Coal

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

Posted on December 14, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Business, Coal, Coal, College, Communications, Constitutional Law, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Energy, Extortion, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Human, Human Behavior, James Comey, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Security, Spying, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Treason, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

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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

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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

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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

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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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Clinton Uranium Scam

Trey Gowdy Eager To See What The FBI Informant Has To Say Its Very Important

Attorney For FBI Informant Rebuffs Report – Obama, Clinton Uranium One – Story

Pay to Play – Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation

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)

FBI Informant in Clinton Uranium One Bribery Case has Video of Briefcases full of Money!

3 House Reps on Uranium Deal. Committees Investigating.

Breaking Now A New Report Documents The Obama FBI Investigated Hillary’s Russian Uranium Deal

Two More Committees Announce Uranium Deal Investigation!

Kazakhstan and Bill Clinton goes there

Clinton Corruption – It Keeps Going, And Going, And Going

Bill Clinton’s Kazakstan Uranium Deal

“Can Hillary Clinton be Arrested?” see what Ben Shapiro Just Said with Judge Napolitano

Uranium One Looms Larger and Larger

Investigation OPENED Into Obama and Hillary’s Crooked Deal!

Obama’s FBI Stopped Hillary Clinton’s INDICTMENTS – Judge Napolitano

CONFIRMED! Jeff sessions is part of hillary Clinton’s corrupt cabal – HANNITY REVEALS

DOJ won’t rule out special counsel to probe Uranium One deal

New Developments In The Uranium One Scandal – Clinton Foundation Money Laundering? – Hannity

Russian Uranium One deal should be investigated: Ben Stein

New Information in the Uranium one Scandal – Hannity

FBI Informant Has Evidence on Uranium One and The Clintons

Reps Jordan & Gaetz To Make Big Announcement Regarding The FBI And Hillary Clinton – Ingraham Angle

The Beginning Of The End For Hillary! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

Trump on Russian Uranium allegations: They better look into that

Hannity: Exposing the real Russia collusion

#SeanHannity Destroyed #HillaryClinton and Laid the Groundwork for a Multi-Count Indictment

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) DESTROYS Hillary Clinton and Dems on Uranium One Scandal

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

Laws potentially broken in Uranium One deal, dossier scandal

FBI takes its time with Clinton-Russia scandal?

What did Russia do with US uranium imports?

Obama-era Uranium One deal strongest evidence of Russian collusion: Rep. DeSantis

House panels launch probe of Obama-era uranium deal

Issa: American people deserve clarity on Russia uranium deal

Why aren’t Dems concerned about the Russia uranium scandal?

Nuclear energy is still cheaper than renewables, says Rosatom boss

How Does Nuclear Power Work?

HOW IT WORKS: Uranium Deposits (720p)

Investigation OPENED Into Obama and Hillary’s Crooked Deal!

Why Russia Wants to Control the World’s Uranium Supply

FBI – Russia Bribed for Uranium Deal, 1843

FBI warned Obama administration about Russian bribery plot

FBI Had Evidence That Russia Bribed Clinton Foundation Before Obama Approved Uranium Deal

BREAKING: FBI Official Unloads On Hillary Clinton This Is Devastating(VIDEO)!!!

Glenn Breaks Down Clinton Connections To The Uranium-Russia Scandal

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before uranium deal

FBI Informant Reads A Document On Live TV That Made Hillary Clinton Panicking(VIDEO)!!!

Clinton Foundation Gets Millions In Exchange For Uranium Deal – News Brief

US uranium producers plagued by low prices, scant utility purchasing

Cameco CEO’s Corner – October 2017

Where can you find uranium?

What is Uranium?

How It’s Made Uranium P1

How It’s Made Uranium P2

Top 10 Countries with Highest Uranium Production

How Uranium Becomes Nuclear Fuel

Nuclear Reactor – Understanding how it works | Physics Elearnin

How Nuclear Power Plants Work / Nuclear Energy (Animation)

US Befriends Kazakhstan Dictator, Now World’s Largest Producer of Uranium

Clinton dodges questions about pay-for-play allegations with Clinton Foundation

Pay for play at Hillary Clinton’s State Department?

A glimpse inside operations at the Clinton Foundation

New questions about Clinton Foundation

Clinton Foundation has a RICO Complaint Filed

CLINTON CASH — Director’s Cut — FULL OFFICIAL MOVIE — Bill & Hillary Clinton´s Blur exposed

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

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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.

