By July 2016, Strzok had been promoted to Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and oversaw espionage investigations involving Russia and China.[6][9] According to The New York Times, he was “considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators”.[17] He was also “considered to be one of the Bureau’s top experts on Russia” according to CNN.[4] He signed the document opening the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[4][19] Strzok then led that investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, including the Russian role in the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak and the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[20][3][18] He also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn later pled guilty to lying to the FBI.[21]

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation

Strzok was the top FBI agent working for Robert Mueller‘s special counsel investigation of foreign electoral intervention by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, initiated by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017 after the firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Trump.[22][23] Earlier, in January 2017, the DOJ’s Inspector General (IG), Michael E. Horowitz, had begun an inquiry to review how the FBI handled investigations related to the election.[17][24] In late July 2017, the IG’s inquiry discovered text messages transmitted between Strzok and Lisa Page, a trial attorney on Mueller’s team. The text messages were sent between August 2015 and December 2016[25][26] and were anti-Donald Trump in nature.[27][28] They also contained personal information concerning to the Justice Department (DOJ), allegedly about an extramarital affair.[5] Mueller removed Strzok from his team the week after a search warrant was executed at the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.[29][30] Strzok was reassigned to the FBI’s Human Resources Branch and Page returned to working for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe shortly thereafter.[31][32] Fox News reported that a source close to the IG’s ongoing inquiry said it will include examining Strzok’s participation in other politically sensitive matters, and that it should be complete “very early next year.”[33] The IG announced it will issue a report in March or April of 2018 at the latest.[17] At the request of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the DOJ agreed to allow Strzok to be interviewed and turned over 375 partially redacted text messages between Strzok and Page to the House Judiciary Committee.[25][26][34]

According to Strzok’s colleagues and a former Trump administration official, Strzok had not previously shown any overt political bias.[2][27] An associate of his says the political parts of the text messages were especially related to Trump’s criticism of the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton emails.[2] Some GOP U.S. representatives cited the anti-Trump messages as evidence of Strzok’s bias. However, in his private correspondence with Page, Strzok had also made disparaging remarks about Eric Holder, Attorney General in the Obama administration, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (a Democrat), and Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.[35][36] According to FBI guidelines, agents are allowed to have and express political opinions as individuals. Former FBI and DOJ officials told The Hill that it was possible for agents like Strzok to hold political opinions and still conduct an impartial investigation.[37] Several agents said that Mueller removed Strzok in order to protect the integrity of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Since there was no proof that Strzok did anything wrong, he was not punished following his reassignment.[38][39] Defenders of Strzok and Page in the FBI said that no professional misconduct between them occurred.[27]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Strzok

 

2017 Special Counsel investigation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2017 Special Counsel investigation is an ongoing investigation in the United States led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel under supervision of the United States Department of Justice. Mueller is exploring any links or coordination between Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government as part of the election interference that Russia conducted against the U.S. in 2016.

Mueller’s investigation subsumed several existing FBI investigations including those involving former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. In August 2017, Mueller’s investigation reportedly expanded to include several lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group. Mueller has assembled a team of attorneys to conduct the investigation into links between Trump associates and Russian officials along with related matters.

On October 30, 2017, Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI on charges brought by the special counsel unrelated to the Trump campaign. On the same day, Mueller’s team revealed that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to FBI agents about contacts he had with agents of the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign in 2016, and was cooperating with investigators. On December 1, 2017, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI, and confirmed that he is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.[1]


Appointments


Policy positions





Business and personal


Donald Trump's signature

Seal of the President of the United States.svg

 

Origin and powers

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, a former Director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). In this capacity, Mueller oversees the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”.[2] As special counsel, Mueller has the power to issue subpoenas,[3] hire staff members, request funding, and prosecute federal crimes in connection with the election interference.[4]

The appointment followed a series of events that included President Donald Trump‘s firing of FBI director James Comey and Comey’s allegation that Trump asked him to drop the FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.[5]

Rosenstein, in his role as Acting Attorney General due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has authority over the use of DOJ resources by Mueller and the investigation. In an interview with the Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of Comey.[6] If Rosenstein were to recuse himself, his duties in this matter would be assumed by the Justice Department’s third-in-command, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[7]

Grand juries

On August 3, 2017, Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC, as part of his investigation. The grand jury has the power to subpoena documents, require witnesses to testify under oath, and indict suspects on criminal charges if enough evidence is found.

The Washington grand jury is separate from an earlier Virginia grand jury investigating Michael Flynn; the Flynn case has been absorbed into Mueller’s overall investigation.[8]

Grand jury testimony

The grand jury has issued subpoenas to those involved in the Trump campaign–Russian meeting held on June 9, 2016, at Trump Tower, which was also the location of Trump’s presidential campaign headquarters.[9]

  • Russian-born lobbyist and former Soviet Army officer, Rinat Akhmetshin, testified under oath for several hours on August 11, 2017, as a participant in the Donald Trump Jr meeting.[10][11]
  • Jason Maloni, spokesman for Paul Manafort, testified under oath for two and one-half hours.[12] Maloni was employed by Manafort following the five months he served as Chairman of Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, to answer questions about Manafort’s involvement in Trump’s campaign.

The grand jury subpoenaed witness testimony from the executives of six public relations firms, who worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on lobbying efforts in Ukraine.[13]

Legal teams

Mueller and investigation team

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Upon his appointment as the Special Counsel, Mueller resigned his position at the Washington office of law firm WilmerHale, along with two colleagues, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III.[14][15] On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[16]

Politico proposed that the “ideal team” would likely have six to eight prosecutors, along with administrative assistants and experts in areas such as money laundering or interpreting tax returns.[17] By August 1, 2017, Mueller, who has an active role in managing the inquiry,[18] hired 16 lawyers,[19] and had a total staff of over three dozen, including investigators and other non-attorneys.[20]

Members of the team include:[17][21][22][23][24][25][26]

Mueller has also added unidentified agents of the IRS Criminal Investigations Division to his team. “This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.”[41]

In December 2017, Weissmann and Strzok were accused of an anti-Trump bias because of an email directed to Sally Yates praising her refusal to defend Executive Order 13769 in court, and a similarly-worded text message. [42][43] House Conservatives have since ramped up accusations that the investigation is manned by personnel with an “anti-Trump” bias who “let Clinton off easy last year”.[44]

Trump’s defense team

Members of the team include or have included:[45]

Topics of investigations

Russian election interference

The primary responsibility of the special counsel is “to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election”. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded “with high confidence” that the Russian government interfered in the election by hacking into the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the personal Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and forwarded their contents to WikiLeaks,[50][51][52] as well as by disseminating fake news promoted on social media[53] and by penetrating, or trying to penetrate, the election systems and databases of multiple U.S. states.[54] In July 2016, the FBI began looking into these issues, as well as the question of whether members of the Trump campaign might have coordinated or cooperated with Russia’s activities.[55] Those investigations became part of the special counsel’s portfolio.[56]

Russia’s influence on US voters through social media is a primary focus of the Mueller investigation.[57] The special counsel has used a search warrant to obtain detailed information about Russian ad purchases on Facebook. According to a former federal prosecutor, the warrant means that a judge was convinced that foreigners had illegally contributed to influencing a US election via Facebook ads.[58]

Mueller is investigating ties between the Trump campaign, and Republican activist Peter W. Smith. Smith stated that he tried to obtain Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, and that he was acting on behalf of Michael Flynn and other Trump campaign members. Trump campaign officials have denied that Smith was working with them.[59]

Links between Trump associates and Russian officials

As early as spring 2015, US intelligence agencies started overhearing conversations in which Russian government officials, some within the Kremlin, discussed associates of Trump, then a presidential candidate.[60][61] In one such conversation, Russian officials said they had cultivated a strong relationship with Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Trump and his team.[62]

Multiple Trump associates, including Flynn, Manafort, and other members of the Trump campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials during 2016.[63] In particular, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met with several Trump campaign members and administration nominees. Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Advisor on February 13, 2017, after it was revealed that on December 29, 2016, the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia, Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak. Flynn had earlier acknowledged speaking to Kislyak but denied discussing the sanctions.[64][65] Also in December 2016, Flynn and presidential advisor Jared Kushner met with Kislyak hoping to set up a direct, secure line of communication with Russian officials that American intelligence agencies would be unaware of.[66][67] Jared Kushner also met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB).[68] Flynn and Kushner failed to report these meetings on their security clearance forms.[69][68]

FBI agents, working with the special counsel, raided Manafort’s home in July 2017. The no-notice, no-knock raid used a federal search warrant, authorizing agents to look for tax documents and foreign banking records. A wide range of documents and other items were seized. Before the raid, Manafort had voluntarily provided some documents to congressional investigators, including the notes he took during the Veselnitskaya meeting.[70][71]

The Trump team issued multiple denials of any contacts between Trump associates and Russia, but many of those denials turned out to be false.[72][73]

On December 4, 2017, prosecutors filed that Paul Manafort worked on an op-ed with a Russian intelligence official while out on bail, in a court filing requesting that the judge revoke Manafort’s bond agreement.[74]

Alleged collusion between Trump campaign and Russian agents

Mueller is looking into the meeting on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower in New York City between three senior members of Trump’s presidential campaign  – Kushner, Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. – and at least five other people, including Russian lawyer Natalia VeselnitskayaRinat Akhmetshin, a lobbyist and former Soviet army officer who met senior Trump campaign aides, Ike Kaveladze, British publicist Rob Goldstone and translator Anatoli Samochornov.[75][76] It has been confirmed that Goldstone had suggested the meeting to Trump Jr., and it was arranged in a series of emails later made public. Trump Jr. initially told the press that the meeting was held to discuss adoptions of Russian children by Americans. He added that he agreed to the meeting with the understanding that he would receive information damaging to Hillary Clinton.[77] Goldstone had stated in his email that the Russian government was involved as part of its support for the Trump campaign.[78] Mueller’s team is investigating the emails and the meeting,[75] and whether President Trump later tried to hide the meeting’s purpose.[79]

On July 18, 2017, Kaveladze’s attorney said that Mueller’s investigators were seeking information about the Russian meeting in June 2016 from his client,[80] and on July 21, Mueller asked the White House to preserve all documents related to the Russian meeting.[81] It has been reported that Manafort had made notes during the Russian meeting.[70]

By August 3, 2017, Mueller had impaneled a grand jury in the District of Columbia that issued subpoenas concerning the meeting.[82] The Financial Times reported on August 31 that Akhmetshin had given sworn testimony to Mueller’s grand jury.[83]

In fall 2017, Mueller’s team interviewed former Government Communications Headquarters IT specialist Matt Tait, who had been approached by Republican political operative Peter Smith to verify the authenticity of allegedly hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton’s private email server.[84]

Obstruction of justice

Early in Trump’s presidency, senior White House officials reportedly asked intelligence officials if they could intervene with the FBI to stop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Flynn.[85] In March, Trump reportedly discussed the FBI’s Russia investigation with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and asked if they could intervene with Comey to limit or stop it.[86] When he was asked at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the report, Coats said he would not discuss conversations he had with the president but “I have never felt pressured to intervene in the Russia investigation in any way.”[87]

In February 2017, it was reported that White House officials had asked the FBI to issue a statement that there had been no contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence sources during the 2016 campaign. The FBI did not make the requested statement, and observers noted that the request violated established procedures about contact between the White House and the FBI regarding pending investigations.[88] After Comey revealed in March that the FBI was investigating the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump phoned Coats and Director of National Security Admiral Michael S. Rogers and asked them to publicly state there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russians.[85][89][90] Both Coats and Rogers believed that the request was inappropriate, though not illegal, and did not make the requested statement. The two exchanged notes about the incident, and Rogers made a contemporary memo to document the request.[89][90]

In May 2017, a February memo by Comey was made public about an Oval Office conversation with Trump on February 14, 2017, in which Trump is described as attempting to persuade Comey to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn.[91][92] The memo notes that Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[93] In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey gave a detailed report on the February 14 conversation, including Trump’s suggestion that he should “let go” the Flynn investigation. Comey said he “took it as a direction… I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.” He added that it was “a very disturbing thing, very concerning”, and that he discussed the incident with other FBI leaders.[94] Comey created similar memos about every phone call and meeting he had with the president.[95]

The FBI launched an investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice a few days after the May 9 firing of Comey.[96] The special prosecutor’s office took over the obstruction of justice investigation and has reportedly interviewed Director of National Intelligence Coats, Director of the National Security Agency Rogers, and Deputy Director of the NSA Richard Ledgett.[96][97][98] ABC News reported in June that the special counsel was gathering preliminary information about possible obstruction of justice, but a full-scale investigation had not been launched.[99] On June 16, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”[100] However, Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow said Trump’s tweet was referring to the June 14 Washington Post report that he was under investigation for obstruction of justice,[96] and that Trump has not actually been notified of any investigation.[101][102]

Financial investigations

The special counsel investigation has expanded to include Trump’s and his associates’ financial ties to Russia. The FBI is reviewing the financial records of Trump himself, The Trump Organization, Trump’s family members, and his campaign staff, including Trump’s real estate activities, which had been under federal scrutiny before the campaign. According to CNN, financial crimes may be easier for investigators to prove than any crimes stemming directly from collusion with Russia.[20] Campaign staff whose finances are under investigation include Manafort, Flynn, Carter Page, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.[103]

Transactions under investigation include Russian purchases of Trump apartments, a SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, transactions with the Bank of Cyprus, real estate financing organized by Kushner, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.[104] The special counsel team has contacted Deutsche Bank, which is the main banking institution doing business with The Trump Organization.[105]

Mueller took over an existing money laundering investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Manafort. On October 30, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Manafort and his associate Rick Gates on charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, being an unregistered agent of foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements.[106] Manafort’s financial activities are also being investigated by the Senate and House intelligence committees, the New York Attorney General, and the Manhattan District Attorney.[107]

The special counsel will be able to access Trump’s tax returns, which has “especially disturbed” Trump according to the Washington Post. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, as presidential candidates normally do, has been politically controversial since his presidential campaign.[108]

Flynn activities

Michael Flynn statement of offense

As part of the investigation, Special Counsel Mueller assumed control of a Virginia-based grand jury criminal probe into the relationship between Flynn and Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin.[109] Flynn Intel Group, an intelligence consultancy, was paid $530,000 by Alptekin’s company Inovo BV to produce a documentary and conduct research on Fethullah Gülen, an exiled Turkish cleric who lives in the United States.[109] The special prosecutor is investigating whether the money came from the Turkish government, and whether Flynn kicked funds back to a middleman to conceal the payment’s original source. Investigators are also looking at Flynn’s finances more generally, including possible payments from Russian companies and from the Japanese government. White House documents relating to Flynn have been requested as evidence.[110] The lead person within Mueller’s team for this investigation is Brandon Van Grack.[111]

Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, is also a subject of the special counsel investigation. Michael G. Flynn worked closely with his father’s lobbying company, the Flynn Intel Group, and accompanied his father on his 2015 visit to Moscow.[112] On November 5, 2017, NBC News reported that Mueller had enough evidence for charges against Flynn and his son.[113]

Flynn’s defense team stopped sharing information with Trump’s team of lawyers in late November 2017.[114] This was interpreted as a sign that Flynn was cooperating and negotiating a plea bargain with the special counsel team.[114][115][116] On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to plead guilty to a single felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI and to confirm his intention to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.[117] As part of Flynn’s plea bargain, his son Michael G. Flynn is not expected to be charged.[118][119]

Investigation of Podesta Group lobbying

In August 2017, Mueller’s team reportedly issued grand jury subpoenas to officials in six firms, including lobbying firm Podesta Group, with regard to activities on behalf of a public-relations campaign for a pro-Russian Ukrainian organization called European Centre for a Modern UkraineTony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, is head of the Podesta Group. John Podesta is not employed by the company. According to the reports, Mueller is investigating whether the firms violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Paul Manafort headed the public relations effort, which took place from 2012 to 2014. [120][121][122][123]

Charges

As of December 2, 2017, the Special Counsel has initiated criminal proceedings against four individuals.

Accused Date charged Charge(s) Case status Ind.
George Papadopoulos October 3, 2017 1 count: false statements. Pleaded guilty on October 5, 2017.[124] [125]
Rick Gates October 27, 2017 8 counts: conspiracy against the United Statesconspiracy to launder moneyfailure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (×3), unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements. Pleaded not guilty on October 30, 2017.[126] [127]
Paul Manafort October 27, 2017 9 counts: conspiracy against the United Statesconspiracy to launder moneyfailure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (×4), unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements. Pleaded not guilty on October 30, 2017.[126] [127]
Michael Flynn November 30, 2017 1 count: false statements. Pleaded guilty on December 1, 2017.[128] [129]

George Papadopoulos

On October 30, 2017, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty earlier in the month to making a false statement to FBI investigators.[130] The guilty plea was part of a plea bargain in which he agreed to cooperate with the government and “provide information regarding any and all matters as to which the Government deems relevant.”[131]

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates

On October 30, 2017, Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on multiple charges. Rick Gates was also indicted and surrendered to the FBI.[132] The pair have been indicted on one count of conspiracy against the United States, one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, one count of making false and misleading FARA statements, and one count of making false statements. Manafort was charged with four counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts while Gates was charged with three.[127] The charges arise from their consulting work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and are unrelated to the Trump campaign.[133] Both were placed under house arrest. On December 4, 2017, prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Manafort’s bond agreement, charging that Manafort violated the terms of his bail by working on a op-ed piece with Konstantin Kilimnik,[134] an associate with ties to Russian intelligence.[135]

Michael Flynn

On December 1, 2017, it was reported that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn agreed to a plea bargain with Mueller, pleading guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI, and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller’s probe.[136]

Reactions

Mueller’s appointment to oversee the investigation immediately garnered widespread support from Democrats and even some from Republicans in Congress.[137][138] Senator Charles Schumer (DNY) said, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D–CA) stated, “Bob was a fine U.S. attorney, a great FBI director and there’s no better person who could be asked to perform this function.” She added, “He is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (RUT) tweeted that “Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.”[137] Much Republican support in Congress was lukewarm: Rep. Peter T. King (RNY) said “It’s fine. I just don’t think there is any need for it.”[139]

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote of the team that “Bob Mueller is recruiting the smartest and most seasoned professionals who have a long track record of independence and excellence”.[22] Former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who had investigated Bill Clinton during the Clinton Administration, said that the team was “a great, great team of complete professionals”.[19]

Later some conservatives, including political commentators Laura IngrahamAnn Coulter and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who had initially praised Mueller for “integrity and honesty”), stated that Mueller should be dismissed and the investigation closed.[140][141][142] Christopher Ruddy, the founder of the Right-leaning Newsmax, and a friend of Trump, stated that the president has considered firing Mueller.[143]

On June 23, 2017, Trump stated that members of Mueller’s team were “all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton.” PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim “Mostly False”, noting that only three had made campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton and one had defended the Clinton Foundation in court. One member of the team had made contributions to Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Republican Senator George Allen.[144][25] In an interview with The New York Times published on July 19, 2017, Trump stated that he would have not appointed Sessions as Attorney General had he known that he was going to recuse himself from the investigation. Furthermore, Trump confirmed that he would view it as a violation if the special counsel investigated his and his family’s finances, unrelated to Russia.[145]

On June 25, 2017, it was reported that a pro-Trump group had launched an ad called “Witch Hunt,” featuring conservative Tomi Lahren, which attacked Mueller and the investigation.[146]

On July 21, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Trump asked his advisors about his power to pardon those under investigation. Trump and his legal team discussed the possibility of Trump pardoning aides, family members, and himself. No president has ever pardoned himself, so there is no case law on whether it would be legal. Trump attorneys also reportedly created a list of Mueller’s potential conflicts of interest. Trump lawyer John Dowd said the story was “nonsense”.[108]

On August 3, 2017, at a campaign-style rally in West Virginia, Trump continued to deny any Russian involvement in his campaign or win: “The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics, that’s all it is.” This occurred on the same day as the announcement that another grand jury had been impaneled.[147]

On August 12, 2017, the New York Times published an interview of Republican Senator Richard Burr, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he said he was hopeful that the investigation would be complete by the end of the year.[148]

On August 24, 2017, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) added a rider to the proposed fiscal 2018 spending bill package that would block funding from being used “for the investigation under that order of matters occurring before June 2015” (the month Trump announced he was running for president) immediately and terminated funding for the Special Counsel investigation 180 days after passage of the bill.[149] Rep. DeSantis said that the DOJ order of May 17, 2017, “didn’t identify a crime to be investigated and practically invites a fishing expedition.”[150]

Shortly after the indictments against Manafort and Gates were unsealed, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a congressional resolution demanding Robert Mueller’s recusal as Special Counsel due to conflicts of interest. This resolution was cosponsered by Congressman Andy Biggs from Arizona and Congressman Louie Gohmert from Texas.[151][152] In the resolution Gaetz called for a Special Counsel investigation into the handling of the Hillary Clinton email controversy by James Comey, undue interference of Attorney General Loretta Lynch in that investigation, and the acquisition of Uranium One by the Russian state corporation Rosatom during Mueller’s time as FBI director.[153][154] Gaetz stated that he did not trust him to lead the investigation because of Mueller’s alleged involvement in approval of the Uranium One deal and Mueller’s close relationship with the dismissed FBI director James Comey, a probable person of interest in the proposed investigation.[154] On November 8, 2017, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks cosponsered the resolution.[155]

Polling

A May 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 81% of U.S. voters supported the special prosecutor’s investigation.[156] A June 2017 Associated PressNORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll asked U.S. adults whether the special counsel’s investigation could be fair and impartial: 26% were “extremely confident” or “very confident”; 36% were “moderately confident” and 36% were “not very confident” or “not at all confident.”[157] The poll indicated that 68% of Americans were at least “moderately concerned” about inappropriate connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians.[158]

A poll published in November 2017 by ABC News and The Washington Post found that 58% of Americans approved of Mueller’s handling of his investigation, while 28% disapproved. It also indicated that half of Americans believed that President Trump was not co-operating with the investigation.[159] A Quinnipiac poll published on November 15, 2017 suggested that 60% of Americans believed that Mueller’s investigation was proceeding fairly, with 27% believing that it was not. The poll also found that 47% of respondents said that President Trump ought to be impeached if he were to dismiss Mueller.[160]

A December poll by Associated PressNORC indicated that four out of ten American believed Trump to have committed a crime in connection to Russia, with an additional 3 out of 10 beyond that believing that he had acted unethically. It found that 62% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans believe that Trump acted illegally. It found that 68% of Americans believed that Trump was obstructing the investigation. 57% of respondents said that they were “extremely confident” or “moderately confident” that Mueller’s investigation is fair.[161]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Special_Counsel_investigation

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or

(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or

(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

(h)

(1)

Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.

(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 736; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, § 18, 64 Stat. 1003Pub. L. 99–399, title XIII, § 1306(a), Aug. 27, 1986100 Stat. 898Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2147Pub. L. 103–359, title VIII, § 804(b)(1), Oct. 14, 1994108 Stat. 3440Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 607(b), Oct. 11, 1996110 Stat. 3511.)

 

LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

Story 2: Republican House and Senate Agree on Tax Bill — Rush To Pass Bill Before Congressional Christmas Break — Videos —

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Full text: Republicans unveil their final tax bill

Republicans are expected to vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The final draft of the Republican tax bill has dropped.