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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.

Photo

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

References

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The Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017, Part 1 of 2: Story 1: Clinton’s Campaign and Democratic National Committee Paid For A  Fabricated  “Dossier” on Trump Used as Campaign  Propaganda  and Their Accomplices In The Obama Administration and Big Lie Media Aided and Abetted Them — Fearing Clinton Might Lose They Planned For An October Surprise That Would Finish Trump Off —  Surprise — Surprise –Videos — Story 2: Time To Fire Mueller & Rosenstein and Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Clinton Conspiracy Theory of Trump  Russian Collusion Based on A Fictional Dossier and No Evidence At All of Trump Collusion — Investigate The Obama Administration’s Use of The Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, and NSA)  For Political Purposes By Their Secret Surveillance of American Citizens Including Trump and Campaign and Cover-up of Clinton Foundation Crimes of Racketeering and Public Corruption — The Cover-up and Scandal of The Century –Videos

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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

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Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

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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

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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

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

 

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Story 1: Clinton’s Campaign and Democratic National Committee Paid For A  Fabricated  “Dossier” on Trump Used as Campaign  Propaganda  and Their Accomplices In The Obama Administration and Big Lie Media Aided and Abetted Them — Fearing Clinton Might Lose They Planned For An October Surprise That Would Finish Trump Off —  Surprise — Surprise –Videos —

Tucker Carlson Tonight 10/27/17 – Tucker Carlson Tonight October 27, 2017 Fox News

Lou Dobbs Tonight 10/27/17 | Breaking News | October 27, 2017

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Inside the investigation on the ‘real’ Russia scandal

BREAKING: CLINTONS, DNC FUND TRUMP, RUSSIA REPORT!

Trump rips Clinton link to Fusion GPS dossier as a ‘disgrace,’ says Russia ‘hoax is turned around’

New Developments In The Uranium One Scandal – Hannity

Russia Scandal Flips On Democrats and Media – Defeat Trump Media – Hannity

Trump Vindicated – Clinton campaign & DNC financed bogus Russian dossier – Fox News Panel 10/25/17

Ben Shapiro: Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the research that led to phony Trump-Russia dossier

Ben Shapiro: The Trump-Russia dossier story turns around to Hillary Clinton (audio from 10-26-2017)

Clinton has lied repeatedly about funding the dossier: Kennedy

Clapper on dossier: ‘Doesn’t matter who paid for it’

Trump: Russian dossier is a ‘disgrace’

FOX News Tonight | Oct 25, 2017 | Clinton Camp. and Dems Party Helped Pay for Russian Trump Dossier

Tucker Carlson Special: Full Story Behind FBI Coverup of Clintons Server and CrowdStrike

WOW! Trump PERSONALLY Ordered DOJ To Lift Gag Order On Clinton-Uranium One Informant

Tucker: Why won’t the FBI answer basic questions on Russia?

Clinton & DNC Paid for Fake Trump Dossier, 1860

Steyn: Everybody was colluding with Russia except Trump

Dossier dismissed: DNC & Hillary Clinton’s campaign funded Trump-Russia case

Trump Dossier Battle – Fusion GPS Asks Court To Stop Subpoena For Bank Records – Special Report

Putin dismisses Trump’s dossier as fake

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed as a hoax a privately-prepared intelligence dossier that claimed Russian intelligence agencies had compromising material on President-elect Trump. Elizabether Palmer has the details.

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

 
The Washington Post’s Adam Entous looks at the role that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee played in funding the research that led to a dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s links to Russia. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde, Patrick Martin/Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

 October 24 at 7:21 PM

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said. Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele compiled the dossier on President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (Victoria Jones/AP)

Fusion GPS gave Steele’s reports and other research documents to Elias, the people familiar with the matter said. It is unclear how or how much of that information was shared with the campaign and the DNC and who in those organizations was aware of the roles of Fusion GPS and Steele. One person close to the matter said the campaign and the DNC were not informed by the law firm of Fusion GPS’s role.

The dossier has become a lightning rod amid the intensifying investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. Some congressional Republican leaders have spent months trying to discredit Fusion GPS and Steele and tried to determine the identity of the Democrat or organization that paid for the dossier.

Trump tweeted as recently as Saturday that the Justice Department and FBI should “immediately release who paid for it.”

Elias and Fusion GPS declined to comment on the arrangement.

A DNC spokeswoman said “[Chairman] Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization. But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.”

Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said he wasn’t aware of the hiring during the campaign.

“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it. Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.”

Marc E. Elias of Perkins Coie represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Some of the details are included in a Tuesday letter sent by Perkins Coie to a lawyer representing Fusion GPS, telling the research firm that it was released from a ­client-confidentiality obligation. The letter was prompted by a legal fight over a subpoena for Fusion GPS’s bank records.

People involved in the matter said that they would not disclose the dollar amounts paid to Fusion GPS but that the campaign and the DNC shared the cost.

Steele previously worked in Russia for British intelligence. The dossier is a compilation of reports he prepared for Fusion GPS. The dossier alleged that the Russian government collected compromising information about Trump and that the Kremlin was engaged in an effort to assist his campaign for president.

U.S. intelligence agencies later released a public assessment asserting that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to aid Trump. The FBI has been investigating whether Trump associates helped the Russians in that effort.

Trump has adamantly denied the allegations in the dossier and has dismissed the FBI probe as a witch hunt.

Officials have said that the FBI has confirmed some of the information in the dossier. Other details, including the most sensational accusations, have not been verified and may never be.

Fusion GPS’s work researching Trump began during the Republican presidential primaries, when the GOP donor paid for the firm to investigate the real estate magnate’s background.

Fusion GPS did not start off looking at Trump’s Russia ties but quickly realized that those relationships were extensive, according to the people familiar with the matter.

When the Republican donor stopped paying for the research, Elias, acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, agreed to pay for the work to continue. The Democrats paid for research, including by Fusion GPS, because of concerns that little was known about Trump and his business interests, according to the people familiar with the matter.

 

Those people said that it is standard practice for political campaigns to use law firms to hire outside researchers to ensure their work is protected by attorney-client and work-product privileges.

The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015 — though it’s impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.

At no point, the people said, did the Clinton campaign or the DNC direct Steele’s activities. They described him as a Fusion GPS subcontractor.

Some of Steele’s allegations began circulating in Washington in the summer of 2016 as the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into possible connections between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Around that time, Steele shared some of his findings with the FBI.

After the election, the FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue gathering intelligence about Trump and Russia, but the bureau pulled out of the arrangement after Steele was publicly identified in news reports.

The dossier was published by BuzzFeed News in January. Fusion GPS has said in court filings that it did not give BuzzFeed the documents.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that Steele was respected by the FBI and the State Department for earlier work he performed on a global corruption probe.

In early January, then-FBI Director James B. Comey presented a two-page summary of Steele’s dossier to President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump. In May, Trump fired Comey, which led to the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia matter.

Congressional Republicans have tried to force Fusion GPS to identify the Democrat or group behind Steele’s work, but the firm has said that it will not do so, citing confidentiality agreements with its clients.

Over objections from Democrats, the Republican leader of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), subpoenaed Fusion GPS’s bank records to try to identify the mystery client.

Fusion GPS has been fighting the release of its bank records. A judge on Tuesday extended a deadline for Fusion GPS’s bank to respond to the subpoena until Friday while the company attempts to negotiate a resolution with Nunes.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?utm_term=.29781c192bae

Robert Mueller’s widening Russia probe is sweeping up Democrats, including lobbyist Tony Podesta

The scope of Russian involvement in U.S. business and politics is extensive

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD 10.23.20171:51 PM

Much like the mid-90s saw story after story showing how extensive Chinese government operations within U.S. politics were, the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election is demonstrating the size of Russia’s.

That’s the overall takeaway from a series of news reports, including one from NBC that indicated that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been investigating the business dealings of Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. His firm, the Podesta Group, is one of several that did work on behalf of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chair of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

 Manafort, who has told friends that he expects to be indicted by Mueller, has been under investigation for his work on behalf of a number of Russian billionaires with interests in Ukraine and elsewhere — all of whom are closely connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Podesta’s firm was hired to do lobbying by Manafort on behalf of an outfit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which itself was hired to burnish the image of Ukraine’s then-president, who was closely tied to Moscow.

According to NBC’s sources, Mueller’s inquiry into the Podesta Group has expanded into whether it violated U.S. legal requirements that American individuals and corporations formally disclose their work on behalf of foreign governments. The failure to file under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is a felony and can result in up to five years’ imprisonment. Prosecutions of FARA violations are rare and are often used as leverage in larger cases.

Neither the Podesta Group nor Manafort made their FARA disclosures until their work was exposed by media reports.