After a week of backdoor negotiations to hash out the differences between the House and Senate tax proposals, Republicans have released their final vision for the American tax code: a bill that permanently gives corporations a massive tax break, temporarily cuts individual rates — primarily benefiting the wealthiest Americans — increases the standard deduction, and the repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which is estimated to leave 13 million fewer insured over the next 10 years.

The bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, 1 percent less than the Senate and House proposals; and lowers the top individual income tax rate to 37 percent, which is less than the 38.5 percent in the Senate bill and the 39.6 percent in the House bill and current law. It will allow pass-through businesses, like LLCs and partnerships, to deduct 20 percent from their taxes in addition to having the lower top individual rate. The bill also caps the mortgage interest deduction at $750,000 and the state and local property and income deduction at $10,000, particularly disadvantaging Americans who live in high-tax states.

All in all, the bill is a far cry from the simplified tax code that Republicans have long been promising, but it is a substantial reshaping of the nation’s tax base. Republicans are adamant that cutting corporate taxes will in turn increase investments and wages in the United States and lead to unprecedented economic growth — despite analyses that indicate otherwise.

It’s a gamble they are willing to make. This bill has not yet received an official score from the Congressional Budget Office or the Joint Committee on Taxation, which measures legislation’s cost and impact.

Republicans are expected to vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday.

Here’s the bill in its entirety:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/15/16781062/read-republican-final-tax-bill

GOP releases its final tax plan — here’s what’s in it

  • Republicans release their final tax plan, which strikes compromises on many provisions that differed in separate versions passed by the House and Senate.
  • The House plans to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
Jacob Pramuk | John W. Schoen

Representative Brady: Wanted to drive tax relief for everyone

Representative Brady: Wanted to drive tax relief for everyone  

Republicans on Friday released their final proposal to overhaul the American tax system, which would chop taxes for corporations, trim rates for individuals and tweak tax deductions.

The House and Senate GOP hope to pass the sweeping measure by the middle of next week, hitting a year-end target. The House will vote on the plan on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement.

Republicans argue that cuts contained in the bill will spark business investment, hiring and wage growth. Democrats call the plan a giveaway to corporations at the expense of the middle class, expressing concerns about the $1 trillion or more it is projected to add to federal budget deficits over a decade.

With two skeptical Republican senators falling in line Friday, the GOP appears set to have the support to push the bill through next week on a party line vote.

Here are some of the provisions the bill contains, according to a Republican summary:

  • The proposal would maintain seven individual income tax brackets at slightly different rates: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent. The top rate would fall from the current 39.6 percent. The House originally proposed collapsing the system to four brackets, saying it would simplify the filing process. (Click here to see which bracket would apply to you.) The changes would phase out after 2025.
  • The bill would scrap the personal exemption but increase the standard deduction to slightly less than double its current level. It would go to $12,000 for an individual or $24,000 for a family.
  • It would drop the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent. The change would take effect next year.
  • The plan would set a 20 percent business income deduction for the first $315,000 in income earned by pass-through businesses.
  • The bill would scrap Obamacare’s provision that requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning in 2019. Doing so is projected to lead to 13 million fewer people with insurance and raise average Obamacare premiums, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • The plan would eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax, which the Senate added back to its plan at the last second to raise money. House leaders and corporate groups said the tax would stifle research and development. It would also increase the exemption from the individual AMT.
  • The estate tax, or so-called death tax, would remain but the exemption from it would be doubled.
  • The child tax credit would double to $2,000 per child from $1,000. It would be refundable up to $1,400 and start to phase out at $400,000 in income. The tweak would end after 2025.
  • The plan would limit state and local tax deductions. It would allow the deduction of up to $10,000 in state and local sales, income or property taxes.
  • It will not change the mortgage interest deduction for existing homeowners. For new homes, taxpayers can deduct interest on up to $750,000 in mortgage debt, down from $1 million currently.
  • Tax breaks for charitable contributions and retirement savings plans would remain.
  • The bill would not include the controversial first in first out stock sales change, which sparked backlash in the investing community.

A “very preliminary” projection by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the congressional scorekeeper, estimated that the bill would lead to budget deficits increasing by $1.46 trillion over a decade. That falls just shy of the maximum $1.5 trillion it could add to the deficit under rules set by the Senate earlier this year.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who opposed the Senate version of the plan because he had concerns about a nearly identical effect on budget deficits, is supporting the final legislation.

Republicans cheered the bill’s completion following its release.

“We’re in the final stretch—and we’re ready to get this done for the American people by Christmas,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump “is on the precipice” of fulfilling a campaign promise and passing a plan that she said would boost wages and economic growth.

“The president applauds the House and Senate conferees on coming to an agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and looks forward to fulfilling the promise he made to the American people to give them a tax cut by the end of the year,” she said.

Democrats, meanwhile, warned of repercussions for the middle class.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the plan counterproductive.

“Under this bill the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs, and Republicans will rue the day they pass this,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., deemed the plan a “moral obscenity” and a “con job.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/15/gop-releases-its-final-tax-plan–heres-whats-in-it.html

Key details revealed in Republican tax deal

  •  The deal would lower the top tax rate to 37%, a push by House Republicans
  • The deal also drops the corporate tax rate to 21%

(CNN)House and Senate Republicans have struck a tentative deal on a tax bill Wednesday, a major step in ensuring the GOP majority is on its way to deliver an overhaul of the US tax system by the holidays.

According to two GOP aides, Republicans struck a deal in principle that will meld together the House and Senate tax deals and put the parties on a path to vote as soon as next week. Aides say there are still smaller issues to work out, but Senate Republicans will discuss remaining issues at their conference-wide lunch Wednesday and see how their rank-and-file members react.
Lawmakers have been working for more than a week to find a way to combine two very different tax bills.
Here’s what Republican negotiators as of Wednesday evening had in the plan:
  • The corporate rate would be reduced to 21%, from 35%. That is an additional point added from the 20% originally proposed in the House and Senate versions. It would take effect in 2018.
  • The top individual tax rate would be set at 37%, down from the 39.6% proposed in the House and 38.5% in the Senate.
  • The State and Local Tax deduction will be expanded, beyond just property taxes, to include income tax. It would be capped at $10,000.
  • The corporate alternative minimum tax, included at the last minute in the Senate version, would be fully repealed.
  • The individual alternative minimum tax would remain, but the threshold would be tweaked to exclude any individual under $500,000 or family below $1 million.
  • The mortgage interest deduction threshold — dropped to $500,000 in the House and left untouched in the Senate — would be set at $750,000.
  • The rate for pass-through income — business entities like s-corporations and partnerships that pay taxes through the individual side — would be determined by a 20% deduction, 3% lower than the Senate version.
  • The estate tax exemption would be doubled, but the tax would not be repealed entirely, as it was in the House proposal.
  • The Obamacare individual mandate to have health insurance would be repealed.
  • A House provision that proposed taxing graduate school tuition is not included in the final deal.
These deductions will remain untouched (they were all repealed in the House bill, left alone in the Senate bill). Of note, repeal of these deductions were some of the most controversial elements of the House plan. None will be repealed in the final version.
  • Medical expense deduction
  • Tax-free graduate school tuition waivers
  • Private activity bonds
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Teacher spending deduction
The news of a deal came just hours after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Republicans to hold off on a tax bill until newly-elected Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, was seated in January.

President Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, “We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.” CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, congressional Republicans sped forward with the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, announcing an agreement on a final bill that would cut taxes for businesses and individuals and signal the party’s first major legislative achievement since assuming political control this year.

Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping Republicans on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles — sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals — but diverged on several crucial details.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or the Senate.

The changes included a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the legislation that passed both chambers, and a lower top individual tax rate of 37 percent for the wealthiest Americans, who currently pay 39.6 percent. But the bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

In a break from the House bill, the agreement would allow taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and it would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. Also included in the consensus bill is the Senate’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty and a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to energy exploration.

Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which cannot exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket that lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support. Several of the provisions added by the Senate to help pay for the overall bill were either reversed or scaled back in the consensus version, and some tax breaks eliminated by the House were added back in.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/us/politics/tax-bill-republicans-deal.html

House, Senate reach tax bill agreement

Original source for this article can be found on RT by clicking here
Dec. 13 (UPI) — Republicans in the House and Senate on Wednesday reached an agreement, in principle, on a consensus tax bill, keeping the party on track for final votes next week and a push to President Donald Trump‘s desk by Christmas.Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, said he is confident the deal will be approved. Details of the agreement were not immediately available.Democrats, who have been locked out of the process, criticized the rush to pass the bill next week and called on Republican leaders to wait for the newly elected Democratic senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, to be sworn in. He defeated Roy Moore on Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.Senate Republicans had a meeting Wednesday to go over the details before briefing House Republicans and making a formal announcement.Last-minute changes to the bill include lowering the top individual tax rate to 37 percent and setting the corporate tax rate at 21 percent, a source who was briefed on the package told a The Hill.Also, as a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the bill, mortgage interest deduction will be capped at $750,000 and as a relief to people living in high-tax areas. The bill allows state and local property or income tax deductions of up to $10,000.

If passed, the legislation repeals an essential piece of the Affordable Care Act that requires people to purchase health insurance.

https://newsline.com/house-senate-reach-tax-bill-agreement/

President Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, “We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.” CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, congressional Republicans sped forward with the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, announcing an agreement on a final bill that would cut taxes for businesses and individuals and signal the party’s first major legislative achievement since assuming political control this year.

Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping Republicans on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles — sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals — but diverged on several crucial details.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or the Senate.

The changes included a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the legislation that passed both chambers, and a lower top individual tax rate of 37 percent for the wealthiest Americans, who currently pay 39.6 percent. But the bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

In a break from the House bill, the agreement would allow taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and it would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. Also included in the consensus bill is the Senate’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty and a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to energy exploration.

Continue reading the main story

Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which cannot exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket that lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support. Several of the provisions added by the Senate to help pay for the overall bill were either reversed or scaled back in the consensus version, and some tax breaks eliminated by the House were added back in.

Photo

President Trump had lunch with Republicans on the House-Senate conference committee, including Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, right, and Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, left, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The announcement that Republicans had overcome their differences to get to a consensus bill added more momentum to the sprint to the finish line. Republicans dismissed requests by Democrats to delay a vote until the new senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, is sworn in.

“I see no need to wait for Doug Jones to become a senator,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. “We vote all the time in lame-duck sessions with retired and defeated members casting votes.”

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, told reporters that he was confident the final bill would be approved next week. The leaders of the tax-writing committees in the House and the Senate, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas and Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, each proclaimed a bill “close” to completion.

In a compromise between the bills, the deal would cap the popular deduction for interest on mortgage debt at $750,000 for newly purchased homes, a higher cap than the $500,000 limit in the House-passed bill but lower than the $1 million limit that currently exists and remains in the Senate-passed bill.

The agreement would cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, which is lower than the current 35 percent rate but higher than the 20 percent that Mr. Trump had, until recently, said was nonnegotiable. The corporate rate would take effect in 2018, rather than 2019, as the Senate bill originally called for, according to a senior Republican congressional aide.

The bill also allows individuals to somewhat choose how to use their state and local tax deduction, giving them the ability to write off up to $10,000 in property taxes, income or sales taxes paid or a combination of property and sales or property and income taxes. That move is intended to alleviate the concerns of House Republicans, particularly those from California, over the bill’s treatment of the state and local tax deduction.

Lawmakers also yielded to concerns by business groups about the Senate’s last-minute inclusion of the corporate alternative minimum tax, which was added as a way to pay for the bill but faced stiff blowback from companies that said it would restrict their ability to use the research and development tax credit.

Photo

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the finance committee, tweeted on Wednesday morning that Republican leaders should delay the tax process until Doug Jones, the newly elected Democratic Senator from Alabama, takes his seat. CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

In an effort to assuage concerns that wealthy individuals would face a potential tax increase, the top individual income tax rate will drop to 37 percent, down from the current rate of 39.6 percent in the Senate bill and the 38.5 percent in the House bill. And the lower rate will apply to more people, allowing those with income levels below the $1 million cutoff outlined in both the House and Senate bills to claim the marginal rate.

The consensus bill will preserve the individual alternative minimum tax, which the House bill had eliminated and the Senate bill retained in a watered-down form. But it will apply to even fewer taxpayers than the Senate bill would have, the congressional aide said. The alternative tax, which was put in place to ensure high-income earners did not exploit loopholes to avoid paying taxes, would kick in for individuals earning at least $500,000 and for couples earning at least $1 million.

The agreement may allow some high-earning business owners to claim an even larger tax break than the Senate bill would have. Negotiators agreed to keep the Senate’s approach to provide a tax deduction for so-called pass-through companies, whose owners pay taxes on profits through the individual code. That deduction is likely to be lower than the 23 percent deduction in the Senate-passed bill.

But, the aide said, the consensus bill will include a House provision that would allow some pass-through owners with few employees — but large amounts of investment in their businesses — to bypass a limit on how much income qualifies for the preferential deduction.

The consensus bill would also largely retain the Senate approach to taxing multinational companies, by levying what is effectively a minimum tax on both American-based and foreign-based companies that operate in the United States.

Mr. Trump praised House and Senate negotiators in a lunch meeting at the White House. “We’re very close to getting it done; we’re very close to voting,” Mr. Trump said of the tax bill.

It is not clear whether all Republican senators will roundly endorse the deal, which includes provisions that Ms. Collins and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida had raised concerns about this week. Ms. Collins has said she does not favor a lower individual rate, and Mr. Rubio has pushed for a more generous child tax credit.

GRAPHIC

How the Final Tax Bill Will Affect Families, Homeowners, Businesses and More

Republicans have resolved the differences between the two versions of their tax bill.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

Still, none of those concerned senators indicated on Wednesday that they were opposed to the bill taking shape under the agreement in principle, an encouraging sign for Republican leaders.

The Senate bill narrowly passed 51 to 49, with Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, voting against the legislation, and other lawmakers, like Ms. Collins, getting on board only once certain changes, including expanding the medical expense deduction, were made. Mr. Corker said on Wednesday that “nothing has alleviated the concerns” that caused him to oppose the bill, which were rooted in a desire not to add further to the national debt.

The agreement was completed on Wednesday morning, hours before the first and only scheduled public meeting of the congressional conference committee formed to work out the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill.

“Let’s understand what’s happening today is a sham,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee. “Nobody ought to mistake this conference for real debate.”

Mr. Trump delivered what was called a closing argument for the tax bill from the White House on Wednesday afternoon, flanked by five families who each took the microphone to extol the benefits of the tax bill on their households and communities.

“As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country,” Mr. Trump said. “Now we are just days away from keeping that promise. We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.”

Mr. Trump added that if the bill were to be signed in that time frame, Americans would begin seeing tax cuts reflected in their paychecks by February, citing the Internal Revenue Service. “The cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker, and the American people grow stronger,” he said.

Correction: December 14, 2017 
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to one provision of the tax proposal. The agreement would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. It does not apply to tuition stipends.

 

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What Is The Federal Reserve?

Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases

Policy makers pencil in three quarter-point rate raises for next year, as they had in September

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen arrives for her press conference Wednesday. The central bank’s rate-setting committee voted 7-2 to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%.
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen arrives for her press conference Wednesday. The central bank’s rate-setting committee voted 7-2 to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%. PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve showed continued optimism about the U.S. economy in voting Wednesday to raise short-term interest rates for the third time this year, and signaling it would stay on a similar path next year amid a leadership transition.

Officials nudged their economic-growth estimates higher for the next few years on expectations that congressional Republicans will pass tax cuts. But the Fed policy makers’ new projections suggest the boost wouldn’t be so large that they would have to speed up the pace of rate increases to guard against too much inflation.

“At the moment the U.S. economy is performing well,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said at a press conference after the central bank’s two-day policy meeting ended Wednesday.

“The growth that we’re seeing, it’s not based on, for example, an unsustainable buildup of debt,” she added. “The global economy is doing well. We’re in a synchronized expansion. This is the first time in many years we’ve seen this.”

The Fed said it would increase its benchmark federal-funds rate Thursday by a quarter percentage point to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%, the fifth such increase in the past two years. Officials penciled in three quarter-point rate increases for next year, as they had in September, and two such increases each in 2019 and 2020.

The big question heading into their two-day meeting was how much Fed officials expected to lift rates in coming years. The prospect of new fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts, combined with solid hiring and lofty asset values, could argue for picking up the pace to prevent the economy from overheating. But low inflation and modest wage growth could support the case for sticking with a gradual approach.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans joined Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari on Wednesday in casting two dissenting votes, against seven in favor or raising rates. Both have cited weak inflation as a reason to hold off.

Fed officials projected the economy would grow 2.5% next year, up from the 2.1% they predicted in September. They also expect the unemployment rate will fall to 3.9% by the end of next year, down from their earlier forecast of 4.1%.

Officials didn’t project more interest-rate increases or higher inflation because price pressures have been surprisingly muted this year. They still project inflation to rise to their 2% target by 2019, the same as they expected in September.

“It could take a longer period of a very strong labor market in order to achieve the inflation objective,” Ms. Yellen said Wednesday.

Economists said the latest projections and Ms. Yellen’s comments Wednesday show officials believe growth won’t generate as much inflation as previously thought. “If inflation does actually pick up, it implies that they move more rapidly” to raise rates, said Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura Securities.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, above, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, below, dissented to the Fed’s decision to raise short-term interest rates.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, above, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, below, dissented to the Fed’s decision to raise short-term interest rates. PHOTO: ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS
Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases
PHOTO: MARK KAUZLARICH/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Fed officials slashed their benchmark federal-funds rate to near zero during the financial crisis and held it there for seven years before raising it by a quarter percentage point in December 2015, the start of a gradual series of small increases. In October, the Fed also started shrinking its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds and other assets, most of which were purchased as part of extraordinary postcrisis measures to support the economy.

Since officials last met in early November, Congress has moved rapidly on legislation that would cut business and individual taxes by around $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Before this week, many Fed officials refrained from building into their forecasts much prospect of fiscal stimulus because it wasn’t clear what Congress would pass.

House and Senate Republicans are reconciling different versions of tax bills that have passed their respective chambers with the goal of putting a unified plan before President Donald Trump to sign by Christmas. The White House has said the plan can boost growth to levels that make up for revenue shortfalls.

An analysis from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation found the tax bill wouldn’t pay for itself with more economic growth and instead would result in about $1 trillion in additional budget deficits over a decade.

Fed officials’ projections show they don’t see the tax cut raising the economy’s long-run growth rate, which they left unchanged at 1.8%.

“It’s fair to say that the Fed doesn’t see the tax package as a game changer in terms of growth—just some modest upside, concentrated mostly in 2018,” said Roberto Perli, an analyst at research firm Cornerstone Macro LP.

While officials have now largely incorporated the effects of tax changes into their growth forecasts, Ms. Yellen said, “importantly, you really don’t at the end of the day see very much change in the federal-funds rate path.”

Ms. Yellen added that she remained concerned higher budget deficits could leave fiscal policy makers with less scope to respond aggressively to an economic downturn in the future. Budget deficits are projected to grow as the baby boom ages, even before the added effect of tax cuts. “Taking what is already a significant problem and making it worse, it is a concern to me,” she said.

While Ms. Yellen will preside over one more Fed meeting early next year, Wednesday featured her last scheduled press conference before her term ends Feb. 3. While she is likely to hand her successor an economy in far better shape than when she took over four years ago, the Fed faces several balancing acts.

On one hand, inflation has run below its annual 2% target most of this year, reaching just 1.6% in October by the central bank’s preferred gauge. On the other hand, with the economy so strong and more stimulus on the way, they don’t want to hold rates too low for too long and cause price pressures to surge out of control or fuel asset bubbles and other financial imbalances.

Now that the Fed has successfully moved interest rates away from zero and initiated the steady wind down of the portfolio, “the battle is over the terminal fed-funds rate, and how quickly you get to it,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist of Standish Mellon and former director of the Fed’s monetary policy division. Fed officials’ new projections show they see that longer-run level at around 2.75%, implying the Fed is already about half way there.

Mr. Trump’s nominee to succeed Ms. Yellen as central bank chief, Fed governor Jerome Powell, has indicated he could offer a lighter touch on financial regulation but has shown few signs of diverging from Ms. Yellen on monetary policy.

Ms. Yellen has said she would resign her seat on the Fed’s seven-member board once Mr. Powell is confirmed and sworn in, making her the third governor to leave within a year and giving Mr. Trump another opportunity to reshape the Fed.

Fed officials also are wrestling with the fact that the economy isn’t responding to its rate moves as it did in the past, making it harder to discern the right policy path.

Fed increases in short-term rates used to tighten credit more broadly, causing bond yields to rise and boosting other borrowing costs, such as for mortgages, credit cards and business loans. This year, instead, financial conditions have eased, with stock prices rising to new highs and long-term bond yields remaining low, due in part to easy-money policies from central banks in Europe and Japan.

Banks have held rates on savings deposits at historically low levels. The average interest rate paid by the biggest U.S. banks on interest-bearing deposits rose to 0.40% in the third quarter, up from 0.34% in the second quarter, according to Autonomous Research.

Low interest rates have been a pleasant surprise for Joe Williams, 33, who is looking to trade up to a larger home to make room for a growing family. Mr. Williams, who works in retail operations, and his wife are preapproved for a 30-year mortgage that carries a 3.75% interest rate for the first seven years. That is higher than the 3.125% rate he locked in on his Minneapolis home two years ago.

If rates looked likely to rise faster, “that would motivate us to get a little bit more aggressive” in buying the move-up home, he said.

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

Appeared in the December 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Fed Hikes Rates as Economy Picks Up.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-raises-interest-rates-sees-continued-path-of-increases-in-2018-1513191780

Federal funds rate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the supply of money in the U.S. economy[3] to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate.

Mechanism

Financial Institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accountsNOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007-2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves.[5] The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[6] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[7]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[8]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of 14 June 2017 the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 1.00-1.25%.[9] This represents the fourth increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015.