Podesta is the brother of Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, John Podesta. A report from McClatchy revealed that John was a board member of a Russian alternative energy company called Joule, which seems to have built a business plan on gaining access to a Clinton White House. Dmitry Akhanov, a close associate of Putin and the CEO of a government-owned investment firm, oversaw the company’s investment in Joule.

Russia’s government has also been revealed to have had ties to former president Bill Clinton’s philanthropic work as well as to several left-wing political parties in various countries. Moscow has also openly funded efforts to get California and Texas to secede from the United States, with the former campaign targeting progressives and the latter targeting conservatives.

https://www.salon.com/2017/10/23/robert-muellers-widening-russia-probe-is-sweeping-up-democrats-including-lobbyist-tony-podesta/

 

A YEAR of Clinton lies about the ‘golden showers’ dossier exposed as Hillary’s lawyer is under fire for falsely denying paying for it

  • It’s claimed that Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias and other Democrats falsely denied to reporters their involvement in the ‘dirty dossier’
  • Two New York Times journalists say they were lied to at every turn
  • It’s now established that Clinton lawyer Marc Elias arranged for the campaign and the Democratic Party to pay a dirt-digging firm to produce the dossier
  • ‘Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,’ Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted

Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer who launched what would become known as the anti-Trump ‘dirty dossier’ denied involvement in the project for a year as reporters pressed him for information.

Marc Elias brokered a deal between the Clinton camp, the Democratic National Committee and opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on the president while he was running for office.

But a pair of New York Times reporters said Tuesday night on Twitter that Elias and others involved had lied about their ties to the arrangement.

‘Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,’ Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted after The Washington Post linked the dossier to Elias and his law firm Perkins Coie.

Kennth Vogel, another Times journalist, tweeted: ‘When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying “You (or your sources) are wrong”.’

Scroll down for videos

Hillary Clinton's campaign lawyer Marc E. Elias hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016 to dig up dirt about Donald Trump, but falsely denied involvement to reporters

Two New York Times journalists blew up on Twitter when The Washington Post broke the story

Two New York Times journalists blew up on Twitter when The Washington Post broke the story

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funneled money to Fusion GPS through Elias's law firm

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funneled money to Fusion GPS through Elias’s law firm

The deal began in the spring of 2016, when Elias was approached by Fusion GPS, and lasted until right before Election Day. When Fusion approached Elias, it had already been doing research work on Trump for an unnamed client during the Republican primary.

But the dossier itself was funded entirely by Democrats, using Elias as a middle-man.

After the DNC and the Clinton campaign started paying, Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to do the dirt-digging. His work later resulted in the dossier.

Trump has called the material ‘phony stuff,’ and on Wednesday he portrayed himself as the aggrieved party.

Peter FritschThomas Catan

Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch (left) and partner Thomas Catan (right) took the Fifth last week rather than talking to Congress

The dossier, compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, contends that the Russian government amassed compromising information about Trump

The dossier, compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, contends that the Russian government amassed compromising information about Trump

The president posted a quote on Twitter that he attributed to Fox News: “Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President”.’

The FBI has worked to corroborate the document, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which is investigating potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, questioned Steele weeks ago.

The dossier circulated in Washington last year and was turned over to the FBI for its review. It contends that Russia was engaged in a long-standing effort to aid Trump and had amassed compromising information about the Republican.

Among its wild claims was that Russian officials have videos of the president cavorting with prostitutes, filmed during Trump’s 2013 visit to a luxury Moscow hotel for the Miss Universe contest

It also contains a highly unusual and unsubstantiated report that the call girls performed a ‘golden shower’ routine that involved them urinating on a hotel bed as a sign of disgust for then-president Barack Obama.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the document as false and in recent days has questioned whether Democrats or the FBI itself had helped fund it.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied the dossier's claims, including the salacious allegation that he hired prostitutes in Russia

President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied the dossier’s claims, including the salacious allegation that he hired prostitutes in Russia

Trump called himself a 'victim' of the infamous dossier that Democrats helped pay to produce

Trump called himself a ‘victim’ of the infamous dossier that Democrats helped pay to produce

Trump also has challenged the findings of the FBI, NSA and CIA that Russia waged a large-scale influence campaign to interfere in the election.

The FBI and the CIA have said with high confidence that the effort was aimed at hurting Clinton’s candidacy and helping Trump. The NSA found the same with “moderate” confidence.