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%. The target rate remained at 5.25% for over a year, until the Federal Reserve began lowering rates in September 2007. The last cycle of easing monetary policy through the rate was conducted from September 2007 to December 2008 as the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00-0.25%. Between December 2008 and December 2015 the target rate remained at 0.00-0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history, as a reaction to the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 and its aftermath. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[10]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.jpg

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, price normally falls. The price here is the interest rate (cost of money) and specifically refers to the Federal Funds Rate. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the Fed Funds Rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, price (or in this case interest rates) will normally rise.[11]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[12] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the Fed Funds Rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[13][14]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [15][16][17]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[18][19][20]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[21]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[22]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25-0.50[23]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50-0.75[24]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75-1.00[25]
  • Jun 14, 2017 — 1.00-1.25[26]
  • Dec 13, 2017 — 1.25-1.50[27]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and/or housing fell.[28]

International effects

A low federal funds rate makes investments in developing countries such as China or Mexico more attractive. A high federal funds rate makes investments in other countries less attractive. The long period of a very low federal funds rate from 2009 forward resulted in an increase in investment in developing countries. As the United States began to return to a higher rate in 2013 investments in the United States became more attractive and the rate of investment in developing countries began to fall. The rate also affects the value of currency, a higher rate increasing the value of the U.S. dollar and decreasing the value of currencies such as the Mexican peso.[29]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  2. Jump up^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. 24 August 2011. p. 4. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. 2008-01-30. Archived from the original on 2001-04-13. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  4. Jump up^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Stefan Homburg (2017) A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-880753-7.
  6. Jump up^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s” (PDF). Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  8. Jump up^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16.
  9. Jump up^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement” (Press release). Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 2017-06-14. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  10. Jump up^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  11. Jump up^ David Waring (2008-02-19). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  12. Jump up^ “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  13. Jump up^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  14. Jump up^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. Jump up^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. Jump up^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. Jump up^ “$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. Jump up^ “$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. Jump up^ “$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. Jump up^ “$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  21. Jump up^ “$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  22. Jump up^ “Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  23. Jump up^ “Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  24. Jump up^ “Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. Archived from the original on 2016-12-15.
  25. Jump up^ Cox, Jeff (2017-03-15). “Fed raises rates at March meeting”CNBC. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  26. Jump up^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 14, 2017.
  27. Jump up^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 13, 2017.
  28. Jump up^ Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007). “The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  29. Jump up^ Peter S. Goodman, Keith Bradsher and Neil Gough (March 16, 2017). “The Fed Acts. Workers in Mexico and Merchants in Malaysia Suffer”The New York Times. Retrieved March 18,2017Rising interest rates in the United States are driving money out of many developing countries, straining governments and pinching consumers around the globe.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_funds_rate

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The Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017, Story 1: Russia’s Attempt To Control and Corner World Uranium Supply Needed For Fuel To Power Nuclear Reactors To Produce Electricity — Greed, Money, Power — Obama’s Administration’s Cover-up of Rosatom’s U.S. Subsidiary Crimes Between 2004-2014 And Bill and Hillary Clinton’s and Clinton Charitable Foundation Pay for Play Racket — Massive Scandal About To Go Nuclear — Videos

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LibertyPen

Published on Nov 9, 2017

In 2009, the Obama administration approved the transferred control of twenty percent of America’s uranium to Russian interests. This deal, which on the face seems contrary to national interest, is examined by focusing on the beneficiaries and following the money. http://www.LibertyPen.com (Excerpts are largely from Fox News, since other networks find it their interest to ignore the story)

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[youtube3=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7v1fs-T7KE]

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List of countries by uranium production

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of countries by uranium production in 2015.

Rank Country/Region Uranium production (2015)
(tonnes U)[1]
Uranium Production (2011)
(thousands pounds U3O8)[2]
Percentage of
World Production (2015)
 World 60,496 139,513 100
1 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 23,800 46,284 39.3
2 Canada Canada 13,325 25,434 22.0
3 Australia Australia 5,654 15,339 9.3
4 Niger Niger 4,116 10,914 6.8
5 Russia Russia 3,055 1,516 5.0
6 Namibia Namibia 2,993 11,689 4.9
7 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan 2,385[3] 6,239 3.9
8 China China 1,616[3] 2,150 2.7
9 United States United States 1,256 4,316 2.1
10 Ukraine Ukraine 1,200[3] 2,210 2.0
11 South Africa South Africa 393 2,210 0.6
12 India India 385[3] 1,040 0.6
13 Czech Republic Czech Republic 155 660 0.3
14 Romania Romania 77[3] 200 0.1
15 Pakistan Pakistan 45[3] 117 0.1
16 Brazil Brazil 40[3] 385 0.1
17 France France 2 18 0.0

See also

References

8 Countries With the Largest Uranium Reserves

Where can North Korea get uranium? More places than you think have it — and some might actually be willing to sell this vital nuclear fuel.

Oct 18, 2017 at 6:00AM

A visualization of an atom in a pair of cupped hands.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

If you’ve been following the news, you may think uranium is only used in nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants. But uranium has lots of other uses. Unfortunately, the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan and North Korea’s (and Iran’s) continued push for nuclear weapons show the volatile and dangerous nature of this vital element. What’s even more frightening that uranium’s destructive potential is the fact that several of the countries with the largest uranium reserves could conceivably sell some to North Korea and Iran.

Check out this list of the countries with the world’s top uranium reserves.

The Ranger uranium mine in Australia

THE RANGER URANIUM MINE IN AUSTRALIA’S NORTHERN TERRITORY. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

1. Australia

Australia possesses around 30% of the world’s known recoverable uranium reserves. This island nation is the 20th-largest economy in the world and has stable legal and political systems; you might say it’s one of the “nice guys.”

The stability of Australia makes it a great place for miners to operate. For example, globally diversified giants Rio Tinto plc(NYSE:RIO) and BHP Billiton Limited(NYSE:BHP) both have uranium mines in the country. BHP’s Olympic Dam, its only uranium asset, is the largest known uranium orebody in the world. Rio, meanwhile, has an investment in the Ranger Mine.

The nuclear fuel is such a small contributor to BHP’s business that the company doesn’t even report that segment’s results independently. And at Rio, uranium made up just 1.3% of 2016 revenue and 0.4% of EBITDA. That said, Rio’s and BHP’s uranium mines are the most important in Australia, so the companies play a significant role in the global uranium market. The same is true of Australia, which is better known for commodities like iron ore and coal.

A map with Kazakhstan highlighted with a magnifying glass

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2. Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is the 42nd-largest economy in the world and the largest former Soviet Republic by area (excluding Russia). Kazakhstan is resource-rich, which helps to explain why its economy is so much larger than those of other Central Asian nations, and 22% of its exports go to neighboring China and Russia. The country also struggles with corruption and a weak banking system.

Kazakhstan contains about 13% of the world’s recoverable uranium, with 50 known deposits and around 20 operating uranium mines, so it’s a key player in the uranium market. Kazatomprom, a state-owned entity, controls the uranium industry in the country through its own subsidiaries or via joint ventures with foreign companies. One such partner is Cameco Corp(NYSE:CCJ), the world’s largest pure-play, publicly traded uranium miner. Cameco’s Inkai mine investment is just one of many uranium assets in the miner’s portfolio, which spans mining, processing, and brokering.

A man in Russian military uniform looking through binoculars

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3. Russia

The third-largest player in the global uranium market is Russia, with about 9% of the world’s uranium (it’s actually tied with No. 4, Canada). Russia’s economy is the seventh-largest in the world, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency describes the country as a “centralized authoritarian state … in which the regime seeks to legitimize its rule through managed elections, populist appeals, a foreign policy focused on enhancing the country’s geopolitical influence, and commodity-based economic growth.” It’s easy to see why Russia’s enormous uranium reserves make many world leaders nervous.

Russia is largely seen as supporting countries like North Korea and Iran, either overtly or through political means, e.g., using its veto power on the United Nations Security Council. It has often teamed up with China, which will make a brief appearance later on this list, to soften the world’s response to North Korean and Iranian nuclear provocations. State-controlled AtomRedMetZoloto handles all of Russia’s uranium mining and exploration activity.

Canadian flag flying with a large building in the distance

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4. Canada

Canada also accounts for around 9% of the world’s recoverable uranium. The United States’ northern neighbor, like Australia, is generally considered a positive force in the world. Its economy is the 18th-largest in the world. Throughout much of its history Canada has benefited from its proximity to the U.S., which is the end market for more than three-quarters of Canada’s exports.

Cameco, which hails from Canada, is the most notable uranium miner in the country. It has a number of investments, but Cigar Lake and McArthur River are two of the largest uranium mines in Canada and the world.

There is vast potential for further uranium development in Canada. For example, Cameco and Denison Mines Corp(NYSEMKT:DNN) are partners in the Wheeler River project. This mine, which isn’t expected to start production until 2025, has the potential to be one of the five largest uranium-producing mines in the world.

aerial photo of Cape Town South Africa

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

5. South Africa

From here the list of uranium-rich countries gets a little subjective, because the numbers are fairly close.According to some sources, South Africa has around 6% of the world’s developable uranium reserves. Other sources peg its reserves at just lower than the next two countries on the list, Niger and Namibia. Either way, it’s in the neighborhood of No. 5 by uranium reserves, and it’s a big step down from the top four countries on the list.

South Africa’s economy ranks at No. 31 globally. It has long struggled with unemployment, poverty, and inequality. The government, meanwhile, has not been a particularly stable influence. When it comes to mining, the country is better known for platinum, gold, and chromium than for uranium. For example, gold miner AngloGold Ashanti Limited(NYSE:AU) produces uranium in South Africa, but only as a byproduct of its other mining efforts.

South Africa has two nuclear power plants, and there are plans to build a couple more, so there is a potentially growing market for nuclear fuel in the country. Although South Africa will probably never be a major force in the global uranium market, it could be an interesting region to watch — especially if those new nuclear facilities get built.

Niger flag waving in the wind

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6. Niger

Niger has about 5% of the world’s known developable uranium reserves. The country has two major mines and hits above its weight class, supplying roughly 7.5% of the world’s uranium. France’s Areva SA(NASDAQOTH:ARVCF) is a major player in the country, and its Arlit mine is one of the 10 highest-producing uranium mines in the world. Areva has another project in the country that’s currently on hold due to low uranium prices.

Niger’s is not a large economy, ranking at just 146 globally. Interestingly, uranium is Niger’s largest export. According to Areva, uranium represents around 5% of the country’s gross domestic product and supplies around 5% of its tax revenues. Niger, however, is a very poor nation and must rely on outside investment for the development of its resources. That’s where Areva comes in, though it’s worth noting here that China is also involved in developing Niger’s uranium assets to a smaller extent.

sand dunes in Namibia's Naukluft National Park

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7. Namibia

Next up is Namibia, which also has roughly 5% of the world’s developable uranium resources. Namibia is only slightly larger than Niger, with its economy weighing in at No. 136 worldwide. Its economy, while poor, is more diversified than Niger’s: The country exports more diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, than it does uranium. Natural resources are highly important to the nation’s economic well-being. Overall, mining accounts for about 11.5% of the country’s gross domestic product and provides over half of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

China is a big player in the country, and China’s investment there could materially change the face of the uranium market inside and outside Namibia. The CIA expects the Chinese-owned Husab mine to make Namibia the No. 2 uranium producer worldwide. India is also working toward a uranium relationship with the country. Australian-British miner Rio Tinto has a major stake in one of the country’s other two major mines as well. Namibia is a country to watch closely as competing forces look to take advantage of its uranium wealth.

Two athletes holding the Chinese flag between them

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8. China

China has around 5% of the world’s developable uranium supplies and ranks as the globe’s largest economy based on gross domestic product. Some sources place its uranium reserves a little higher than countries like Namibia and Niger, while others rank them a little lower.

The centrally controlled country is a major nuclear power, with 20 nuclear power plants currently under construction (not to mention the ability to produce its own nuclear weapons). As you can see from its investment in Namibia, it is reaching out beyond its borders to ensure it has access to the uranium it needs for its internal use. And because of its size, it has the resources to continue investing to boost its position in the uranium industry.

Perhaps more concerning, China and its neighbor with nuclear ambitions, North Korea, have long been trading partners. China has attempted to protect the autocratic state politically, often allying with Russia in the effort. So while China is nowhere near the top of this list when it comes to uranium reserves, it is already playing an important role globally in mining for uranium and deciding how it gets used. China should probably be higher up on your list of concerns than any of the African nations that have equal or larger uranium reserves, and perhaps even higher than uranium giant Australia.

Tensions are running high

Uranium is a potentially life-altering power source when used conscientiously and carefully. It can provide reliable baseload power without the use of dirty carbon fuels. However, it can also be used to create weapons of mass destruction, which is why most countries around the world would prefer to keep it out of the hands of players like Iran and North Korea.

As you can see from this list, many of the largest uranium reserves are in countries that are democratic, relatively stable, and all-around good geopolitical forces. But some are too corrupt, unstable, or financially weak to fall into that category. If you are interested in the way uranium is getting used around the world, you should be keeping a close eye on at least a few of the countries that made this list.

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/10/18/8-countries-with-the-largest-uranium-reserves.aspx

Supply of Uranium

(Updated December 2016)

  • Uranium is a relatively common metal, found in rocks and seawater. Economic concentrations of it are not uncommon.
  • Its availability to supply world energy needs is great both geologically and because of the technology for its use.
  • Quantities of mineral resources are greater than commonly perceived.
  • The world’s known uranium resources increased by at least one-quarter in the last decade due to increased mineral exploration.

Uranium is a relatively common element in the crust of the Earth (very much more than in the mantle). It is a metal approximately as common as tin or zinc, and it is a constituent of most rocks and even of the sea. Some typical concentrations are: (ppm = parts per million).

Very high-grade ore (Canada) – 20% U 200,000 ppm U
High-grade ore – 2% U, 20,000 ppm U
Low-grade ore – 0.1% U, 1,000 ppm U
Very low-grade ore* (Namibia) – 0.01% U 100 ppm U
Granite 3-5 ppm U
Sedimentary rock 2-3 ppm U
Earth’s continental crust (av) 2.8 ppm U
Seawater 0.003 ppm U

* Where uranium is at low levels in rock or sands (certainly less than 1000 ppm) it needs to be in a form which is easily separated for those concentrations to be called ‘ore’ – that is, implying that the uranium can be recovered economically. This means that it needs to be in a mineral form that can easily be dissolved by sulfuric acid or sodium carbonate leaching.

An orebody is, by definition, an occurrence of mineralisation from which the metal is economically recoverable. It is therefore relative to both costs of extraction and market prices. At present neither the oceans nor any granites are orebodies, but conceivably either could become so if prices were to rise sufficiently.

Measured resources of uranium, the amount known to be economically recoverable from orebodies, are thus also relative to costs and prices. They are also dependent on the intensity of past exploration effort, and are basically a statement about what is known rather than what is there in the Earth’s crust – epistemology rather than geology. See section below for mineral resource and reserve categories.

Changes in costs or prices, or further exploration, may alter measured resource figures markedly. At ten times the current price*, seawater might become a potential source of vast amounts of uranium. Thus, any predictions of the future availability of any mineral, including uranium, which are based on current cost and price data and current geological knowledge are likely to be extremely conservative.

* US DOE-funded work using polymer absorbent strips suggest $610/kgU in 2014. Japanese (JAERI) research in 2002 using a polymeric absorbent in a nonwoven fabric containing an amidoxime group that was capable of forming a complex with uranyl tricarbonate ions, suggested about $300/kgU.

From time to time concerns are raised that the known resources might be insufficient when judged as a multiple of present rate of use. But this is the Limits to Growth fallacy, a major intellectual blunder recycled from the 1970s, which takes no account of the very limited nature of the knowledge we have at any time of what is actually in the Earth’s crust. Our knowledge of geology is such that we can be confident that identified resources of metal minerals are a small fraction of what is there. Factors affecting the supply of resources are discussed further and illustrated in the Appendix.

Uranium availability

With those major qualifications the following Table gives some idea of our present knowledge of uranium resources. It can be seen that Australia has a substantial part (about 29%) of the world’s uranium, Kazakhstan 13%, Russia and Canada 9% each.

Known Recoverable Resources of Uranium 2015

tonnes U percentage of world
Australia
1,664,100
29%
Kazakhstan
745,300
13%
Canada
509,000
9%
Russian Fed
507,800
9%
South Africa
322,400
6%
Niger
291,500
5%
Brazil
276,800
5%
China
272,500
5%
Namibia
267,000
5%
Mongolia
141,500
2%
Uzbekistan
130,100
2%
Ukraine
115,800
2%
Botswana
73,500
1%
USA
62,900
1%
Tanzania
58,100
1%
Jordan
47,700
1%
Other
232,400
4%
World total
5,718,400

Reasonably Assured Resources plus Inferred Resources (recoverable), to US$ 130/kg U, 1/1/15, from OECD NEA & IAEA, Uranium 2016: Resources, Production and Demand (‘Red Book’). The total to US$ 260/kg U is 7.641 million tonnes U.
Reasonably Assured Resources of Uranium in 2009 stacked column graph

Current usage is about 63,000 tU/yr. Thus the world’s present measured resources of uranium (5.7 Mt) in the cost category less than three times present spot prices and used only in conventional reactors, are enough to last for about 90 years. This represents a higher level of assured resources than is normal for most minerals. Further exploration and higher prices will certainly, on the basis of present geological knowledge, yield further resources as present ones are used up.

An initial uranium exploration cycle was military-driven, over 1945 to 1958. The second cycle was about 1974 to 1983, driven by civil nuclear power and in the context of a perception that uranium might be scarce. There was relatively little uranium exploration between 1985 and 2003, so the significant increase in exploration effort since then could conceivably double the known economic resources despite adjustments due to increasing costs. In the two years 2005-06 the world’s known uranium resources tabulated above and graphed below increased by 15% (17% in the cost category to $80/kgU). World uranium exploration expenditure is increasing, as the the accompanying graph makes clear. In the third uranium exploration cycle from 2004 to the end of 2013 about US$ 16 billion was spent on uranium exploration and deposit delineation on over 600 projects. In this period over 400 new junior companies were formed or changed their orientation to raise over US$ 2 billion for uranium exploration. Much of this was spent on previously-known deposits. All this was in response to increased uranium price in the market and the prospect of firm future prices.

The price of a mineral commodity also directly determines the amount of known resources which are economically extractable. On the basis of analogies with other metal minerals, a doubling of price from present levels could be expected to create about a tenfold increase in measured economic resources, over time, due both to increased exploration and the reclassification of resources regarding what is economically recoverable.

This is in fact suggested in the IAEA-NEA figures if those covering estimates of all conventional resources (U as main product or major by-product) are considered – another 7.3 to 8.4 million tonnes (beyond the 5.9 Mt known economic resources), which takes us past 200 years’ supply at today’s rate of consumption. This still ignores the technological factor mentioned below. It also omits unconventional resources (U recoverable as minor by-product) such as phosphate/ phosphorite deposits (up to 22 Mt U), black shales (schists – 5.2 Mt U) and lignite (0.7 Mt U), and even seawater (up to 4000 Mt), which would be uneconomic to extract in the foreseeable future, although Japanese trials using a polymer braid have suggested costs a bit over $600/kgU. US work has developed this using polyethylene fibres coated with amidoxime, which binds uranium so that it can be stripped with acid. Research proceeds.

Known Uranium Resources and Exploration Expenditure area graph

It is clear from this Figure that known uranium resources have increased almost threefold since 1975, in line with expenditure on uranium exploration. (The decrease in the decade 1983-93 is due to some countries tightening their criteria for reporting. If this were carried back two decades, the lines would fit even more closely. Since 2007 some resources have been reclassified into higher-cost categories.) Increased exploration expenditure in the future is likely to result in a corresponding increase in known resources, even as inflation increases costs of recovery and hence tends to decrease the figures in each cost category.

About 20% of US uranium came from central Florida’s phosphate deposits to the mid 1990s, as a by-product, but it then became uneconomic. With higher uranium prices today the resource is being examined again, as is another lower-grade one in Morocco. Plans for Florida extend only to 400 tU/yr at this stage. See also companion paper on Uranium from Phosphate Deposits.

Coal ash is another easily-accessible though minor uranium resource in many parts of the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, some 1100 tU was recovered from coal ash in the USA. In central Yunnan province in China the coal uranium content varies up to 315 ppm and averages about 65 ppm. The ash averages about 210 ppm U (0.021%U) – above the cut-off level for some uranium mines. The Xiaolongtang power station ash heap contains over 1000 tU, with annual arisings of 190 tU. Recovery of this by acid leaching is about 70% in trials. This project has yet to announce any commercial production, however. Economic feasibility depends not only on grade but the composition of the ash – high acid consumption can make recovery uneconomic. World potential is likely to be less than 700 tU per year.

Widespread use of the fast breeder reactor could increase the utilisation of uranium 50-fold or more. This type of reactor can be started up on plutonium derived from conventional reactors and operated in closed circuit with its reprocessing plant. Such a reactor, supplied with natural or depleted uranium as a fuel source (NB not actual fuel), can be operated so that each tonne of ore yields vastly more energy than in a conventional reactor.

See also WNA position paper.

Reactor fuel requirements

The world’s power reactors, with combined capacity of some 375 GWe, require about 68,000 tonnes of uranium from mines or elsewhere each year. While this capacity is being run more productively, with higher capacity factors and reactor power levels, the uranium fuel requirement is increasing, but not necessarily at the same rate. The factors increasing fuel demand are offset by a trend for higher burn-up of fuel and other efficiencies, so demand is steady. (Over the years 1980 to 2008 the electricity generated by nuclear power increased 3.6-fold while uranium used increased by a factor of only 2.5.)

Reducing the tails assay in enrichment reduces the amount of natural uranium required for a given amount of fuel. Reprocessing of used fuel from conventional light water reactors also utilises present resources more efficiently, by a factor of about 1.3 overall.

The 2014 Red Book said that efficiencies on power plant operation and lower enrichment tails assays meant that uranium demand per unit capacity was falling, and the report’s generic reactor fuel consumption was reduced from 175 tU per GWe per year at 0.30% tails assay (2011 report) to 160 tU per GWe per year at 0.25% tails assay (2016 report). The corresponding U3O8 figures are 206 tonnes and 189 tonnes. Note that these figures are generalisations across the industry and across many different reactor types.

Today’s reactor fuel requirements are met from primary supply (direct mine output – 78% in 2009) and secondary sources: commercial stockpiles, nuclear weapons stockpiles, recycled plutonium and uranium from reprocessing used fuel, and some from re-enrichment of depleted uranium tails (left over from original enrichment). These various secondary sources make uranium unique among energy minerals.

Nuclear weapons as a source of fuel

An important source of nuclear fuel is the world’s nuclear weapons stockpiles. Since 1987 the United States and countries of the former USSR have signed a series of disarmament treaties to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the signatory countries by approximately 80 percent.

The weapons contained a great deal of uranium enriched to over 90 percent U-235 (i.e. up to 25 times the proportion in reactor fuel). Some weapons have plutonium-239, which can be used in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for civil reactors. From 2000 the dilution of 30 tonnes of military high-enriched uranium has been displacing about 10,600 tonnes of uranium oxide per year from mines, which represents about 15% of the world’s reactor requirements.

Details of the utilisation of military stockpiles are in the paper Military warheads as a source of nuclear fuel.

Other secondary sources of uranium

The most obvious source is civil stockpiles held by utilities and governments. The amount held here is difficult to quantify, due to commercial confidentiality. At the end of 2014 some 217,000 tU total inventory was estimated for utilities – USA 45,000 t, EU 53,000 t, China 74,000 t, other East Asia 45,0000 t (World Nuclear Association 2015 Nuclear Fuel Report). These reserves are expected to be drawn down somewhat, but they will be maintained at a fairly high level to to provide energy security for utilities and governments.

Recycled uranium and plutonium is another source, and currently saves 1700-2000 tU per year of primary supply, depending on whether just the plutonium or also the uranium is considered. This is expected to rise to 3000-4000 tU/yr by 2020. In fact, plutonium is quickly recycled as MOX fuel, whereas the reprocessed uranium (RepU) is mostly stockpiled, and the inventory at the end of 2014 was estimated at 75,000 tU. See also Processing of Used Nuclear Fuel for Recycle paper.

Re-enrichment of depleted uranium (DU, enrichment tails) is another secondary source. There is about 1.3 million tonnes of depleted uranium available, from both military and civil enrichment activity since the 1940s, most at tails assay of 0.25-0.35% U-235 (though the USA has 114,000 tU assaying 0.34% or more). Non-nuclear uses of DU are very minor relative to annual arisings of over 40,000 tU per year. This leaves most DU available for mixing with recycled plutonium on MOX fuel or as a future fuel resource for fast neutron reactors. However, some that has relatively high assay can be fed through under-utilised enrichment plants to produce natural uranium equivalent, or even enriched uranium ready for fuel fabrication. Russian enrichment plants have treated 10-15,000 tonnes per year of DU assaying over 0.3% U-235, stripping it down to 0.1% and producing a few thousand tonnes per year of natural uranium equivalent. This Russian program treating Western tails has now finished, but a new US one is expected to start when surplus capacity is available, treating about 140,000 tonnes of old DU assaying 0.4% U-235.

Underfeeding at enrichment plants is a significant source of secondary supply, especially since the Fukushima accident reduced enrichment demand for several years. This is where the operational tails assay is lower than the contracted/transactional assay, and the enricher sets aside some surplus natural uranium, which it is free to sell (either as natural uranium or as enriched uranium product) on its own account. UxC estimates that with an optimum tails assay of 0.23% in 2013, the enrichers have the potential to contribute up to 7700 tU per year to world markets by underfeeding. The 2015 edition of the World Nuclear Association’s Nuclear Fuel Report estimates 5000 to 8000 tU/yr from this source to the mid-2020s.

International fuel reserves

There have been three major initiatives to set up international reserves of enriched fuel, two of them multilateral ones, with fuel to be available under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) auspices despite any political interruptions which might affect countries needing them. The third is under US auspices, and also to meet needs arising from supply disruptions.

Russian LEU reserve

In November 2009 the IAEA Board approved a Russian proposal to create an international “fuel bank” or guaranteed reserve of low-enriched uranium under IAEA control at the International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) at Angarsk. This Russian LEU reserve was established a year later and comprises 123 tonnes of low-enriched uranium as UF6, enriched 2.0-4.95% U-235 (with 40t of latter), available to any IAEA member state in good standing which is unable to procure fuel for political reasons. It is fully funded by Russia, held under safeguards, and the fuel will be made available to IAEA at market rates, using a formula based on spot prices. Following an IAEA decision to allocate some of it, Rosatom will transport material to St Petersburg and transfer title to IAEA, which will then transfer ownership to the recipient. The 120 tonnes uranium as UF6 is equivalent to two full fuel loads for a typical 1000 MWe reactor, and is (in 2011) worth some US$ 250 million.

IAEA LEU bank

In December 2010 the IAEA board resolved to establish a similar guaranteed reserve of low-enriched uranium, the IAEA LEU Bank*. It will comprise a physical stock of UF6 owned by the IAEA, which shall “be responsible for storing and protecting” it. According to international norms, such a ‘fuel bank’ must be located in a country with no nuclear weapons and be fully open to IAEA inspectors. The fuel bank will be a potential supply of 90 tonnes LEU (as UF6) for the production of fuel assemblies for nuclear power plants. The Kazakh government in April 2015 approved a draft agreement with the IAEA for thisIn June 2015 the IAEA board approved plans for the IAEA LEU Bank to be located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) at Ust-Kamenogorsk (aka Oskemen) and operated by Kazakhstan. A formal agreement with Kazakhstan to establish the legal framework was signed in August. A transit agreement with Russia for shipping LEU was also approved. An agreement between the IAEA and UMP was signed in May 2016. UMP expects to receive the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities, and have the facility built and ready for operation by September 2017.

*  ‘LEU IAEA’ is defined as LEU owned by the IAEA in the form of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) with a nominal enrichment of U-235 to 4.95%. It comprises up to 60 full containers of the 30B type or later versions. Type 30B cylinders each hold 2.27 t UF6 (1.54 tU), hence about 92 tU. The IAEA bears the costs of the purchase and delivery (import-export) of LEU, the purchase of equipment and its operation, technical resources and other goods and services required. Kazakhstan will meet the costs of LEU storage, including payment of electricity, heating, office space and staff costs. The agreement allows for the possible transfer of the LEU fuel bank to another site from the Ulba Metallurgical Plant, and it has a ten-year duration with automatic renewal at the end of this period.

The IAEA LEU Bank is fully funded by voluntary contributions including $50 million from the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) organization, $49 million from the USA, up to $25 million from the European Union, $10 million each from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and $5 million from Norway. (See IAEA Factsheet).

American assured fuel supply

In 2005 the US government announced plans for the establishment of a mechanism to ensure fuel supply for use in commercial reactors in foreign countries where there has been supply disruption. The fuel would come from downblending 17.4 tonnes of high-enriched uranium (HEU). In August 2011 US Department of Energy announced an expanded scope for the program so it would also serve US utility needs, and now be called the American Assured Fuel Supply (AFS). At that point most of the downblending of the HEU had been completed, and the scheme was ready to operate. The AFS will comprise about 230 tonnes of low-enriched uranium (with another 60t from downblending being sold on the market to pay for the work). The AFS program is administered by the US National Nuclear Safety Administration, foreign access must be through a US entity, and the fuel will be sold at current market prices. The 230 t amount is equivalent to about six reloads for a 1000 MWe reactor.

Mineral resources and reserves

The following are internationally-recognised categories based on Australia’s JORC code, which the Canadian NI 43-101 code follows.

A ‘mineral resource’ is a known concentration of minerals in the Earth’s crust with reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction. Mineral resources are sub-divided, in order of increasing geological confidence, into inferred, indicated and measured categories.

  • An ‘inferred’ mineral resource is that part of a mineral resource for which tonnage, grade and mineral content can be estimated with only a low level of confidence. The information on which it is based is limited, or of uncertain quality and reliability.
  • An ‘indicated’ mineral resource is that part of a mineral resource for which tonnage, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a reasonable level of confidence. It is based on exploration, sampling and testing information which is adequate to assume but not confirm geological and/or grade continuity.
  • A ‘measured’ mineral resource is that part of a mineral resource for which tonnage, physical characteristics, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a high level of confidence. It is based on detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing information with locations spaced closely enough to confirm geological and grade continuity.

A ‘mineral’ reserve (or ore reserve) is the economically mineable part of a measured and/or indicated mineral resource. It allows for dilution and losses which may occur when the material is mined. Appropriate assessments and studies will have been carried out, and include consideration of realistically assumed mining, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social and governmental factors. Mineral or ore reserves are sub-divided in order of increasing confidence into probable mineral/ore reserves and proved mineral/ore reserves.

  • A ‘probable’ mineral reserve (or probable ore reserve) is the economically mineable part of an indicated mineral resource. Studies to at least pre-feasibility level will have been carried out, demonstrating that extraction could reasonably be justified.
  • A ‘proved’ mineral reserve (or proved ore reserve) is the economically mineable part of a measured mineral resource. Studies to at least pre-feasibility level will have been carried out, demonstrating that extraction is justified.

Thorium as a nuclear fuel

Today uranium is the only fuel supplied for nuclear reactors. However, thorium can also be utilised as a fuel for CANDU reactors or in reactors specially designed for this purpose. Neutron efficient reactors, such as CANDU, are capable of operating on a thorium fuel cycle, once they are started using a fissile material such as U-235 or Pu-239. Then the thorium (Th-232) atom captures a neutron in the reactor to become fissile uranium (U-233), which continues the reaction. Some advanced reactor designs are likely to be able to make use of thorium on a substantial scale.

The thorium fuel cycle has some attractive features, though it is not yet in commercial use. Thorium is reported to be about three times as abundant in the earth’s crust as uranium. The 2009 IAEA-NEA Red Book lists 3.6 million tonnes of known and estimated resources as reported, but points out that this excludes data from much of the world, and estimates about 6 million tonnes overall. See also companion paper on Thorium.

Main references

OECD NEA & IAEA, 2014, Uranium 2014: Resources, Production and Demand
WNA 2013, The Global Nuclear Fuel Market – Supply and Demand 2013-2030
UN Institute for Disarmament Research, Yury Yudin (ed) 2011, Multilateralization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle – The First Practical Steps
Monnet, A, CEA, Uranium from Coal Ash: Resource assessment and outlook, IAEA URAM 2014


Appendix 1 —- (Sept 2005)

Substantially derived from 2003 WNA Symposium paper by Colin MacDonald, Uranium: Sustainable Resource or Limit to Growth? – supplemented by his 2005 WNA Symposium paper and including a model Economic adjustments in the supply of a ‘non-renewable’ resource from Ian Hore-Lacy.

The Sustainability of Mineral Resources

with reference to uranium

It is commonly asserted that because “the resources of the earth are finite”, therefore we must face some day of reckoning, and will need to plan for “negative growth”. All this, it is pointed out, is because these resources are being consumed at an increasing rate to support our western lifestyle and to cater for the increasing demands of developing nations. The assertion that we are likely to run out of resources is a re-run of the “Limits to Growth” argument (Club of Rome 1972 popularised by Meadows et al in Limits of Growth at that time. (A useful counter to it is W Berckerman, In Defence of Economic Growth, also Singer, M, Passage to a Human World, Hudson Inst. 1987). In the decade following its publication world bauxite reserves increased 35%, copper 25%, nickel 25%, uranium and coal doubled, gas increased 70% and even oil increased 6%.) fashionable in the early 1970s, which was substantially disowned by its originators, the Club of Rome, and shown up as nonsense with the passing of time. It also echoes similar concerns raised by economists in the 1930s, and by Malthus at the end of the 18th Century.

In recent years there has been persistent misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the abundance of mineral resources, with the assertion that the world is in danger of actually running out of many mineral resources. While congenial to common sense if the scale of the Earth’s crust is ignored, it lacks empirical support in the trend of practically all mineral commodity prices and published resource figures over the long term. In recent years some have promoted the view that limited supplies of natural uranium are the Achilles heel of nuclear power as the sector contemplates a larger contribution to future clean energy, notwithstanding the small amount of it required to provide very large amounts of energy.

Uranium supply news is usually framed within a short-term perspective. It concerns who is producing with what resources, who might produce or sell, and how does this balance with demand? However, long-term supply analysis enters the realm of resource economics. This discipline has as a central concern the understanding of not just supply/demand/price dynamics for known resources, but also the mechanisms for replacing resources with new ones presently unknown. Such a focus on sustainability of supply is unique to the long view. Normally-functioning metals markets and technology change provide the drivers to ensure that supply at costs affordable to consumers is continuously replenished, both through the discovery of new resources and the re-definition (in economic terms) of known ones.

Of course the resources of the earth are indeed finite, but three observations need to be made: first, the limits of the supply of resources are so far away that the truism has no practical meaning. Second, many of the resources concerned are either renewable or recyclable (energy minerals and zinc are the main exceptions, though the recycling potential of many materials is limited in practice by the energy and other costs involved). Third, available reserves of ‘non-renewable’ resources are constantly being renewed, mostly faster than they are used.

There are three principal areas where resource predictions have faltered:

  • predictions have not accounted for gains in geological knowledge and understanding of mineral deposits;
  • they have not accounted for technologies utilised to discover, process and use them;
  • economic principles have not been taken into account, which means that resources are thought of only in present terms, not in terms of what will be economic through time, nor with concepts of substitution in mind.

What then does sustainability in relation to mineral resources mean? The answer lies in the interaction of these three things which enable usable resources (Some licence is taken in the use of this word in the following, strictly it is reserves of minerals which are created) effectively to be created. They are brought together in the diagram below.
Economic Adjustments in Supply of a 'Non-renewable' Resource flow diagram
Economic Adjustments in Uranium Supply and Use flow diagram
Numerous economists have studied resource trends to determine which measures should best reflect resource scarcity (Tilton, J. On Borrowed Time? Assessing the threat of mineral depletion, Resources for the Future, Washington DC 2002). Their consensus view is that costs and prices, properly adjusted for inflation, provide a better early warning system for long-run resource scarcity than do physical measures such as resource quantities.

Historic data show that the most commonly used metals have declined in both their costs and real commodity prices over the past century. Such price trends are the most telling evidence of lack of scarcity. Uranium has been a case in point, relative to its late 1970s price of US$ 40/lb U3O8.

An anecdote underlines this basic truth: In 1980 two eminent professors, fierce critics of one another, made a bet regarding the real market price of five metal commodities over the next decade. Paul Ehrlich, a world-famous ecologist, bet that because the world was exceeding its carrying capacity, food and commodities would start to run out in the 1980s and prices in real terms would therefore rise. Julian Simon, an economist, said that resources were effectively so abundant, and becoming effectively more so, that prices would fall in real terms. He invited Ehrlich to nominate which commodities would be used to test the matter, and they settled on these (chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten). In 1990 Ehrlich paid up – all the prices had fallen.

However, quantities of known resources tell a similar and consistent story. To cite one example, world copper reserves in the 1970s represented only 30 years of then-current production (6.4 Mt/yr). Many analysts questioned whether this resource base could satisfy the large expected requirements of the telecommunications industry by 2000. But by 1994, world production of copper had doubled (12 Mt/yr) and the available reserves were still enough for another 30 years. The reserve multiple of current production remained the same.
Metal Prices line graph

Another way to understand resource sustainability is in terms of economics and capital conservation. Under this perspective, mineral resources are not so much rare or scarce as they are simply too expensive to discover if you cannot realise the profits from your discovery fairly soon. Simple economic considerations therefore discourage companies from discovering much more than society needs through messages of reduced commodity prices during times of oversupply. Economically rational players will only invest in finding these new reserves when they are most confident of gaining a return from them, which usually requires positive price messages caused by undersupply trends. If the economic system is working correctly and maximizing capital efficiency, there should never be more than a few decades of any resource commodity in reserves at any point in time.
Resource Levels graphic

The fact that many commodities have more resources available than efficient economic theory might suggest may be partly explained by two characteristics of mineral exploration cycles. First, the exploration sector tends to over-respond to the positive price signals through rapid increases in worldwide expenditures (which increases the rate of discoveries), in particular through the important role of more speculatively-funded junior exploration companies. Exploration also tends to make discoveries in clusters that have more to do with new geological knowledge than with efficient capital allocation theory. As an example, once diamonds were known to exist in northern Canada, the small exploration boom that accompanied this resulted in several large discoveries – more than the market may have demanded at this time. These patterns are part of the dynamics that lead to commodity price cycles. New resource discoveries are very difficult to precisely match with far-off future demand, and the historic evidence suggests that the exploration process over-compensates for every small hint of scarcity that the markets provide.

Another important element in resource economics is the possibility of substitution of commodities. Many commodity uses are not exclusive – should they become too expensive they can be substituted with other materials. Even if they become cheaper they may be replaced, as technology gains have the potential to change the style and cost of material usage. For example, copper, despite being less expensive in real terms than 30 years ago, is still being replaced by fibre optics in many communication applications. These changes to materials usage and commodity demand provide yet another dimension to the simple notion of depleting resources and higher prices.

In summary, historic metals price trends, when examined in the light of social and economic change through time, demonstrate that resource scarcity is a double-edged sword. The same societal trends that have increased metals consumption, tending to increase prices, have also increased the available wealth to invest in price-reducing knowledge and technology. These insights provide the basis for the economic sustainability of metals, including uranium.

Geological knowledge

Whatever minerals are in the earth, they cannot be considered usable resources unless they are known. There must be a constant input of time, money and effort to find out what is there. This mineral exploration endeavour is not merely fossicking or doing aerial magnetic surveys, but must eventually extend to comprehensive investigation of orebodies so that they can reliably be defined in terms of location, quantity and grade. Finally, they must be technically and economically quantified as mineral reserves. That is the first aspect of creating a resource. See section in paper for mineral resource and reserve categories.

For reasons outlined above, measured resources of many minerals are increasing much faster than they are being used, due to exploration expenditure by mining companies and their investment in research. Simply on geological grounds, there is no reason to suppose that this trend will not continue. Today, proven mineral resources worldwide are more than we inherited in the 1970s, and this is especially so for uranium.

Simply put, metals which are more abundant in the Earth’s crust are more likely to occur as the economic concentrations we call mineral deposits. They also need to be reasonably extractable from their host minerals. By these measures, uranium compares very well with base and precious metals. Its average crustal abundance of 2.7 ppm is comparable with that of many other metals such as tin, tungsten, and molybdenum. Many common rocks such as granite and shales contain even higher uranium concentrations of 5 to 25 ppm. Also, uranium is predominantly bound in minerals which are not difficult to break down in processing.

As with crustal abundance, metals which occur in many different kinds of deposits are easier to replenish economically, since exploration discoveries are not constrained to only a few geological settings. Currently, at least 14 different types of uranium deposits are known, occurring in rocks of wide range of geological age and geographic distribution. There are several fundamental geological reasons why uranium deposits are not rare, but the principal reason is that uranium is relatively easy both to place into solution over geological time, and to precipitate out of solution in chemically reducing conditions. This chemical characteristic alone allows many geological settings to provide the required hosting conditions for uranium resources. Related to this diversity of settings is another supply advantage ?the wide range in the geological ages of host rocks ensures that many geopolitical regions are likely to host uranium resources of some quality.

Unlike the metals which have been in demand for centuries, society has barely begun to utilise uranium. As serious non-military demand did not materialise until significant nuclear generation was built by the late 1970s, there has been only one cycle of exploration-discovery-production, driven in large part by late 1970s price peaks (MacDonald, C, Rocks to reactors: Uranium exploration and the market. Proceedings of WNA Symposium 2001). This initial cycle has provided more than enough uranium for the last three decades and several more to come. Clearly, it is premature to speak about long-term uranium scarcity when the entire nuclear industry is so young that only one cycle of resource replenishment has been required. It is instead a reassurance that this first cycle of exploration was capable of meeting the needs of more than half a century of nuclear energy demand.

Related to the youthfulness of nuclear energy demand is the early stage that global exploration had reached before declining uranium prices stifled exploration in the mid-1980s. The significant investment in uranium exploration during the 1970-82 exploration cycle would have been fairly efficient in discovering exposed uranium deposits, due to the ease of detecting radioactivity. Still, very few prospective regions in the world have seen the kind of intensive knowledge and technology-driven exploration that the Athabasca Basin of Canada has seen since 1975. This fact has huge positive implications for future uranium discoveries, because the Athabasca Basin history suggests that the largest proportion of future resources will be as deposits discovered in the more advanced phases of exploration. Specifically, only 25% of the 635,000 tonnes of U3O8 discovered so far in the Athabasca Basin could be discovered during the first phase of surface-based exploration. A sustained second phase, based on advances in deep penetrating geophysics and geological models, was required to discover the remaining 75%.

Another dimension to the immaturity of uranium exploration is that it is by no means certain that all possible deposit types have even been identified. Any estimate of world uranium potential made only 30 years ago would have missed the entire deposit class of unconformity deposits that have driven production since then, simply because geologists did not know this class existed.

Technology

It is meaningless to speak of a resource until someone has thought of a way to use any particular material. In this sense, human ingenuity quite literally creates new resources, historically, currently and prospectively. That is the most fundamental level at which technology creates resources, by making particular minerals usable in new ways. Often these then substitute to some degree for others which are becoming scarcer, as indicated by rising prices. Uranium was not a resource in any meaningful sense before 1940.

More particularly, if a known mineral deposit cannot be mined, processed and marketed economically, it does not constitute a resource in any practical sense. Many factors determine whether a particular mineral deposit can be considered a usable resource – the scale of mining and processing, the technological expertise involved, its location in relation to markets, and so on. The application of human ingenuity, through technology, alters the significance of all these factors and is thus a second means of ‘creating’ resources. In effect, portions of the earth’s crust are reclassified as resources. A further aspect of this is at the manufacturing and consumer level, where technology can make a given amount of resources go further through more efficient use.(aluminium can mass was reduced by 21% 1972-88, and motor cars each use about 30% less steel than 30 years ago)

An excellent example of this application of technology to create resources is in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Until the 1960s the vast iron ore deposits there were simply geological curiosities, despite their very high grade. Australia had been perceived as short of iron ore. With modern large-scale mining technology and the advent of heavy duty railways and bulk shipping which could economically get the iron ore from the mine (well inland) through the ports of Dampier and Port Hedland to Japan, these became one of the nation’s main mineral resources. For the last 45 years Hamersley Iron (Rio Tinto), Mount Newman (BHP-Billiton) and others have been at the forefront of Australia’s mineral exporters, drawing upon these ‘new’ orebodies.

Just over a hundred years ago aluminium was a precious metal, not because it was scarce, but because it was almost impossible to reduce the oxide to the metal, which was therefore fantastically expensive. With the discovery of the Hall-Heroult process in 1886, the cost of producing aluminium plummeted to about one twentieth of what it had been and that metal has steadily become more commonplace. It now competes with iron in many applications, and copper in others, as well as having its own widespread uses in every aspect of our lives. Not only was a virtually new material provided for people’s use by this technological breakthrough, but enormous quantities of bauxite world-wide progressively became a valuable resource. Without the technological breakthrough, they would have remained a geological curiosity.

Incremental improvements in processing technology at all plants are less obvious but nevertheless very significant also. Over many years they are probably as important as the historic technological breakthroughs.

To achieve sustainability, the combined effects of mineral exploration and the development of technology need to be creating resources at least as fast as they are being used. There is no question that in respect to the minerals industry this is generally so, and with uranium it is also demonstrable. Recycling also helps, though generally its effect is not great.

Economics

Whether a particular mineral deposit is sensibly available as a resource will depend on the market price of the mineral concerned. If it costs more to get it out of the ground than its value warrants, it can hardly be classified as a resource (unless there is some major market distortion due to government subsidies of some kind). Therefore, the resources available will depend on the market price, which in turn depends on world demand for the particular mineral and the costs of supplying that demand. The dynamic equilibrium between supply and demand also gives rise to substitution of other materials when scarcity looms (or the price is artificially elevated). This then is the third aspect of creating resources.

The best known example of the interaction of markets with resource availability is in the oil industry. When in 1972 OPEC suddenly increased the price of oil fourfold, several things happened at both producer and consumer levels.

The producers dramatically increased their exploration effort, and applied ways to boost oil recovery from previously ‘exhausted’ or uneconomic wells. At the consumer end, increased prices meant massive substitution of other fuels and greatly increased capital expenditure in more efficient plant. As a result of the former activities, oil resources increased dramatically. As a result of the latter, oil use fell slightly to 1975 and in the longer perspective did not increase globally from 1973 to 1986. Forecasts in 1972, which had generally predicted a doubling of oil consumption in ten years, proved quite wrong.

Oil will certainly become scarce one day, probably before most other mineral resources, which will continue to drive its price up. As in the 1970s, this will in turn cause increased substitution for oil and bring about greater efficiencies in its use as equilibrium between supply and demand is maintained by the market mechanism. Certainly oil will never run out in any absolute sense – it will simply become too expensive to use as liberally as we now do.

Another example is provided by aluminium. During World War II, Germany and Japan recovered aluminium from kaolinite, a common clay, at slightly greater cost than it could be obtained from bauxite.

Due to the operation of these three factors the world’s economically demonstrated resources of most minerals have risen faster than the increased rate of usage over the last 50 years, so that more are available now, notwithstanding liberal usage. This is largely due to the effects of mineral exploration and the fact that new discoveries have exceeded consumption.

Replacement of uranium

A characteristic of metals resource replacement is that the mineral discovery process itself adds a small cost relative to the value of the discovered metals. As an example, the huge uranium reserves of Canada’s Athabasca Basin were discovered for about US$1.00/kgU (2003 dollars, including unsuccessful exploration). Similar estimates for world uranium resources, based on published IAEA exploration expenditure data and assuming that these expenditures yielded only the past uranium produced plus the present known economic resources categories at up to US$80/kg (Uranium 2003: Resources, Production and demand. Nuclear Energy Agency and IAEA, OECD Publications 2004) yields slightly higher costs of about US$1.50/kgU. This may reflect the higher component of State-driven exploration globally, some of which had national self-sufficiency objectives that may not have aligned with industry economic standards.

From an economic perspective, these exploration costs are essentially equivalent to capital investment costs, albeit spread over a longer time period. It is, however, this time lag between the exploration expense and the start of production that confounds attempts to analyse exploration economics using strict discounted cash flow methods. The positive cash flows from production occur at least 10-15 years into the future, so that their present values are obviously greatly reduced, especially if one treats the present as the start of exploration. This creates a paradox, since large resource companies must place a real value on simply surviving and being profitable for many decades into the future; and, without exploration discoveries, all mining companies must expire with their reserves. Recent advances in the use of real options and similar methods are providing new ways to understand this apparent paradox. A key insight is that time, rather than destroying value through discounting, actually adds to the option value, as does the potential of price volatility. Under this perspective, resource companies create value by obtaining future resources which can be exploited optimally under a range of possible economic conditions. Techniques such as these are beginning to add analytical support to what have always been intuitive understandings by resource company leaders – that successful exploration creates profitable mines and adds value to company shares.

Since uranium is part of the energy sector, another way to look at exploration costs is on the basis of energy value. This allows comparisons with the energy investment cost for other energy fuels, especially fossil fuels which will have analogous costs related to the discovery of the resources. From numerous published sources, the finding costs of crude oil have averaged around US$ 6/bbl over at least the past three decades. Uranium’s finding costs make up only 2% of the recent spot price of US$ 30/lb ($78/kgU), while the oil finding costs are 12% of a recent spot price of US$ 50/bbl.

By these measures, uranium is a very inexpensive energy source to replenish, as society has accepted far higher energy replacement costs to sustain oil resources. This low basic energy resource cost is one argument in favour of a nuclear-hydrogen solution to long-term replacement of oil as a transportation fuel.

Forecasting replenishment

Supply forecasters are often reluctant to consider the additive impacts of exploration on new supply, arguing that assuming discoveries is as risky and speculative as the exploration business itself. Trying to predict any single discovery certainly is speculative. However, as long as the goal is merely to account for the estimated total discovery rate at a global level, a proxy such as estimated exploration expenditures can be used. Since expenditures correlate with discovery rate, the historic (or adjusted) resources discovered per unit of expenditure will provide a reasonable estimate of resource gains to be expected. As long as the time lag between discovery and production is accounted for, this kind of dynamic forecasting is more likely to provide a basis for both price increases and decreases, which metals markets have historically demonstrated.

Without these estimates of uranium resource replenishment through exploration cycles, long-term supply-demand analyses will tend to have a built-in pessimistic bias (i.e. towards scarcity and higher prices), that will not reflect reality. Not only will these forecasts tend to overestimate the price required to meet long-term demand, but the opponents of nuclear power use them to bolster arguments that nuclear power is unsustainable even in the short term. In a similar fashion, these finite-resources analyses also lead observers of the industry to conclude that fast breeder reactor technology will soon be required. This may indeed make a gradual appearance, but if uranium follows the price trends we see in other metals, its development will be due to strategic policy decisions more than uranium becoming too expensive.

The resource economics perspective tells us that new exploration cycles should be expected to add uranium resources to the world inventory, and to the extent that some of these may be of higher quality and involve lower operating cost than resources previously identified, this will tend to mitigate price increases. This is precisely what has happened in uranium, as the low-cost discoveries in Canada’s Athabasca Basin have displaced higher-cost production from many other regions, lowering the cost curve and contributing to lower prices. Secondary uranium supplies, to the extent that they can be considered as a very low-cost mine, have simply extended this price trend.

The first exploration and mining cycle for uranium occurred about 1970 to 1985. It provided enough uranium to meet world demand for some 80 years, if we view present known resources as arising from it. With the rise in uranium prices to September 2005 and the concomitant increase (boom?) in mineral exploration activity, it is clear that we have the start of a second such cycle, mid-2003 to ??. The price increase was brought about by diminution of secondary supplies coupled with a realization that primary supplies needed to increase substantially.

Several significant decisions on mine development and increased exploration by major producers will enable this expansion of supply, coupled with smaller producers coming on line. The plethora of junior exploration companies at the other end of the spectrum which are finding no difficulty whatever in raising capital are also a positive sign that a vigorous new exploration and mining cycle is cranking up. From lows of around US$ 55 million per year in 2000, world uranium exploration expenditure rose to about US$ 110 million in 2004 and is expected to be US$ 185 million in 2005, half of this being from the junior exploration sector. The new cycle is also showing considerable regional diversification. Measured from 1990, cycle 2 totals US$ 1.5 billion to 2005, compared with a total of about three times this figure (uncorrected) for the whole of the first cycle.

Depletion and sustainability

Conversely, the exhaustion of mineral resources during mining is real. Resource economists do not deny the fact of depletion, nor its long-term impact – that in the absence of other factors, depletion will tend to drive commodity prices up. But as we have seen, mineral commodities can become more available or less scarce over time if the cost-reducing effects of new technology and exploration are greater than the cost-increasing effects of depletion.

One development that would appear to argue against economic sustainability is the growing awareness of the global depletion of oil, and in some regions such as North America, natural gas. But oil is a fundamentally different material. This starts with geology, where key differences include the fact that oil and gas were formed by only one process: the breakdown of plant life on Earth. Compared with the immense volumes of rock-forming minerals in the Earth? crust, living organisms on top of it have always been a very tiny proportion. But a more important fact is that the world has consumed oil, and recently natural gas as well, in a trajectory of rapid growth virtually unmatched by any other commodity. Consumption growth rates of up to 10% annually over the past 50 years are much higher than we see for other commodities, and support the contention that oil is a special depletion case for several reasons: its geological occurrence is limited, it has been inexpensive to extract, its energy utility has been impossible to duplicate for the price, and its resulting depletion rates have been incredibly high.

This focus on rates of depletion suggests that one of the dimensions of economic sustainability of metals has to do with their relative rates of depletion. Specifically, it suggests that economic sustainability will hold indefinitely as long as the rate of depletion of mineral resources is slower than the rate at which it is offset. This offsetting force will be the sum of individual factors that work against depletion, and include cost-reducing technology and knowledge, lower cost resources through exploration advances, and demand shifting through substitution of materials.

An economic sustainability balance of this type also contemplates that, at some future point, the offsetting factors may not be sufficient to prevent irreversible depletion-induced price increases, and it is at this point that substituting materials and technologies must come into play to take away demand. In the case of rapid oil depletion, that substitute appears to be hydrogen as a transport fuel. Which raises the question of how the hydrogen is produced, and nuclear energy seems the most likely means of that, using high-temperature reactors.

From a detached viewpoint all this may look like mere technological optimism. But to anyone closely involved it is obvious and demonstrable. Furthermore, it is illustrated by the longer history of human use of the Earth’s mineral resources. Abundance, scarcity, substitution, increasing efficiency of use, technological breakthroughs in discovery, recovery and use, sustained incremental improvements in mineral recovery and energy efficiency – all these comprise the history of minerals and humankind.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/uranium-resources/supply-of-uranium.aspx

7 Uranium One Facts Every American Should Know

Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration find themselves at the center of an explosive scandal involving the transfer of 20 percent of all U.S. uranium to Russia via the sale of the Uranium One company, just as nine foreign investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation to help grease the wheels.

Here are the seven facts about the Uranium One deal you need to know:

  1. Peter Schweizer Broke the Uranium One Scandal
    Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer broke the Uranium One scandal in his book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. In the book, he reported that Clinton’s State Department, along with other federal agencies, approved the transfer of 20 percent of all U.S. uranium to Russia and that nine foreign investors in the deal gave $145 million to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s personal charity, the Clinton Foundation.
  1. The New York Times Confirmed the Scandal in 2015
    The New York Times confirmed Schweizer’s Uranium One revelations in a 4,000-word front-page story by a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. It detailed how the Russian energy giant Rosatom had taken over the Canadian firm with three separate purchases between 2009 and 2013, largely coinciding with Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state.
  1. The FBI Uncovered Evidence that Russian Money Was Funneled to the Clinton Foundation
    The Hill reported last week that ahead of the deal, the FBI had uncovered “substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering” to expand Russia’s nuclear footprint in the U.S. as early as 2009. The agency also found that Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. to benefit the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department would sit on the evidence for four years before looking to prosecute, by which time the deal had been approved.
  1. Congress Is Now Investigating
    The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched a probe into the scandal and has sent requests for more information to 10 federal agencies involved in the approval of the partial sale of Uranium One, asking what they knew about the FBI investigation and when.
  1. Bill Clinton Was Paid $500,000 for a Speech in Moscow
    Bill Clinton bagged a $500,000 speech in Moscow paid for by a Kremlin-backed bank shortly after Russia announced its intention to take a majority stake in the company. According to the Times, Clinton traveled to Moscow in June 2010, the same month Rosatom struck its deal for its majority stake in Uranium One.
  1. The Clinton Foundation Took Big Bucks from Uranium Investors
    According to theTimes, The Clinton Foundation received $2.35 million in donations from Ian Telfer, a mining investor who was also the chairman of Uranium One when Rosatom acquired it. It also received $31.3 million and a pledge for $100 million more from Frank Giustra, the Canadian mining financier whose company merged with Uranium One.
  1. Senate Republicans Want an FBI Gag Order Lifted
    Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has called for the Justice Department to lift the gag order on the FBI’s whistleblower, indicating that he may have more explosive revelations related to the case and on what the Clintons and the Obama administration knew about the case and when they knew it.

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/23/7-uranium-one-facts-every-american-should-know/

A Uranium One sign that points to a 35,000-acre ranch owned by John Christensen, near the town of Gillette, Wyo. Uranium One has the mining rights to Mr. Christensen’s property. CreditMatthew Staver for The New York Times

The headline on the website Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

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.

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.

Photo

Frank Giustra, right, a mining financier, has donated $31.3 million to the foundation run by former President Bill Clinton, left.CreditJoaquin Sarmiento/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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 New York Times’s examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book “Clinton Cash.” 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.

Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.

In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.” He emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary. “To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless,” he added.

American political campaigns are barred from accepting foreign donations. But foreigners may give to foundations in the United States. In the days since Mrs. Clinton announced her candidacy for president, the Clinton Foundation has announced changes meant to quell longstanding concerns about potential conflicts of interest in such donations; it 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 a more stringent agreement between Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration that was in effect while she was secretary of state.

Either way, the Uranium One deal highlights the limits of such prohibitions. The foundation will continue to accept contributions from foreign sources whose interests, like Uranium One’s, may overlap with those of foreign governments, some of which may be at odds with the United States.

When the Uranium One deal was approved, the geopolitical backdrop was far different from today’s. The Obama administration was seeking to “reset” strained relations with Russia. The deal was strategically important to Mr. Putin, who shortly after the Americans gave their blessing sat down for a staged interview with Rosatom’s chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko. “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves,” Mr. Kiriyenko told Mr. Putin.

GRAPHIC

Donations to the Clinton Foundation, and a Russian Uranium Takeover

Uranium investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office was involved in approving a Russian bid for mining assets in Kazakhstan and the United States.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

Now, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, the Moscow-Washington relationship is devolving toward Cold War levels, a point several experts made in evaluating a deal so beneficial to Mr. Putin, a man known to use energy resources to project power around the world.

“Should we be concerned? Absolutely,” said Michael McFaul, who served under Mrs. Clinton as the American ambassador to Russia but said he had been unaware of the Uranium One deal until asked about it. “Do we want Putin to have a monopoly on this? Of course we don’t. We don’t want to be dependent on Putin for anything in this climate.”

A Seat at the Table

The path to a Russian acquisition of American uranium deposits began in 2005 in Kazakhstan, where the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra orchestrated his first big uranium deal, with Mr. Clinton at his side.

The two men had flown aboard Mr. Giustra’s private jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they dined with the authoritarian president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev. Mr. Clinton handed the Kazakh president a propaganda coup when he expressed support for Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international elections monitoring group, undercutting American foreign policy and criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, his wife, then a senator.

Within days of the visit, Mr. Giustra’s fledgling company, UrAsia Energy Ltd., signed a preliminary deal giving it stakes in three uranium mines controlled by the state-run uranium agency Kazatomprom.

If the Kazakh deal was a major victory, UrAsia did not wait long before resuming the hunt. In 2007, it merged with Uranium One, a South African company with assets in Africa and Australia, in what was described as a $3.5 billion transaction. The new company, which kept the Uranium One name, was controlled by UrAsia investors including Ian Telfer, a Canadian who became chairman. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Giustra, whose personal stake in the deal was estimated at about $45 million, said he sold his stake in 2007.

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. That deal made clear that Uranium One was intent on becoming “a powerhouse in the United States uranium sector with the potential to become the domestic supplier of choice for U.S. utilities,” the company declared.

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Ian Telfer was chairman of Uranium One and made large donations to the Clinton Foundation.CreditGalit Rodan/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

Still, the company’s story was hardly front-page news in the United States — until early 2008, in the midst of Mrs. Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, when The Times published an article revealing the 2005 trip’s link to Mr. Giustra’s Kazakhstan mining deal. It also reported that several months later, Mr. Giustra had donated $31.3 million to Mr. Clinton’s foundation.

(In a statement issued after this article appeared online, Mr. Giustra said he was “extremely proud” of his charitable work with Mr. Clinton, and he urged the media to focus on poverty, health care and “the real challenges of the world.”)

Though the 2008 article quoted the former head of Kazatomprom, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, as saying that the deal required government approval and was discussed at a dinner with the president, Mr. Giustra insisted that it was a private transaction, with no need for Mr. Clinton’s influence with Kazakh officials. He described his relationship with Mr. Clinton as motivated solely by a shared interest in philanthropy.

As if to underscore the point, five months later Mr. Giustra held a fund-raiser for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project aimed at fostering progressive environmental and labor practices in the natural resources industry, to which he had pledged $100 million. The star-studded gala, at a conference center in Toronto, featured performances by Elton John and Shakira and celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Robin Williams encouraging contributions from the many so-called F.O.F.s — Friends of Frank — in attendance, among them Mr. Telfer. In all, the evening generated $16 million in pledges, according to an article in The Globe and Mail.

“None of this would have been possible if Frank Giustra didn’t have a remarkable combination of caring and modesty, of vision and energy and iron determination,” Mr. Clinton told those gathered, adding: “I love this guy, and you should, too.”

But what had been a string of successes was about to hit a speed bump.

Arrest and Progress

By June 2009, a little over a year after the star-studded evening in Toronto, Uranium One’s stock was in free-fall, down 40 percent. Mr. Dzhakishev, the head of Kazatomprom, had just been arrested on charges that he illegally sold uranium deposits to foreign companies, including at least some of those won by Mr. Giustra’s UrAsia and now owned by Uranium One.

Publicly, the company tried to reassure shareholders. Its chief executive, Jean Nortier, issued a confident statement calling the situation a “complete misunderstanding.” He also contradicted Mr. Giustra’s contention that the uranium deal had not required government blessing. “When you do a transaction in Kazakhstan, you need the government’s approval,” he said, adding that UrAsia had indeed received that approval.

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Bill Clinton met with Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow in 2010. CreditMikhail Metzel/Associated Press

But privately, Uranium One officials were worried they could lose their joint mining ventures. American diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks also reflect concerns that Mr. Dzhakishev’s arrest was part of a Russian power play for control of Kazakh uranium assets.

At the time, Russia was already eying a stake in Uranium One, Rosatom company documents show. Rosatom officials say they were seeking to acquire mines around the world because Russia lacks sufficient domestic reserves to meet its own industry needs.

It was against this backdrop that the Vancouver-based Uranium One pressed the American Embassy in Kazakhstan, as well as Canadian diplomats, to take up its cause with Kazakh officials, according to the American cables.

“We want more than a statement to the press,” Paul Clarke, a Uranium One executive vice president, told the embassy’s energy officer on June 10, the officer reported in a cable. “That is simply chitchat.” What the company needed, Mr. Clarke said, was official written confirmation that the licenses were valid.

The American Embassy ultimately reported to the secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton. Though the Clarke cable was copied to her, it was given wide circulation, and it is unclear if she would have read it; the Clinton campaign did not address questions about the cable.

What is clear is that the embassy acted, with the cables showing that the energy officer met with Kazakh officials to discuss the issue on June 10 and 11.

Three days later, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom completed a deal for 17 percent of Uranium One. And within a year, the Russian government substantially upped the ante, with a generous offer to shareholders that would give it a 51 percent controlling stake. But first, Uranium One had to get the American government to sign off on the deal.

Among the Donors to the Clinton Foundation

Frank Giustra
$31.3 million and a pledge for $100 million more
He built a company that later merged with Uranium One.
Ian Telfer
$2.35 million
Mining investor who was chairman of Uranium One when an arm of the Russian government, Rosatom, acquired it.
Paul Reynolds
$1 million to $5 million
Adviser on 2007 UrAsia-Uranium One merger. Later helped raise $260 million for the company.
Frank Holmes
$250,000 to $500,000
Chief Executive of U.S. Global Investors Inc., which held $4.7 million in Uranium One shares in the first quarter of 2011.
Neil Woodyer
$50,000 to $100,000
Adviser to Uranium One. Founded Endeavour Mining with Mr. Giustra.
GMP Securities Ltd.
Donating portion of profits
Worked on debt issue that raised $260 million for Uranium One.

The Power to Say No

When a company controlled by the Chinese government sought a 51 percent stake in a tiny Nevada gold mining operation in 2009, it set off a secretive review process in Washington, where officials raised concerns primarily about the mine’s proximity to a military installation, but also about the potential for minerals at the site, including uranium, to come under Chinese control. The officials killed the deal.

Such is the power of 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.

The national security issue at stake in the Uranium One deal was not primarily about nuclear weapons proliferation; the United States and Russia had for years cooperated on that front, with Russia sending enriched fuel from decommissioned warheads to be used in American nuclear power plants in return for raw uranium.

Instead, it concerned American dependence on foreign uranium sources. While the United States gets one-fifth of its electrical power from nuclear plants, it produces only around 20 percent of the uranium it needs, and most plants have only 18 to 36 months of reserves, according to Marin Katusa, author of “The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped From America’s Grasp.”

“The Russians are easily winning the uranium war, and nobody’s talking about it,” said Mr. Katusa, who explores the implications of the Uranium One deal in his book. “It’s not just a domestic issue but a foreign policy issue, too.”

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.”

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President Putin during a meeting with Rosatom’s chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko, in December 2007.CreditDmitry Astakhov/Ria Novosti, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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

Uranium One’s shareholders were also alarmed, and were “afraid of Rosatom as a Russian state giant,” Sergei Novikov, a company spokesman, recalled in an interview. He said Rosatom’s chief, Mr. Kiriyenko, sought to reassure Uranium One investors, promising that Rosatom would not break up the company and would keep the same management, including Mr. Telfer, the chairman. Another Rosatom official said publicly that it did not intend to increase its investment beyond 51 percent, and that it envisioned keeping Uranium One a public company

American nuclear officials, too, seemed eager to assuage fears. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission wrote to Mr. Barrasso assuring him that American uranium would be preserved for domestic use, regardless of who owned it.

“In order to export uranium from the United States, Uranium One Inc. or ARMZ would need to apply for and obtain a specific NRC license authorizing the export of uranium for use as reactor fuel,” the letter said.

Still, the ultimate authority to approve or reject the Russian acquisition rested with the cabinet officials on the foreign investment committee, including Mrs. Clinton — whose husband was collecting millions in donations from people associated with Uranium One.

Undisclosed Donations

Before Mrs. Clinton could assume her post as secretary of state, the White House demanded that she sign a memorandum of understanding placing limits on the activities of her husband’s foundation. To avoid the perception of conflicts of interest, beyond the ban on foreign government donations, the foundation was required to publicly disclose all contributors.

To judge from those disclosures — which list the contributions in ranges rather than precise amounts — the only Uranium One official to give to the Clinton Foundation was Mr. Telfer, the chairman, and the amount was relatively small: no more than $250,000, and that was in 2007, before talk of a Rosatom deal began percolating.

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Uranium One’s Russian takeover was approved by the United States while Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

But a review of tax records in Canada, where Mr. Telfer has a family charity called the Fernwood Foundation, shows that he donated millions of dollars more, during and after the critical time when the foreign investment committee was reviewing his deal with the Russians. With the Russians offering a special dividend, shareholders like Mr. Telfer stood to profit.

His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.

The Clinton campaign left it to the foundation to reply to questions about the Fernwood donations; the foundation did not provide a response.

Mr. Telfer’s undisclosed donations came in addition to between $1.3 million and $5.6 million in contributions, which were reported, from a constellation of people with ties to Uranium One or UrAsia, the company that originally acquired Uranium One’s most valuable asset: the Kazakh mines. Without those assets, the Russians would have had no interest in the deal: “It wasn’t the goal to buy the Wyoming mines. The goal was to acquire the Kazakh assets, which are very good,” Mr. Novikov, the Rosatom spokesman, said in an interview.

Amid this influx of Uranium One-connected money, Mr. Clinton was invited to speak in Moscow in June 2010, the same month Rosatom struck its deal for a majority stake in Uranium One.

The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its investor conferences.

Renaissance Capital analysts talked up Uranium One’s stock, assigning it a “buy” rating and saying in a July 2010 research report that it was “the best play” in the uranium markets. In addition, Renaissance Capital turned up that same year as a major donor, along with Mr. Giustra and several companies linked to Uranium One or UrAsia, to a small medical charity in Colorado run by a friend of Mr. Giustra’s. In a newsletter to supporters, the friend credited Mr. Giustra with helping get donations from “businesses around the world.”

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John Christensen sold the mining rights on his ranch in Wyoming to Uranium One.CreditMatthew Staver for The New York Times

Renaissance Capital would not comment on the genesis of Mr. Clinton’s speech to an audience that included leading Russian officials, or on whether it was connected to the Rosatom deal. According to a Russian government news service, Mr. Putin personally thanked Mr. Clinton for speaking.

A person with knowledge of the Clinton Foundation’s fund-raising operation, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about it, said that for many people, the hope is that money will in fact buy influence: “Why do you think they are doing it — because they love them?” But whether it actually does is another question. And in this case, there were broader geopolitical pressures that likely came into play as the United States considered whether to approve the Rosatom-Uranium One deal.

Diplomatic Considerations

If doing business with Rosatom was good for those in the Uranium One deal, engaging with Russia was also a priority of the incoming Obama administration, which was hoping for a new era of cooperation as Mr. Putin relinquished the presidency — if only for a term — to Dmitri A. Medvedev.

“The assumption was we could engage Russia to further core U.S. national security interests,” said Mr. McFaul, the former ambassador.

It started out well. The two countries made progress on nuclear proliferation issues, and expanded use of Russian territory to resupply American forces in Afghanistan. Keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon was among the United States’ top priorities, and in June 2010 Russia signed off on a United Nations resolution imposing tough new sanctions on that country.

Two months later, the deal giving ARMZ a controlling stake in Uranium One was submitted to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for review. Because of the secrecy surrounding the process, it is hard to know whether the participants weighed the desire to improve bilateral relations against the potential risks of allowing the Russian government control over the biggest uranium producer in the United States. The deal was ultimately approved in October, following what two people involved in securing the approval said had been a relatively smooth process.

Not all of the committee’s decisions are personally debated by the agency heads themselves; in less controversial cases, deputy or assistant secretaries may sign off. But experts and former committee members say Russia’s interest in Uranium One and its American uranium reserves seemed to warrant attention at the highest levels.

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Moukhtar Dzhakishev was arrested in 2009 while the chief of Kazatomprom.CreditDaniel Acker/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

“This deal had generated press, it had captured the attention of Congress and it was strategically important,” said Richard Russell, who served on the committee during the George W. Bush administration. “When I was there invariably any one of those conditions would cause this to get pushed way up the chain, and here you had all three.”

And Mrs. Clinton brought a reputation for hawkishness to the process; as a senator, she was a vocal critic of the committee’s approval of a deal that would have transferred the management of major American seaports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates, and as a presidential candidate she had advocated legislation to strengthen the process.

The Clinton campaign spokesman, Mr. Fallon, said that in general, these matters did not rise to the secretary’s level. He would not comment on whether Mrs. Clinton had been briefed on the matter, but he gave The Times a statement from the former assistant secretary assigned to the foreign investment committee at the time, Jose Fernandez. While not addressing the specifics of the Uranium One deal, Mr. Fernandez said, “Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any C.F.I.U.S. matter.”

Mr. Fallon also noted that if any agency had raised national security concerns about the Uranium One deal, it could have taken them directly to the president.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s director of policy planning at the time, said she was unaware of the transaction — or the extent to which it made Russia a dominant uranium supplier. But speaking generally, she urged caution in evaluating its wisdom in hindsight.

“Russia was not a country we took lightly at the time or thought was cuddly,” she said. “But it wasn’t the adversary it is today.”

That renewed adversarial relationship has raised concerns about European dependency on Russian energy resources, including nuclear fuel. The unease reaches beyond diplomatic circles. In Wyoming, where Uranium One equipment is scattered across his 35,000-acre ranch, John Christensen is frustrated that repeated changes in corporate ownership over the years led to French, South African, Canadian and, finally, Russian control over mining rights on his property.

“I hate to see a foreign government own mining rights here in the United States,” he said. “I don’t think that should happen.”

Mr. Christensen, 65, 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 delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and taken private. As of 2013, Rosatom’s subsidiary, ARMZ, owned 100 percent of it.

Correction: April 23, 2015 
An earlier version of this article misstated, in one instance, the surname of a fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is Peter Schweizer, not Schweitzer.An earlier version also incorrectly described the Clinton Foundation’s agreement with the Obama administration regarding foreign-government donations while Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state. Under the agreement, the foundation would not accept new donations from foreign governments, though it could seek State Department waivers in specific cases. It was not barred from accepting all foreign-government donations.
Correction: April 30, 2015 
An article on Friday about contributions to the Clinton Foundation from people associated with a Canadian uranium-mining company described incorrectly the foundation’s agreement with the Obama administration regarding foreign-government donations while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Under the agreement, the foundation would not accept new donations from foreign governments, though it could seek State Department waivers in specific cases. The foundation was not barred from accepting all foreign-government donations.

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

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, according to government documents and interviews.

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.

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, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

Spokesmen for Holder and Clinton did not return calls seeking comment. The Justice Department also didn’t comment.

Mikerin was a director of Rosatom’s Tenex in Moscow since the early 2000s, where he oversaw Rosatom’s nuclear collaboration with the United States under the Megatons to Megwatts program and its commercial uranium sales to other countries. In 2010, Mikerin was dispatched to the U.S. on a work visa approved by the Obama administration to open Rosatom’s new American arm called Tenam.

Between 2009 and January 2012, Mikerin “did knowingly and willfully combine, conspire confederate and agree with other persons … to obstruct, delay and affect commerce and the movement of an article and commodity (enriched uranium) in commerce by extortion,” a November 2014 indictment stated.

His illegal conduct was captured with the help of a confidential witness, an American businessman, who began making kickback payments at Mikerin’s direction and with the permission of the FBI. The first kickback payment recorded by the FBI through its informant was dated Nov. 27, 2009, the records show.

In evidentiary affidavits signed in 2014 and 2015, an Energy Department agent assigned to assist the FBI in the case testified that Mikerin supervised a “racketeering scheme” that involved extortion, bribery, money laundering and kickbacks that were both directed by and provided benefit to more senior officials back in Russia.

“As part of the scheme, Mikerin, with the consent of higher level officials at TENEX and Rosatom (both Russian state-owned entities) would offer no-bid contracts to US businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money payments made to some offshore banks accounts,” Agent David Gadren testified.

“Mikerin apparently then shared the proceeds with other co-conspirators associated with TENEX in Russia and elsewhere,” the agent added.

The investigation was ultimately supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director under Trump, Justice Department documents show.

Both men now play a key role in the current investigation into possible, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle. McCabe is under congressional and Justice Department inspector general investigation in connection with money his wife’s Virginia state Senate campaign accepted in 2015 from now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a time when McAuliffe was reportedly under investigation by the FBI. The probe is not focused on McAuliffe’s conduct but rather on whether McCabe’s attendance violated the Hatch Act or other FBI conflict rules.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller, now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired earlier this year.

Its many twist and turns aside, the FBI nuclear industry case proved a gold mine, in part because it uncovered a new Russian money laundering apparatus that routed bribe and kickback payments through financial instruments in Cyprus, Latvia and Seychelles. A Russian financier in New Jersey was among those arrested for the money laundering, court records show.

The case also exposed a serious national security breach: Mikerin had given a contract to an American trucking firm called Transport Logistics International that held the sensitive job of transporting Russia’s uranium around the United States in return for more than $2 million in kickbacks from some of its executives, court records show.

One of Mikerin’s former employees told the FBI that Tenex officials in Russia specifically directed the scheme to “allow for padded pricing to include kickbacks,” agents testified in one court filing.

Bringing down a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme that had both compromised a sensitive uranium transportation asset inside the U.S. and facilitated international money laundering would seem a major feather in any law enforcement agency’s cap.

But the Justice Department and FBI took little credit in 2014 when Mikerin, the Russian financier and the trucking firm executives were arrested and charged.

The only public statement occurred a year later when the Justice Department put out a little-noticed press release in August 2015, just days before Labor Day. The release noted that the various defendants had reached plea deals.

By that time, the criminal cases against Mikerin had been narrowed to a single charge of money laundering for a scheme that officials admitted stretched from 2004 to 2014. And though agents had evidence of criminal wrongdoing they collected since at least 2009, federal prosecutors only cited in the plea agreement a handful of transactions that occurred in 2011 and 2012, well after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s approval.

The final court case also made no mention of any connection to the influence peddling conversations the FBI undercover informant witnessed about the Russian nuclear officials trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons even though agents had gathered documents showing the transmission of millions of dollars from Russia’s nuclear industry to an American entity that had provided assistance to Bill Clinton’s foundation, sources confirmed to The Hill.

The lack of fanfare left many key players in Washington with no inkling that a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme with serious national security implications had been uncovered.

On Dec. 15, 2015, the Justice Department put out a release stating that Mikerin, “a former Russian official residing in Maryland was sentenced today to 48 months in prison” and ordered to forfeit more than $2.1 million.

Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, told The Hill he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case by the counterintelligence side of the bureau despite the criminal charges that were being lodged.

“I had no idea this case was being conducted,” a surprised Hosko said in an interview.

Likewise, major congressional figures were also kept in the dark.

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during the time the FBI probe was being conducted, told The Hill that he had never been told anything about the Russian nuclear corruption case even though many fellow lawmakers had serious concerns about the Obama administration’s approval of the Uranium One deal.

“Not providing information on a corruption scheme before the Russian uranium deal was approved by U.S. regulators and engage appropriate congressional committees has served to undermine U.S. national security interests by the very people charged with protecting them,” he said. “The Russian efforts to manipulate our American political enterprise is breathtaking.”

This story was updated at 6:50 p.m.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/355749-fbi-uncovered-russian-bribery-plot-before-obama-administration

The Facts on Uranium One

Rosatom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rosatom
State corporation
Industry Nuclear energy
Predecessor Federal Agency on Atomic Energy
Founded 2007
Revenue RUB 821.2 billion[1] (2015)
Total assets RUB 2,029 billion[1] (2015)
Website rosatom.ru

Headquarters in Moscow

Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (RussianРосатомIPA: [rɐsˈatəm]) is a state corporation (non-profit organization) in Russia, established in 2007, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex. It is headquartered in Moscow. Rosatom runs all nuclear assets of the Russian Federation, both civilian and military, totaling over 360 business and research units, including all Russian nuclear icebreaker ships. Along with commercial activities which promote nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, it acts as a governmental agent, primarily in the field of national security (nuclear deterrence), nuclear and radiation safety, basic and applied science. Besides, it has the authority to fulfill on behalf of the Russian Federation the international commitments undertaken by the nation with regard to the peaceful use of atomic energy and non-proliferation.

Rosatom holds second place in the world in terms of uranium deposits ownership, fourth in terms of nuclear energy production, produces 40% of the world’s enriched uranium and 17% of the world’s nuclear fuel. Rosatom is the only vendor in the world able to offer the nuclear industry’s entire range of products and services, starting from specialized materials and equipment and all the way through to finished products such as nuclear power plants or nuclear powered icebreakers.[2]

The Russian Government has set three major goals for Rosatom: ensure sustainable development of the nuclear weapons complex; increase nuclear contribution in electricity generation (to 25%-30% by 2030) with continued safety improvements; and strengthen the country’s position on the global market of nuclear technology, by expanding traditional markets and acquiring new ones.

Predecessors

The Ministry for Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation (RussianМинистерство по атомной энергии Российской Федерации), or MinAtom (МинАтом), was established on January 29, 1992 as a successor of the Ministry of Nuclear Engineering and Industry of the USSR. It was reorganized as the Federal Agency on Atomic Energy on March 9, 2004. According to the law adopted by the Russian parliament in November 2007, and signed by Russian President Putin in early December, the agency was transformed to a Russian state corporation.[3]

A programme of government support for the construction of nuclear power plants will finish in 2020.[4]

Activities

Rosatom controls nuclear power holding Atomenergoprom, nuclear weapons companies, research institutes and nuclear and radiation safety agencies. It also represents Russia in the world in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy and protection of the non-proliferation regime.[3] Rosatom manages the Russian fleet of nuclear icebreakers through Atomflot.

OKB Gidropress, which develops the current Russian nuclear power station range VVER, is a subsidiary of Rosatom.[5] OKBM Afrikantov, which develops the current Russian nuclear power station BN-series such as BN-800 and BN-1200, is a subsidiary of Rosatom.

In 2017 Rosatom decided to invest in wind power, believing that rapid cost reductions in the renewable industry will become a competitive threat to nuclear power, and has started to build wind turbines.[6] Rosatom was also concerned that nuclear export opportunities were becoming exhausted.[7] In October 2017 Rosatom was reported to be considering postponing commissioning new nuclear plants in Russia due to excess generation capacity and that new nuclear electricity prices are higher than for existing plant. The Russian government is considering reducing support for new nuclear under its support contracts, called Dogovor Postavki Moshnosti (DPM), which guarantee developers a return on investment through increased payments from consumers for 20 years.[8]

Projects

Rosatom is currently building 37% of nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, generally of the OKB Gidropress VVER type.[9] Fennovoima, an electricity company in Finland, announced in September 2013 that it had chosen the OKB Gidropress VVER AES-2006 pressurized water reactor for a proposed power-generating station in PyhäjokiFinland. The construction contract is estimated to be worth 6.4 billion euros.[10]

On 11 November 2014 head of Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko and head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi have signed a Protocol to Russian-Iranian Intergovernmental Agreement of 1992, according to which the sides will cooperate in construction of eight power generating units with VVER reactors. Four of these reactors are planned to be constructed for the second construction phase of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and four of them will be constructed on another site.[11]

Rosatom received $66.5 billion of foreign orders in 2012, including $28.9bn for nuclear plant construction, $24.7bn for uranium products and $12.9bn for nuclear fuel exports and associated activities.[12]

Rosatom also involves on large-scale projects such as ITER | ITER-Russia and FAIR | FAIR-Russia.

As of Jan 2017, the total portfolio orders of Rosatom reached US$300 billion.[13]

Management

The highest executive body of Rosatom is the Board of Trustees. The board is headed since 2005 by Sergei Kiriyenko. The other Board members are[14]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Financial and Economic Results” (PDF). Rosatom. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. Jump up^ “Benchmarking the global nuclear industry 2012 Heading for a fast recovery” (PDF). E&Y. 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
  3. Jump up to:a b . Rosatom. 2007-12-17 http://www.skirtingboards.com/blog/news-archive/rosatom-state-corporation-registered/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Jump up^ “Rosatom chief outlines commercial vision”. World Nuclear News. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  5. Jump up^ “Our company”. OKB Gidropress. Retrieved 20 September2011.
  6. Jump up^ Foy, Henry (28 June 2017). “Rosatom powers through nuclear industry woes”Financial Times. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  7. Jump up^ Cottee, Matthew (2 August 2017). “China’s nuclear export ambitions run into friction”Financial Times. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  8. Jump up^ “Rosatom considers delaying reactor commissioning”. Nuclear Engineering International. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  9. Jump up^ “The real front in US-Russia ‘Cold War’? Nuclear power”cnbc. 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  10. Jump up^ “Fennovoima taps Russian supplier for nuke project”Yle Uutiset. September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  11. Jump up^ “Россия и Иран расширяют сотрудничество в области мирного использования атомной энергии”. 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  12. Jump up^ “Rosatom aims for $72bn in foreign orders for 2013”. Nuclear Engineering International. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  13. Jump up^ http://themoscowjournal.com/the-portfolio-of-orders-of-rosatom-reached-300-billion.html
  14. Jump up^ Наблюдательный совет // Государственная корпорация по атомной энергии «Росатом»: Официальный сайт. Template:Проверено

External links

Uranium One

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Uranium One Inc.
Industry Mining
Founded 2005
Headquarters Toronto, OntarioCanada
Key people
Chris Sattler (CEO)
Vadim Zhivov (President)
Products Uranium
Gold
Number of employees
2,220[1]
Parent Rosatom
Website www.uranium1.com

Uranium One is a Canadian uranium mining company with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. It has operations in AustraliaCanadaKazakhstanSouth Africa and the United States. In January 2013 Rosatom, the Russian state-owned uranium monopoly, through its subsidiary ARMZ Uranium Holding, purchased the company at a value of $1.3 billion.[2] The purchase of the company by Russian interests is, as of October 2017, under investigation by the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

History

On July 5, 2005, Southern Cross Resources Inc. and Aflease Gold and Uranium Resources Ltd announced that they would be merging under the name SXR Uranium One Inc.[3]

In 2007 Uranium One acquired a controlling interest in UrAsia Energy,[4] a Canadian firm with headquarters in Vancouver from Frank Giustra.[5] UrAsia has interests in rich uranium operations in Kazakhstan,[6] and UrAsia Energy’s acquisition of its Kazakhstan uranium interests from Kazatomprom followed a trip to Almaty in 2005 by Giustra and former U.S. President Bill Clinton where they met with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the leader of Kazakhstan. Substantial contributions to the Clinton Foundation by Giustra followed,[5][7] with Clinton, Giustra, and Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim in 2007 establishing the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative to combat poverty in the developing world.[8] In addition to his initial contribution of $100 million Giustra pledged to contribute half of his future earnings from mining to the initiative.[8]

In June 2009, the Russian uranium mining company ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. (ARMZ), a part of Rosatom, acquired 16.6% of shares in Uranium One in exchange for a 50% interest in the Karatau uranium mining project, a joint venture with Kazatomprom.[9] In June 2010, Uranium One acquired 50% and 49% respective interests in southern Kazakhstan-based Akbastau and Zarechnoye uranium mines from ARMZ. In exchange, ARMZ increased its stake in Uranium One to 51%. The acquisition resulted in a 60% annual production increase at Uranium One, from approximately 10 million to 16 million lb.[10][11] The deal was subject to anti-trust and other conditions and was not finalized until the companies received Kazakh regulatory approvals, approval under Canadian investment law, clearance by the US Committee on Foreign Investments, and approvals from both the Toronto and Johannesburg stock exchanges. The deal was finalized by the end of 2010.[11] Uranium One’s extraction rights in the U.S. amounted to 0.2% of the world’s uranium production.[12]Uranium One paid its minority shareholders a dividend of 1.06 US Dollars per share at the end of 2010.[citation needed]

ARMZ took complete control of Uranium One in January 2013 by buying all shares it did not already own.[2] In October 2013, Uranium One Inc. became a private company and a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Rosatom.[3][13] From 2012 to 2014, an unspecified amount of Uranium was reportedly exported to Canada via a Kentucky-based trucking firm with an existing export license; most of the processed uranium was returned to the U.S., with approximately 25% going to Western Europe and Japan.[14][15]

Congressional investigation

Since uranium is considered a strategic asset with national security implications, the acquisition of Uranium One by Rosatom was reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a committee of nine government agencies including the United States Department of State, which was then headed by Hillary Clinton.[16][17][18] The voting members of the committee can object to such a foreign transaction, but the final decision then rests with the president.[19]

In April 2015, The New York Times wrote that, during the acquisition, the family foundation of Uranium One’s chairman made $2.35 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. The donations were legal but not publicly disclosed by the Clinton Foundation, despite an agreement with the White House to disclose all contributors.[20] In addition, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin and which was promoting Uranium One stock paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in Moscow shortly after the acquisition was announced.[17][18] Several members of Clinton’s State Department staff and officials from the Obama-era Department of Justice have said that CFIUS reviews are handled by civil servants and that it would be unlikely that Clinton would have had more than nominal involvement in her department’s signing off on the acquisition.[21] According to Snopes, the timing of donations might have been questionable if Hillary Clinton had played a key role in approving the deal, but all evidence suggests that she did not and may in fact have had no role in approving the deal at all.[22]

In October 2017, following a report by John F. Solomon and Alison Spann published in The Hill and citing anonymous sources,[23][24] the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sale of Uranium One.[21]

FactCheck.org reported that there was “no evidence” connecting the Uranium One–Rosatom merger deal with a money laundering and bribery case involving a different Rosatom subsidiary which resulted in the conviction of a Russian individual in 2015, contrary to what is implied in the Solomon-Spann story.[20][25]Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post wrote that the problem with some of the accusations that Republican commentators levied against Clinton is that she “by all accounts, did not participate in any discussions regarding the Uranium One sale.”[26]

In October 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to lift a “gag order” it had placed on a former FBI informant involved the investigation. The DOJ released the informant from his nondisclosure agreement on October 25, 2017,[27][28][29]authorizing him to provide the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight Committee, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence “any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market” involving Rosatom, its subsidiaries Tenex and Uranium One, and the Clinton Foundation.[30]

During a C-SPAN interview, Hillary Clinton said that any allegations that she was bribed to approve the Uranium One deal were “baloney”.[31]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_One

Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS, commonly pronounced as if “Cifius” /ˈsɪfi.əs/) is an inter-agency committee of the United States Government that reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in U.S. companies or operations. Chaired by the United States Secretary of the Treasury, CFIUS includes representatives from 16 U.S. departments and agencies, including the DefenseState and Commerce departments, as well as (most recently) the Department of Homeland Security. CFIUS was established by President Gerald Ford‘s Executive Order11858 in 1975. President Reagan delegated the review process to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States with the Executive Order 12661 in 1988. This was in response to U.S. Congress giving authority to the President to review foreign investments, in the form of Exon-Florio Amendment.

Process

All companies proposing to be involved in an acquisition by a foreign firm are supposed to voluntarily notify CFIUS, but CFIUS can review transactions that are not voluntarily submitted.

CFIUS’ primary concern in most reviews is that technology or funds from an acquired U.S. business might be transferred to a sanctioned country as a result of being acquired by a foreign acquirer.[1]

CFIUS reviews begin with a 30-day decision to authorize a transaction or begin a statutory investigation. If the latter is chosen, the committee has another 45 days to decide whether to permit the acquisition or order divestment. Most transactions submitted to CFIUS are approved without the statutory investigation.[2] However, in 2012 about 40% of the 114 cases submitted to CFIUS proceeded to investigation.[3]

CFIUS provides close scrutiny to acquisitions of critical infrastructure, including public health or telecommunications, among others.[4]

CFIUS has looked at the “restrictions on sale of advanced computers to any of a long list of foreign recipients, ranging from China to Iran.”[5] CFIUS reviews even deals with firms from U.S. allies, such as BAE Systems‘ early-2005 acquisition of United Defense. This and the vast majority of transactions submitted to CFIUS are approved without difficulty. But at least one deal has been called off when CFIUS began to take a closer look.[6]

History

In 1975, President Ford created the Committee by Executive Order11858.[7][8] It was composed of the Secretary of the Treasury as the chairman, Secretary of StateSecretary of DefenseSecretary of Commerce, the Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs, and the Executive Director of the Council on International Economic Policy. The Executive Order also stipulated that the Committee would have “primary continuing responsibility within the Executive Branch for monitoring the impact of foreign investment in the United States, both direct and portfolio, and for coordinating the implementation of United States policy on such investment.” In particular, CFIUS was directed to:[9]

  1. arrange for the preparation of analyses of trends and significant developments in foreign investments in the United States;
  2. provide guidance on arrangements with foreign governments for advance consultations on prospective major foreign governmental investments in the United States;
  3. review investments in the United States which, in the judgment of the Committee, might have major implications for United States national interests; and
  4. consider proposals for new legislation or regulations relating to foreign investment as may appear necessary.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter added the United States Trade Representative and substituted the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for the Executive Director of the Council on International Economic Policy by Executive Order12188.[8][10]

In 1988, the Exon–Florio Amendment was the result of national security concerns in Congress caused by the proposed purchase of Fairchild Semiconductor by Fujitsu.[8][11][12] The Exon-Florio Amendment granted the President the authority to block proposed mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers that threaten national security.[8] In 1988, President Ronald Reagan added the Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget by Executive Order12661.[8][13]

In 1992, the Byrd Amendment required CFIUS to investigate proposed mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers where the acquirer is acting on behalf of a foreign government and affects national security.[8] In 1993, President Bill Clinton added the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Security Advisor, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy by Executive Order12860.[8][14] In 2003, President George W. Bush added the Secretary of Homeland Security by Executive Order13286.[8][15]

The Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (FINSA) established the Committee by statutory authority, reduced membership to 6 cabinet members and the Attorney General, added the Secretary of Labor and the Director of National Intelligence, and removed 7 White House appointees.[8] In 2008, President Bush added the United States Trade Representative and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy by Executive Order13456 implementing the law.[8][16] FINSA requires the President to conduct a national security investigation of certain proposed investment transactions, provides a broader oversight role for Congress, and keeps the President as the only officer with the authority to suspend or prohibit mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers.[8]

Opinions on the Committee

In February 2006, Richard Perle gave his opinion on CFIUS when he related to CBS News his experience with the panel during the Reagan administration: “The committee almost never met, and when it deliberated it was usually at a fairly low bureaucratic level.” He also added, “I think it’s a bit of a joke if we were serious about scrutinizing foreign ownership and foreign control, particularly since 9/11.”[17][18]

Others emphasize the crucial role that foreign direct investment plays in the U.S. economy, and the discouraging effect that heightened scrutiny may cause. Foreign investors in the United States, much like U.S. investors elsewhere, bring expertise and infusions of capital into often-struggling sectors of the U.S. economy. In a February 2006 interview with the New York Times, another former Reagan administration official, Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr., noted that the United States “need[s] a net inflow of capital of $3 billion a day to keep the economy afloat…. Yet all of the body language here is ‘go away.'”[19]

Notable cases

Only four foreign investments have been blocked by U.S. presidents, in 1990, 2012, 2016, and 2017,[20] though others have been considered and, often, less explicitly opposed:

  • 1990: President George H. W. Bush voided the sale of MAMCO Manufacturing to a Chinese agency, ordering China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation to divest themselves of Seattle-based MAMCO[21]
  • 2000: NTT Communications‘ acquisition of Verio[citation needed]
  • 2005: The acquisition of IBM‘s personal computer and laptop unit by Lenovo was approved by President George W. Bush[20]
  • 2005: The acquisition of Sequoia Voting Systems of Oakland, California, by Smartmatic, a Dutch company contracted by Hugo Chávez‘s government to replace that country’s elections machinery[22]
  • 2005: In June 2005 a CNOOC Group (a major Chinese State-owned oil and gas corporation) subsidiary (CNOOC limited, publicly listed on the New York NYSE and Hong Kong stock exchanges) made an $18.5 billion cash offer for American oil company Unocal Corporation, topping an earlier bid by ChevronTexaco. While this offer was not opposed by the CFIUS and the Bush Administration, it was criticized by several Congressmen and, following a vote in the United States House of Representatives, the bid was referred to President George W. Bush, on the grounds that its implications for national security needed to be reviewed. On July 20, 2005 Unocal Corporation announced that it had accepted a buyout offer from ChevronTexaco for $17.1 billion, which was submitted to Unocal stockholders on August 10. On August 2 CNOOC Limited announced that it had withdrawn its bid, citing political tensions in the United States.
  • 2006: State-owned Dubai Ports World‘s planned acquisition of P&O, the lessee and operator of many terminals, mostly for container ships, in several ports, including in New York-New Jersey and others in the US.[23] This acquisition was initially approved by the CFIUS and then President G.W. Bush, but was eventually opposed by Congress (Dubai Ports World controversy).
  • 2010: Russian interests acquired a controlling interest in Uranium One, which has 20 percent of U.S. uranium extraction capacity.[24] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the deal because Uranium One only has a license for uranium recovery, not uranium export.[25] All voting members of CFIUS voted in favor including Jose Fernandez, the State Department’s representative, a fact that became significant in the wake of allegations against Hillary Clinton from author Peter Schweizer.[26]
  • 2012: Ralls Corporation, owned by the Chinese Sany Group,[27] was ordered by President Barack Obama to divest itself of four small wind farm projects located too close to a U.S. Navy weapons systems training facility in Boardman, Oregon[20]
  • 2016: President Obama blocked the buying by a Chinese company of the U.S. assets of the German company Aixtron SE.[28] Separately, the New York Times reported that “United States officials blocked” a $2.6 billion deal by Philips to sell Lumileds division to GO Scale Capital and GRS Ventures over concerns regarding Chinese applications of gallium nitride.[29]
  • 2017: President Trump blocked the acquisition by a Chinese purchaser of Lattice Semiconductor.[30]

Notifications and investigations

CFIUS Notifications and Investigations, 1988–2011[31][32][33]

Year Notifications Investigations Notices
withdrawn
Presidential
decision
1988 14 1 0 1
1989 204 5 2 3
1990 295 6 2 4
1991 152 1 0 1
1992 106 2 1 1
1993 82 0 0 0
1994 69 0 0 0
1995 81 0 0 0
1996 55 0 0 0
1997 62 0 0 0
1998 65 2 2 0
1999 79 0 0 0
2000 72 1 0 1
2001 55 1 1 0
2002 43 0 0 0
2003 41 2 1 1
2004 53 2 2 0
2005 65 2 2 0
2006 111 7 19 2
2007 138 6 15 0
2008 155 23 23 0
2009 65 25 7 0
2010 93 35 12 0
2011 111 40 6 0
2012 114 45 22 1
2013 97 3 48 5
2014 147 3 51 9
Total 2,380 219 117 15

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_on_Foreign_Investment_in_the_United_States

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act relating to the control of organized crime in the United States
Acronyms(colloquial)
  • OCCA
  • RICO
Nicknames Organized Crime Control Act of 1970
Enacted by the 91st United States Congress
Effective October 15, 1970
Citations
Public law 91-452
Statutes at Large 84 Stat. 922-3 aka 84 Stat. 941
Codification
Titles amended 18 U.S.C.: Crimes and Criminal Procedure
U.S.C.sections created 18 U.S.C. §§ 19611968
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 30 by John L. McClellan(DAR)
  • Passed the Senate on January 23, 1970 (74-1)
  • Passed the House on October 7, 1970 (341-26)
  • Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 15, 1970

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually commit the crime personally.[1]

RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970), and is codified at 18 U.S.C. ch. 96 as 18 U.S.C. §§ 19611968G. Robert Blakey, an adviser to the United States Senate Government Operations Committee, drafted the law under the close supervision of the committee’s chairman, Senator John Little McClellan. It was enacted as Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and signed into law by Richard M. Nixon. While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.

Beginning in 1972, 33 states adopted state RICO laws to be able to prosecute similar conduct.

Summary

Under RICO, a person who has committed “at least two acts of racketeering activity” drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an “enterprise”.[citation needed] Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count.[citation needed] In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of “racketeering activity.”[citation needed]

When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, they have the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant’s assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.

In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.[2]

RICO also permits a private individual “damaged in his business or property” by a “racketeer” to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an “enterprise”. The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise “through” the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the ‘prize,’ ‘instrument,’ ‘victim,’ or ‘perpetrator’ of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]

Both the criminal and civil components allow the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).

Although its primary intent was to deal with organized crime, Blakey said that Congress never intended it to merely apply to the Mob. He once told Time, “We don’t want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas.”[2]

Initially, prosecutors were skeptical of using RICO, mainly because it was unproven. The RICO Act was first used by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York on September 18, 1979, in the United States v. Scotto. Scotto, who was convicted on charges of racketeering, accepting unlawful labor payments, and income tax evasion, headed the International Longshoreman’s Association. During the 1980s and 1990s, federal prosecutors used the law to bring charges against several Mafia figures. The second major success was the Mafia Commission Trial, which resulted in several top leaders of New York City’s Five Families getting what amounted to life sentences. By the turn of the century, RICO cases resulted in virtually all of the top leaders of the New York Mafia being sent to prison.

State laws

Beginning in 1972, 33 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, adopted state RICO laws to cover additional state offenses under a similar scheme.[7]

RICO predicate offenses

Under the law, the meaning of racketeering activity is set out at 18 U.S.C. § 1961. As currently amended it includes:

Pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity. The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed federal courts to follow the continuity-plus-relationship test in order to determine whether the facts of a specific case give rise to an established pattern. Predicate acts are related if they “have the same or similar purposes, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission, or otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated events.” (H.J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.) Continuity is both a closed and open ended concept, referring to either a closed period of conduct, or to past conduct that by its nature projects into the future with a threat of repetition.

Application of RICO laws

Although some of the RICO predicate acts are extortion and blackmail, one of the most successful applications of the RICO laws has been the ability to indict and or sanction individuals for their behavior and actions committed against witnesses and victims in alleged retaliation or retribution for cooperating with federal law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

Violations of the RICO laws can be alleged in civil lawsuit cases or for criminal charges. In these instances charges can be brought against individuals or corporations in retaliation for said individuals or corporations working with law enforcement. Further, charges can also be brought against individuals or corporations who have sued or filed criminal charges against a defendant.

Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) laws can be applied in an attempt to curb alleged abuses of the legal system by individuals or corporations who use the courts as a weapon to retaliate against whistle blowers, victims, or to silence another’s speech. RICO could be alleged if it can be shown that lawyers and/or their clients conspired and collaborated to concoct fictitious legal complaints solely in retribution and retaliation for themselves having been brought before the courts.

Although the RICO laws may cover drug trafficking crimes in addition to other more traditional RICO predicate acts such as extortion, blackmail, and racketeering, large-scale and organized drug networks are now commonly prosecuted under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute, also known as the “Kingpin Statute”. The CCE laws target only traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate conspiracies, whereas the RICO law covers a variety of organized criminal behaviors.[8]

Famous cases

Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

In 1979 the United States Federal Government went after Sonny Barger and several members and associates of the Oakland charter of the Hells Angels using RICO. In United States vs. Barger, the prosecution team attempted to demonstrate a pattern of behavior to convict Barger and other members of the club of RICO offenses related to guns and illegal drugs. The jury acquitted Barger on the RICO charges with a hung jury on the predicate acts: “There was no proof it was part of club policy, and as much as they tried, the government could not come up with any incriminating minutes from any of our meetings mentioning drugs and guns.”[9][10]

Frank Tieri

On November 21, 1980, Genovese crime family boss Frank “Funzi” Tieri was the first Mafia boss to be convicted under the RICO Act.[citation needed]

Catholic sex abuse cases

In some jurisdictions, RICO suits have been filed against Catholic dioceses, using anti-racketeering laws to prosecute the highers-up in the episcopacy for abuses committed by those under their authority[citation needed]. E.g. a Cleveland grand jury cleared two bishops of racketeering charges, finding that their mishandling of sex abuse claims did not amount to criminal racketeering[citation needed]. Notably, a similar suit was not filed against Cardinal Bernard Law, then Archbishop/Emeritus of Boston, prior to his assignment to Vatican City.[11][12] In 2016, RICO charges were considered for cover-ups in Pennsylvania.[13]

Gil Dozier

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Gil Dozier, in office from 1976 to 1980, faced indictment with violations of both the Hobbs and the RICO laws. He was accused of compelling companies doing business with his department to make campaign contributions on his behalf. On September 23, 1980, the Baton Rouge-based United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana convicted Dozier of five counts of extortion and racketeering. The sentence of ten years imprisonment, later upgraded to eighteen when other offenses were determined, and a $25,000 fine was suspended pending appeal, and Dozier remained free on bail.[14] He eventually served nearly four years until a presidential commutation freed him in 1986.[15]

Key West PD

About June 1984 the Key West Police Department located in the County of Monroe, Florida, was declared a criminal enterprise under the federal RICO statutes after a lengthy United States Department of Justice investigation. Several high-ranking officers of the department, including Deputy Police Chief Raymond Cassamayor, were arrested on federal charges of running a protection racket for illegal cocaine smugglers.[16] At trial, a witness testified he routinely delivered bags of cocaine to the Deputy Chief’s office at City Hall.[17]

Michael Milken

On 29 March 1989 American financier Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud relating to an investigation into an allegation of insider trading and other offenses. Milken was accused of using a wide-ranging network of contacts to manipulate stock and bond prices. It was one of the first occasions that a RICO indictment was brought against an individual with no ties to organized crime. Milken pleaded guilty to six lesser felonies of securities fraud and tax evasion rather than risk spending the rest of his life in prison and ended up serving 22 months in prison. Milken was also ordered banned for life from the securities industry.[18]

On 7 September 1988, Milken’s employer, Drexel Burnham Lambert, was threatened with RICO charges respondeat superior, the legal doctrine that corporations are responsible for their employees’ crimes. Drexel avoided RICO charges by entering an Alford plea to lesser felonies of stock parking and stock manipulation. In a carefully worded plea, Drexel said it was “not in a position to dispute the allegations” made by the Government. If Drexel had been indicted under RICO statutes, it would have had to post a performance bond of up to $1 billion to avoid having its assets frozen. This would have taken precedence over all of the firm’s other obligations—including the loans that provided 96 percent of its capital base. If the bond ever had to be paid, its shareholders would have been practically wiped out. Since banks will not extend credit to a firm indicted under RICO, an indictment would have likely put Drexel out of business.[19] By at least one estimate, a RICO indictment would have destroyed the firm within a month.[20] Years later, Drexel president and CEO Fred Joseph said that Drexel had no choice but to plead guilty because “a financial institution cannot survive a RICO indictment.”[21]

Major League Baseball

In 2002, the former minority owners of the Montreal Expos baseball team filed charges under the RICO Act against Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, claiming that Selig and Loria deliberately conspired to devaluethe team for personal benefit in preparation for a move.[22] If found liable, Major League Baseball could have been responsible for up to $300 million in punitive damages. The case lasted two years, successfully stalling the Expos’ move to Washington or contraction during that time. It was eventually sent to arbitration where the arbiters ruled in favor of Major League Baseball,[23] permitting the move to Washington to take place.

Pro-life activists

RICO laws were successfully cited in NOW v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 114 S. Ct. 798, 127 L.Ed. 2d 99 (1994), a suit in which certain parties, including the National Organization for Women, sought damages and an injunction against pro-life activists who physically block access to abortion clinics. The Court held that a RICO enterprise does not need an economic motive, and that the Pro-Life Action Network could therefore qualify as a RICO enterprise. The Court remanded for consideration of whether PLAN committed the requisite acts in a pattern of racketeering activity.

Los Angeles Police Department

In April 2000, federal judge William J. Rea in Los Angeles, ruling in one Rampart scandal case, said that the plaintiffs could pursue RICO claims against the LAPD, an unprecedented finding. The idea that a police organization could be characterized as a racketeering enterprise shook up City Hall and further damaged the already-tarnished image of the LAPD. However, in July 2001, U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess said that the plaintiffs do not have standing to sue the LAPD under RICO because they are alleging personal injuries, rather than economic or property damage.[24]

Mohawk Industries

On April 26, 2006, the Supreme Court heard Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Williams, No. 05-465547 U.S. 516 (2006), which concerned what sort of corporations fell under the scope of RICO. Mohawk Industries had allegedly hired illegal aliens, in violation of RICO. The court was asked to decide whether Mohawk Industries, along with recruiting agencies, constitutes an ‘enterprise’ that can be prosecuted under RICO, but in June of that year dismissed the case and remanded it to Court of Appeals.[25]

Latin Kings

On August 20, 2006, in Tampa, Florida, most of the state leadership members of the street gang, the Latin Kings, were arrested in connection with RICO conspiracy charges to engage in racketeering and currently await trial. The operation, called “Broken Crown”, targeted statewide leadership of the Latin Kings. The raid occurred at the Caribbean American Club. Along with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s OfficeTampa Police Department, the State Attorney’s Office, the FBIImmigration and Customs Enforcement, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were involved in the operation. Included in the arrest were leader Gilberto Santana from Brooklyn NY, Captain Luis Hernandez from Miami FL, Affiliate Celina Hernandez, Affiliate Michael Rocca, Affiliate Jessica Ramirez, Affiliate Reinaldo Arroyo, Affiliate Samual Alvarado, Omari Tolbert, Edwin DeLeon, and many others, totaling 39.

Gambino crime family

Also, in Tampa, on October 16, 2006, four members of the Gambino crime family (Capo Ronald Trucchio, Terry Scaglione, Steven Catallono, Anthony Mucciarone and associate Kevin McMahon) were tried under RICO statutes, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Lucchese Crime Family

In the mid 1990s, prosecuting attorneys Gregory O’Connell and Charles Rose used RICO charges to bring down the Lucchese family within an 18-month period. Dismantling the Lucchese family had a profound financial impact on previously Mafia held businesses such as construction, garment, and garbage hauling. Here they dominated and extorted money through taxes, dues, and fees. An example of this extortion was through the garbage business. Hauling of garbage from the World Trade Center cost the building owners $1.2 million per year to be removed when the Mafia monopolized the business, as compared to $150,000 per year when competitive bids could be sought.[26]

Chicago Outfit

[citation needed]

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice‘s Operation Family Secrets indicted 15 Chicago Outfit (also known as the Outfit, the Chicago Mafia, the Chicago Mob, or The Organization) members and associates under RICO predicates. Five defendants were convicted of RICO violations and other crimes. Six plead guilty, two died before trial and one was too sick to be tried.

Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella

A federal grand jury in the Middle District of Pennsylvania handed down a 48-count indictment against former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella.[27] The judges were charged with RICO after allegedly committing acts of mail and wire fraudtax evasionmoney laundering, and honest services fraud. The judges were accused of taking kickbacks for housing juveniles, that the judges convicted of mostly petty crimes, at a private detention center. The incident was dubbed by many local and national newspapers as the “Kids for cash scandal“.[28] On February 18, 2011, a federal jury found Michael Ciavarella guilty of racketeering because of his involvement in accepting illegal payments from Robert Mericle, the developer of PA Child Care, and Attorney Robert Powell, a co-owner of the facility. Ciavarella is facing 38 other counts in federal court.[29]

Scott W. Rothstein

Scott W. Rothstein is a disbarred lawyer and the former managing shareholder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the now-defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm. He was accused of funding his philanthropy, political contributions, law firm salaries, and an extravagant lifestyle with a massive 1.2 billion dollar Ponzi scheme. On December 1, 2009, Rothstein turned himself in to federal authorities and was subsequently arrested on charges related to RICO.[30] Although his arraignment plea was not guilty, Rothstein cooperated with the government and reversed his plea to guilty of five federal crimes on January 27, 2010. Bond was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Rosenbaum, who ruled that due to his ability to forge documents, he was considered a flight risk.[31] On June 9, 2010, Rothstein received a 50-year prison sentence after a hearing in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.[32]

AccessHealthSource

Eleven defendants were indicted on RICO charges for allegedly assisting AccessHealthSource, a local health care provider, in obtaining and maintaining lucrative contracts with local and state government entities in the city of El Paso, Texas, “through bribery of and kickbacks to elected officials or himself and others, extortion under color of authority, fraudulent schemes and artifices, false pretenses, promises and representations and deprivation of the right of citizens to the honest services of their elected local officials” (see indictment).[33]

FIFA

Fourteen defendants affiliated with FIFA were indicted under the RICO act on 47 counts for “racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.” The defendants include many current and former high-ranking officers of FIFA and its affiliate CONCACAF. The defendants had allegedly used the enterprise as a front to collect millions of dollars in bribes which may have influenced Russia and Qatar’s winning bids to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups respectively.[34]

Drummond Company

In 2015, the Drummond Company sued attorneys Terrence P. Collingsworth and William R. Scherer, the advocacy group International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates), and Dutch businessman Albert van Bilderbeek, one of the owners of Llanos Oil, accusing them of violating RICO by alleging that Drummond had worked alongside Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia to murder labor union leaders within proximity of their Colombian coal mines, which Drummond denies.[35]

Connecticut Senator Len Fasano

In 2005, a federal jury ordered Fasano to pay $500,000 under RICO for illegally helping a client hide their assets in a bankruptcy case.[36]

Art Cohen vs. Donald J. Trump

Art Cohen vs. Donald J. Trump was a RICO[37] class action suit filed October 18, 2013,[38] accusing Donald Trump of misrepresenting Trump University “to make tens of millions of dollars” but delivering “neither Donald Trump nor a university.”[37] The case was being heard in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, No. 3:2013cv02519,[39] by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel.[38] It was scheduled for argument beginning November 28, 2016.[40] However, just 20 days before that date and shortly after Trump won the presidential election, this case and two others were settled for a total of $25 million and without any admission of wrongdoing by Trump.[41][42]

International equivalents to RICO

The US RICO legislation has other equivalents in the rest of the world. In spite of Interpol having a standardized definition of RICO-like crimes, the interpretation and national implementation in legislation (and enforcement) widely varies. Most nations cooperate with the US on RICO enforcement only where their own related laws are specifically broken, but this is in line with the Interpol protocols for such matters.

By nation, alphabetically

Without other nations enforcing similar legislation to RICO many cross border RICO cases would not be possible. In the overall body of RICO cases that went to trial, at least 50% have had some non-US enforcement component to them. The offshoring of money away from the US finance system as part racketeering (and especially money laundering) is typically a major contributing factor to this.

However, other countries have laws that enable the government to seize property with unlawful origins. Mexico and Colombia both have specific laws that define the participation in criminal organizations as a separate crime,[45] and separate laws that allow the seizure of goods related with these crimes.[46] This latter provides a specific chapter titled “International Cooperation”, which instructs Mexican authorities to cooperate with foreign authorities with respect to organized crime assets within Mexico, and provides the framework by which Mexican authorities may politely request the cooperation of foreign authorities with respect to assets located outside of Mexico, in terms of any international instruments they may be party to.

Arguably, this may be construed as allowing the application of the RICO Act in Mexico, provided the relevant international agreements exist among Mexico and countries with RICO or RICO-equivalent provisions.

See also

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The Great Unwind: What Happens to the Markets When the Economy Stumbles Again

Published on Jul 21, 2015

Stock market returns and economic forecasts are being distorted by a few big myths that are likely to be proven wrong in the near future. It is widely believed that the American economy has fully recovered and has reached escape velocity where it will be able to sustain momentum without stimulus. This belief has led the majority of forecasters to conclude that the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates this year and will continue hiking through the end of 2016. At the same time they believe that foreign central banks will fight slowing growth abroad with unlimited U.S. style quantitative easing, thereby pushing the U.S. dollar to new heights, and gold and oil to new lows. Their conclusion: U.S. stock markets will continue to lead the world. But what if these assumptions are dead wrong? What if the signs of growth were really just the direct result of Fed stimulus, which will disappear if the Fed raises rates? Recent economic data has been so dismal that savvy economists are drawing parallels with 2008, the year of the last crash. What if it’s not just the weather? If the Fed shocks the markets by keeping rates at zero for far longer than expected, the markets will unwind trades based on these false assumptions. This is where Peter Schiff and Euro Pacific Capital have ideas that you need to hear. Peter Schiff is a world renown investor and author who has made his reputation by seeing things that few other analysts can. He sees huge problems ahead for the U.S. economy and potentially a reversal of the U.S. dollar rally of the past year. He will discuss the inability for the Fed to dispose of its gargantuan $4 trillion balance sheet without sparking a financial collapse. He will also discuss opportunities in foreign, non-dollar, and precious metals investing. Ignore his advice at your own peril.

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Fed officials fear financial market ‘imbalances’ and possibility of ‘sharp reversal’ in prices

  • Minutes from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicate some worry about rising financial markets.
  • The meeting minutes also included a discussion about possibly changing the central bank’s approach to addressing inflation.

Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Fed: Rate increase likely warrented soon

Federal Reserve officials expressed largely optimistic views of economic growth at their most recent meeting but also started to worry that financial market prices are getting out of hand and posing a danger to the economy.

Minutes from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicate members with almost universally positive views on growth — the labor market, consumer spending and manufacturing all were showing solid gains. While there were disagreements on the pace of inflation, and even a discussion about changing the Fed’s approach to price stability, the sentiment otherwise was largely positive.

Moreover, they said the picture could get even better if Congress lowers corporate taxes as part of the reform plan making its way through the Senate.

“In their discussion of the economic situation and the outlook, meeting participants agreed that information received since the FOMC met in September indicated that the labor market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions,” the minutes stated.

However, when it came to evaluating market conditions, the talk took a more cautious tone.

Stocks have been on a tear throughout 2017, setting a series of record highs and adding trillions in value. That’s come both on the heels of stronger corporate earnings and hopes that the tax reform plan, which would take the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, becomes a reality.

Some members feared what would happen if the market suddenly took a hit.

“In light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances,” the minutes said. “They worried that a sharp reversal in asset prices could have damaging effects on the economy.”

Concerns about the surge in stocks are not new at the Fed, but most officials have downplayed the idea that the market is in a bubble. Wall Street also has been at odds about the market, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch warning of a market top coming in 2018 though Goldman Sachs has predicted another big year.

Some members said the bull market was justified by a continued low “neutral” rate of interest that is neither overly restrictive nor accommodative to growth.

And there also was mention of “regulatory changes” that had helped “an appreciable strengthening of capital and liquidity positions in the financial sector over recent years,” which made the system less prone to shocks or sudden market drops.

President Donald Trump has taken a three-pronged approach to economic growth and frequently boasts of the stock market gains. In addition to tax reform, he has cut business regulations and is expected in the coming months to unveil a plan to boost infrastructure spending.

During the year, economic growth has increased, with GDP gaining 3.1 percent and 3 percent the past two quarters and on track to be around the same level in the fourth quarter.

FOMC members noted multiple areas of positive developments. The labor market is “operating at or above full employment,” GDP is likely to “grow at a pace exceeding that of potential output,” and even inflation has been slowed only by “temporary or idiosyncratic factors.”

But on inflation, the consensus was weaker, with some members disagreeing with the notion that all the softness was due to issues that would fade.

Other members, though, thought the Fed could be in danger of waiting too long for inflation to rise and could risk further instability in the financial markets. Several members said the upcoming data would be critical in determining whether they felt the Fed was close to meeting its 2 percent inflation goal.

A “couple” members even suggested the Fed tweak its approach to inflation, moving away from the 2 percent goal and toward a more nebulous “gradually rising path” in prices instead.

As a matter of policy, the committee chose not to hike rates at the meeting, as expected, but members indicated that gradual rate hikes are likely in the future. Markets are assigning a nearly 100 percent probability to a December rate hike, though only factoring in one or two so far for 2018.

Also at the meeting, members discussed the well-publicized reduction of the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Under the plan, the central bank is letting a capped level of proceeds from the bonds it owns run off each month. Fed officials agreed the program thus far has run smoothly.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/fomc-minutes–fed-officials-fear-market-imbalances-possible-effects-of-sharp-reversal-in-prices.html

It’s begun: Fed’s unwinding of its epic balance sheet officially showing up in the data

  • Thursday’s Federal Reserve report on its portfolio holdings shows a near $6 billion decline in its holdings of Treasury securities.
  • That’s the biggest outright weekly decline since 2012.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Win McNamee | Getty Images
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

The Fed’s campaign to reduce its $4.4 trillion balance sheet is now taking effect and showing up in the data.

Thursday’s Federal Reserve report on its portfolio holdings shows a near $6 billion decline in its holdings of Treasury securities. It’s the biggest outright weekly decline since 2012.

It’s just the leading edge of more to come as the Fed gradually ramps up its effort to “normalize” its balance sheet. The Fed hasn’t explicitly said what level it’s aiming for, only that it will ramp up its sales of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to a point where it eventually is reducing them at a clip of $50 billion a month.

The decline in mortgage-backed securities, which is already taking place, should begin showing up in the data next month.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/03/its-begun-feds-unwinding-of-its-epic-balance-sheet-officially-showing-up-in-the-data.html

 

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Bank of America sees end of bull market coming in 2018: Here’s how it will happen

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts “capitulation” for the bull market in 2018, with the S&P 500 peaking at 2,863.
  • Strategist Michael Hartnett said the firm is prepared to “downgrade risk aggressively” once it sees the triggers in place.
  • A shift from passive to active in investor allocations would be one of the signs that the rally is about over.

A pedestrian passes in front of a statue of a bull in the Wall Street area in New York City.

Doug Kantor | AFP | Getty Images

A pedestrian passes in front of a statue of a bull in the Wall Street area in New York City.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees a scary good news-bad news scenario unfolding in 2018: A solid push higher in the first half followed by all sorts of potential trouble after.

The S&P 500 would peak out around 2,863 in the scenario, or about 11 percent higher than Monday’s close. Bond yields are expected to rise, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note hitting 2.75 percent as global GDP growth reaches 3.8 percent.

That setting assumes three things: the “last vestiges” of stimulus from the Fed and other central banks, the passage of tax reform in Congress, and “full investor capitulation into risk assets” on better-than-expected corporate earnings.

After that, though, things get considerably sketchier as the second-longest bull market in history runs into trouble.

Real battle for leadership in this market: State Street's Michael Arone

Real battle for leadership in this market: State Street’s Michael Arone  

“We believe the air in risk assets is getting thinner and thinner, but the Big Top in price is still ahead of us,” Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofAML, said in a report for clients. “We will downgrade risk aggressively once we see excess positioning, profits and policy.”

Indicators that market positioning has gotten out of hand and signaling a fall would include active funds attracting more money than passive (there’s a $476 billion gap this year in favor of passive), and portfolio allocation for equities exceeding 63 percent, a level currently at 61 percent.

Hartnett pointed out that the current bull will be the longest in history if it continues to Aug. 22, 2018, while the outperformance of stocks versus bonds, at seven years running, would be the longest streak since 1929.

The forecast is predicated on three core beliefs: The first is the aforementioned capitulation; the second an expectation of “peak positioning, profits and policy” that “will engender peak asset price returns” and a low in volatility; and, finally, an expectation that higher inflation and corporate debt along with tighter monetary policy will roil the corporate bond market, a critical prong of the risk asset rally.

“The game changer is wage inflation, which on our forecasts is likely to become more visible,” said Hartnett, who projects that salaries could rise 3.5 percent and push the consumer price index up 2.5 percent and convince the Fed that it’s close to meeting its 2 percent inflation goal.

However, that cuts both ways: Should wage inflation again fail to materialize, Hartnett said “the era of excess liquidity” continues, bond yields would fall and the Nasdaq tech barometer would go “exponential.” That would signal a bubble that might not end until 2019, when a bear market would be triggered by “hostile Fed hiking, Occupy Silicon Valley and War on Inequality politics.”

“Big Top” trades favor technology, homebuilders, Japanese banks and the dollar against the Swiss franc.

BofAML’s forecast comes as Goldman Sachs released a price target of 2,850 for the S&P 500, after a comparatively bearish 2016 call for 2,400 that was passed six months ago.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/21/bank-of-america-bull-market-ending-in-2018-how-it-will-happen.html

Will Donald Trump be Herbert Hoover all over again?


President-elect Donald Trump. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
 Opinion writer November 11, 2016

As a Donald Trump victory became clear Tuesday night, the ghost of Herbert Hoover paid a visit to Trump’s election night party in New York.

In the Fox News coverage playing on screens in the ballroom, Megyn Kelly turned to Karl Rove. “It didn’t happen under Reagan or the Bushes. When was the last time a Republican president had a Republican Congress?”

“1928,” Rove answered.

“Incredible,” Kelly said.

Yes, quite: Republicans actually had unified control for four years under George W. Bush, and for two years under Dwight Eisenhower, as Rove amended when I followed up with him.

Expecting a celebration, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a letter to his daughter to help her cope with Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss.

But the 1928 comparison is instructive. It’s the last time a Republican president enjoyed anything like the majority Trump will have, particularly in the House.

And how did that work out for them?

Hoover took over in a time of general prosperity but stagnant wages and vast income inequality. Populists in Congress proposed dramatic increases in tariffs to help the struggling agricultural sector, the equivalent of today’s beleaguered blue-collar workers.

The proposal divided Republicans in Congress and Hoover before they produced the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, setting off retaliation, freezing international trade, contributing to the Great Depression and accelerating a ruinous cycle of nationalism around the world.

Hoover’s ghost should haunt the GOP right now. A populist, protectionist president has come to power at a time of long-depressed wages and vast inequality. He threatens to implement tariffs of 45 percent against China and 35 percent against Mexico, and he’s about to collide with free-traders and pro-business interests in his own party.

If they jettison Trump’s agenda and proceed with business as usual, they risk inflaming Trump’s already-furious followers. If they do what Trump has promised, there will be chaos as they pursue what amounts to a mission impossible: enacting a huge tax cut, making enormous spending increases on infrastructure and the military and cutting the debt in half — all without touching Social Security and Medicare.

And they’ll be without a mutual foil to unite them. President Obama will be out of office, Hillary Clinton defeated, Harry Reid retired. With unified control, Republicans now own every issue — health care, the economy, national security — and Democrats, who narrowly won the popular vote and are supported by exit polls showing tepid support for many of Trump’s policy priorities, have little incentive to cooperate.

 Some early signs show Trump won’t hesitate to disappoint supporters, including his statement Friday that, after talking with Obama, he no longer favors repealing all of Obamacare.

Drain the swamp? Trump has packed his transition team with a who’s who of the K Street lobbying trade, according to Politico. Among those in charge of staffing the new administration are people who have lobbied for or represented Altria, Visa, Anthem, Coca-Cola, General Electric, HSBC, Pfizer, PhRMA, United Airlines, Southern Company, Dow Chemical, Rosemont Copper Company, Boeing, Duke Energy and Nucor.

My colleague Catherine Ho reports that Trump’s win “is likely to be a boon to the lobbying business,” as businesses try to counteract the uncertainty with more lobbyists.

The Trump-proposed ban on Muslims entering the country? As The Post’s Jose A. DelReal reported, the Trump campaign removed that policy’s web page Thursday, then restored it after the reporter’s inquiries.

That wall on the Mexican border? “Going to take a while,” Trump lieutenant Rudy Giuliani said Thursday, suggesting “he can do it by executive order by just reprogramming money within the immigration service.”

“Reprogramming” money away from . . . deportation? Truly building the wall would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and require approval from Congress.

The “lock her up” crowd may also be disappointed. Chris Christie said “politics are over now.”

On that same question, however, Giuliani said prosecuting Clinton would be “a presidential decision” — an extraordinary departure from the American tradition of removing the president from prosecutorial decisions, particularly since President Nixon tried to block the Justice Department’s Watergate probe in 1973.

The Trump transition sounded another Nixonian note when Trump surrogate Omarosa Manigault told a conservative website that Trump is keeping an enemies list.

The conflicting signals suggest Trump himself hasn’t settled on his course. His gracious victory speech was about reaching out to the opposition, but Breitbart News, whose once and future leader ran the campaign, has been whipping up racial fears (“Shock Video Shows White Man Viciously Beaten in Chicago After Election”).

On Thursday night, the president-elect tweeted that “professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Friday morning he reconsidered: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”

Trump’s internal tension is understandable. He can leave supporters disillusioned, or he can keep his promises — and send us all back to 1928.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/will-donald-trump-be-herbert-hoover-all-over-again/2016/11/11/8e533600-a820-11e6-8042-f4d111c862d1_story.html?utm_term=.15c6a091b1f6

Jamie Dimon says he would bet on Trump being a one-term president

  • The JPMorgan CEO said he’d bet on Trump being a one-term president.
  • That said, he thinks a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth.
  • Dimon has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, but has been more active on range of business and economic issues.

Jamie Dimon speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

David A. Grogan | CNBC
Jamie Dimon speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on Wednesday said he expects to see a new U.S. president in 2021 and advised Democrats to come up with a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth.

Asked at a luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago how many years President Donald Trump will be in office, Dimon said, “If I had to bet, I’d bet three and half. But the Democrats have to come up with a reasonable candidate … or Trump will win again” and have second four-year term.

Dimon, who in the past has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, has been going to Washington more often since the November 2016 election of Trump to lobby lawmakers on range of business and economic issues, including changes in corporate taxes, immigration policies and mortgage finance.

Jamie Dimon: There's a huge vaccuum if business isn't involved in policy

Jamie Dimon: There’s a huge vacuum if business isn’t involved in policy  

In December, Dimon became chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs who take their views to government policy makers.

Dimon, 61, touched briefly on range of topics, from Americas political climate and tax system to discrimination in the workplace and against black people.

He also commented on foreign affairs, saying, for example, “We should never be rude to a neighbor like Mexico.”

He also cautioned that the political weakness of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is bad for all of us. Talks on forming a governing coalition including Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union collapsed earlier this week, casting doubt on her future after 12 years in power.

Dimon is in his 12th year as CEO of JPMorgan, which is the biggest bank in the U.S. by assets

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/jamie-dimon-says-he-would-bet-on-trump-being-a-one-term-president.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017, Story 1: More on Moore: Roy Moore’s Attorney News Briefing — She Said Vs. He Said — Faulty Memory of Witnesses Leading To Wrongful Conviction — Sexual Abuse — Who Do You Believe? — The Voters of Alabama Must Answer This Question on December 12 — Videos — Story 2: Will The Senate Pass A Tax Reform Bill?– NO — Tax Cut Bill — Yes — Videos — Story 3: Who is on the Congressional CREEP List of Sexual Harassers in Congress and Their Staffs ? — Who is next to be outed? — Shout Animal House — Intimacy — Getting To Know You– Dance With Me –Videos 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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Story 1: More on Moore: Roy Moore’s Attorney News Briefing — She Said Vs. He Said — Faulty Memory of Witnesses Leading To Wrongful Conviction — Sexual Abuse — Who Do You Believe? — The Voters of Alabama Must Answer This Question on December 12 — Videos —

Roy Moore & Jeff Sessions Cold Open – SNL

RUSH: Roy Moore Accuser Claims She Was Locked In Car In 1977; Child Locks Not Required Till 1980s

WATCH: Roy Moore’s attorney holds news briefing

Streamed live on Nov 15, 2017
The attorney for Roy Moore, the candidate for the Alabama seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, holds a press conference following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Moore.

Alabama seniors say Roy Moore’s alleged actions were normal back then (HBO)

Mark Levin: People of Alabama should decide if they believe the accusations against Roy Moore

Ben Shapiro: Roy Moore needs to go

What Pisses Me Off About Roy Moore and Stupid F&%king Republicans

Judge Roy Moore Sexual Misconduct Allegations | True News

On The Sean Hannity Show, Newt Gingrich says a “lynch mob” is after Roy Moore

Live Stream: #Pedowood Predators, Pervs, Pedophiles and Pederasts Are Tolerated But Trump’s Reviled

How reliable is your memory? | Elizabeth Loftus

TED

Published on Sep 23, 2013

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It’s more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.

Mother Of Roy Moore Accuser Spills The HOAX By Accident! – Several Facts Turned Out To Be FAKED

WaPo REPORTER Beth SECRETLY RECORDED OFFERING WOMAN $1000 TO ACCUSE ROY MOORE

Mark Levin REVEALS The Truth About Judge Roy Moore Allegations! You Will Cheer!

As McCain Leads The Charge Against Moore, LOOK What SICKENING Secret From His Past EXPOSED

Mitch McConnell Handling Of Past Sex Scandal A Warning For Roy Moore | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

USA: SENATOR BOB PACKWOOD SCANDAL UPDATE

Bob Packwood Resigns from Senate

Woman Explains Why She Falsely Accused Her Dad Of Sexual Assault As A Child

Dr. Drew: Child abuse at the core of virtually all societies’ problems

Dr. Drew on staggering impact of sexual abuse

Tom Arnold talks about his childhood of abuse

CNN: CNN anchor Don Lemon talks coming out, abuse

Candace Conti: Former Jehovah’s Witness Takes on Church over Sex Abuse Allegations

What happens to a child after he/she suffers sexual abuse?

Roy Moore maintains lead in another new Senate poll

Roy Moore, left, and Doug Jones. (AL.com file photos)
Roy Moore, left, and Doug Jones. (AL.com file photos)
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Fox 10/Strategy Research poll released Tuesday night showed Moore with a six-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones.

The poll, according to Fox 10, sampled 3,000 likely voters on Monday with Moore getting 49 percent of the vote, Jones 43 percent and 8 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percent.

Even with that edge, the poll indicated Moore has lost almost half of his support. A Fox 10 poll two weeks ago showed Moore with an 11-point lead. Moore’s support among Republicans also dropped 8 percent.

The poll also said that 11 percent of participants said they were less likely to vote for Moore because of the allegations made against him while 35 percent said it made them more likely to vote for him.

The allegations also did not alter the thinking of a majority of the undecided voters. Of those who have not made up their mind, 51 percent said that the allegations would not be a deciding factor while 44 percent said it made them less likely to vote for Moore.

An Emerson College poll, released Monday, had Moore with a 10-point lead. Five other polls conducted since the allegations were publishedlast week either had Jones winning or within the margin of error.

One other poll, conducted by an official from earlier Moore campaigns and presented exclusively to Moore-favoring Breitbart News, had the former Alabama chief justice leading by 11 points.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/roy_moore_maintains_lead_in_an.html

Women supporting Roy Moore not concerned whether he dated teens

Dean Young and other Roy Moore supporters appear at a press conference in Montgomery on Nov. 16, 2017. (Mike Cason/mcason@al.com)

Two women who joined longtime Roy Moore ally Dean Young at a press conference today said they aren’t concerned whether Moore sought dates with teenage girls when he was a county prosecutor in his early 30s, some four decades ago.

Moore has strongly denied the two most serious allegations against him – a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old and an assault on a 16-year-old.

But Moore did not clearly deny dating teenage girls when he was in his early 30s in an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Moore did, in an open letter to Hannity, say that he did not date “underage” girls.

AL.com and the Washington Post have published stories about women who said Moore dated them or asked them on dates when they were ages 16-18 and he was in his 30s.

Click here for AL.com’s coverage of Roy Moore.

Kay Day, 69, of Theodore, who joined Young at today’s news conference, said that doesn’t necessarily bother her and won’t affect her support for Moore, who faces Democratic nominee Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 in the U.S. Senate election.

Day said she was 18 when she began dating her husband, who was 32 at the time. They got married in 1963.

“My mother married at 15 and married a man 14 years older than her,” Day said. “In that day, if you married someone that was 15 years older, it was common.”

“Even if it were so, that would not make me not vote for Judge Moore. That is just not something that would make me discredit and ruin a man for the rest of his life.”

Day, who grew up in Tennessee, said she began following Moore’s career during his legal battles over displays of the Ten Commandments.

“And I continue to follow him and have for 20 years, and devastated by what they would say about Judge Moore because I’ve known him for so long and been with him,” Day said. “Gentleman. Never heard anything come out of his mouth that would even give me an inkling. Never crossed my mind. Perfect gentleman.”

Dee Owens, 75, who came to Montgomery from Mobile today to join Young for the press conference, said she would not be bothered to learn that Moore dated teenage girls in his early 30s.

“Not in the least because that’s all right with me,” Owens said. “When I was young I dated a gentleman that was 22 years older than me and my parents didn’t have a problem with it. And mothers back then actually wanted their daughters to marry men that were older. They felt they would be taken care of.”

“I believe like he does,” Owens said. “And like the Ten Commandments, he stood up. He will stand for what’s right. Not like the RINOs we have in Washington. And definitely I’ll vote for him. And everybody I know, all my friends are voting for him.”

Young, who ran for a Congress last year and in 2013, is a regular presence at Moore rallies and press conferences and has known Moore since the early 1990s.

Moore said the campaign is working to debunk allegations against the candidate and will prevail against what he called the fake news media, elitist Republican establishment in Washington and the Democrats.

“Now they have all this endless parade of people who have never said anything for 40 years say that a man that you, Alabamians have watched for 25 years,” Young said. “You’ve watched him stand for what’s right, for what’s good and what’s just and what’s fair.”

Young aimed much of his criticism at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who backed Sen. Luther Strange in his primary loss to Moore and has said he believes Moore’s accusers and that Moore should get out of the race.

Young also criticized attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Beverly Young Nelson, 56, who accused Moore of assaulting her in his car outside the Gadsden restaurant where she worked when she was 16. Moore has strongly denied the allegation.

Moore’s attorney, Phillip Jauregui, has challenged Allred to submit Nelson’s high school yearbook for examination by handwriting analysts. Nelson claims Moore signed the yearbook.

Allred said they would only allow the yearbook to be examined if the Senate Judiciary Committee or Select Committee on Ethics conducts a hearing on Nelson’s allegation. She said Nelson is willing to give testimony under oath and Moore should do the same.

Young pointed out that Allred declined to answer directly when asked by Wolf Blitzer on CNN if the yearbook signature was a forgery.

“Is this a real signature?” Young said. “She won’t even answer that question.”

Owens said efforts by the national Republican establishment to derail Moore’s campaign in Alabama have made her more determined than ever to support him.

“I would like to go to Washington with a big stick,” Owens said.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/women_supporting_roy_moore_not.html

The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom

Joyce W. Lacy#1 and Craig E. L. Stark#2

Abstract

Although memory can be hazy at times, it is often assumed that memories of violent or otherwise stressful events are so well-encoded that they are largely indelible and that confidently retrieved memories are likely to be accurate. However, findings from basic psychological research and neuroscience studies indicate that memory is a reconstructive process that is susceptible to distortion. In the courtroom, even minor memory distortions can have severe consequences that are in part driven by common misunderstandings about memory, e.g. expecting memory to be more veridical than it may actually be.

Introduction

Pioneers in neuroscience such as Ramón y Cajal, Hebb, and Marr introduced the idea that memory is encoded in the patterns of synaptic connectivity between neurons. Increases in the strengths of these synapses encode our experiences and thereby shape our future behavior. Our understanding of the complex mechanisms that underlie learning and memory has progressed dramatically in recent decades, and studies have not provided evidence that memories are indelible. Quite the contrary, it is becoming clear that there are several ways through which memories can change.

The ‘imperfection’ of memory has been known since the first empirical memory experiments by Ebbinghaus1, whose famous ‘forgetting curve’ revealed that people are unable to retrieve roughly 50% of information one hour after encoding. In addition to simple forgetting, memories routinely become distorted27. The public perception of memory, however, is typically that memory is akin to a video recorder8 (Box 1). This distinction between the perception and reality of memory has important consequences in the context of the courtroom. In the legal system, like among the general public, it is generally assumed that memory is highly accurate and largely indelible, at least in the case of ‘strong’ memories.

Recently, some regional jurisdictions, such as New Jersey10,11, Massachusetts12, Texas13, and North Carolina14 have implemented procedural changes designed to mitigate effects of memory biases and to best preserve accurate memories of eyewitnesses. However, the legal system writ large has been slow to adapt to research findings on memory, even though these findings have implications not only for eyewitness testimony, but also for how jurors remember and weigh evidence. Interest in the research of memory processes and their relevance to the courtroom has increased since the advent of DNA evidence, which has exonerated hundreds of individuals who were falsely convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. …

Conclusions

Memory is imperfect and is susceptible to distortion and loss. There are adaptive reasons for generalization and forgetting7. Indeed, Luria’s famous report of the mnemonist S.85 readily shows how an inability to forget can severely impair normal functioning. In addition, the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the occurrence of distortions in memory also allow memories to be updated and strengthened. Unfortunately, in the courtroom ‘memory’ is often misunderstood and undue assumptions are made about its veridicality.

Thus, there needs to be greater education and awareness of memory processes in judicial settings and in daily life. Society would benefit from a better understanding of what factors affect memory accuracy and of their complexity and potentially counter-intuitive nature. Secondly, the legal system needs to reevaluate the probative value of memory. Witnessing a potentially traumatic event does not produce an unbiased, indelible memory of the event. Memory is an adaptive process based on reconstruction. It works well for what it is intended — guiding current and future behaviour. However, it is not infallible, and therefore should not be treated as such. For these reasons, some have argued that the legal system should not convict individuals on eyewitness testimony alone, but rather should require corroborative evidence83,86. Lastly, more research ought to be carried out on the complex mechanisms that underlie memory so that we can better understand its limits, improve its reliability, and detect when it has gone awry.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183265/

Eyewitness memory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eyewitness memory is a person’s episodic memory for a crime or other dramatic event that he or she has witnessed.[1] Eyewitness testimony is often relied upon in the judicial system. It can also refer to an individual’s memory for a face, where they are required to remember the face of their perpetrator, for example.[2] However, the accuracy of eyewitness memories is sometimes questioned because there are many factors that can act during encoding and retrieval of the witnessed event which may adversely affect the creation and maintenance of the memory for the event. Experts have found evidence to suggest that eyewitness memory is fallible.[1] It has long been speculated that mistaken eyewitness identification plays a major role in the wrongful conviction of innocent individuals. A growing body of research now supports this speculation, indicating that mistaken eyewitness identification is responsible for more convictions of the innocent than all other factors combined.[3][4]