It’s unclear what Fusion GPS had dug up by the time Perkins Coie hired it in April 2016. According to a copy of the dossier published by BuzzFeed last year, the earliest report from Steele dates to June 2016.

It was not immediately known how much money Fusion was paid or how many others in the Clinton campaign or DNC were aware that the firm had been retained.

 Clinton campaign officials did not immediately comment, but in a statement, a DNC spokeswoman said the party chairman, Tom Perez, was not part of the decision-making and was unaware that Perkins Coie was working with Fusion GPS.

Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said on Twitter that he regretted not knowing about Steele’s hiring before the election, and that had he known, ‘I would have volunteered to go to Europe and try to help him.’

‘I have no idea what Fusion or Steele were paid but if even a shred of that dossier ends up helping Mueller, it will prove money well spent,’ Fallon in another tweet.

2016

June 20: The dossier is first dated June 20 and had contained several unverifiable periodic reports made over the summer, according to Mother Jones. It was sent in dated sections from a former Western intelligence officer to the FBI and alleged Russia had enough to blackmail Trump.

It alleged that Trump had been cultivated by Russian officials ‘for at least five years.’ It also claimed that the Kremlin had compromising material related to ‘sexually perverted acts’ Trump performed at a Moscow Ritz Carlton where former President Barack Obama once stayed.

Dossier also alleged that Trump’s inner circle was accepting a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin on Hillary Clinton.

July 27: Trump asks Russian hackers to find Clinton’s 30,000 emails during a press conference.

July 31: Kremlin weighing whether to release more information about Clinton.

Late July: The FBI opens its investigation into Russia’s interference in the election, and the Trump campaign’s possible role in it.

August 27: Then-U.S. Sen. Harry Reid sent a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey and called for a full investigation and public disclosure. He wrote: ‘The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin.’

September 23: U.S. intelligence officials began investigating links between Trump adviser Carter Page and the Russian government, Yahoo News reported. Page had extensive business links in Russia and is a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in Moscow.

October 7: The Obama administration publicly accuses Russia of ‘directing the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations’ to affect the US election.

October 30: Reid sent Comey another letter demanding that Trump’s possible ties to Russia be fully investigated and he cited the existence of ‘explosive information’ that the FBI has in its possession.

November 3, 2016: Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev flies into Charlotte, North Carolina on a private plane. Trump’s plane lands on the tarmac not long after and parks next to Rybolovlev, whose plane stays in Charlotte for 22 hours afterward. Trump rallies in nearby city Concord.

November 8: Trump wins the election to become the 45th president of the United States.

November 10: President Barack Obama warns Trump during a meeting at the White House that national security advisor Michael Flynn, a former U.S. Army lieutenant general and Defense Intelligence Agency chief, is a problem.

November 18: During a security meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sen. John McCain hears about the documents and dispatches a former US official to meet the source of the documents and gather more information.

December 9: McCain meets Comey gives the FBI director the documents, The Guardian reported.

December 13: This is the last date of the memos from the dossier written by the British source.

December 29: The Obama administration issues new sanctions on Russia in retaliation for Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the summer and other efforts to interfere with the U.S. election.

2017 

January 10: Obama and Trump were both given a two-page summary of the dossier, CNN reported. BuzzFeed News then reported on the dossier and published it in full about how it alleges Trump’s deep ties with Russia.

January 19: The New York Times reported that ‘intercepted communications’ between Trump associates and Russians are being investigated as part of the FBI’s inquiry into Russia’s election meddling.

January 27: Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, holds a meeting with Russian-American businessman Felix Sater and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko to discuss a backchannel ‘peace plan’ for Russia and Ukraine.

February 13: Flynn resigns as national security adviser after reports emerge that he misled Vice President Mike Pence.

March 2: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from the investigation into whether the Trump campaign communicated with Russia.

March 4: Without presenting evidence, Trump tweets that Obama had Trump Tower’s ‘wires tapped’ during the presidential campaign.

March 15: Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that the committee had not found any evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping claim.

 March 20: Comey said he has ‘no evidence’ to support Trump’s wiretapping claim. He confirmed that an investigation into Russia’s election-related meddling includes an examination of contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign.

Late March: Flynn asks for immunity in exchange for testifying to the House and intelligence committees investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.

April 1: Trump tweets: ‘It is the same Fake News Media that said there is “no path to victory for Trump” that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!’

April 3: Trump calls Putin to condemn a Saint Petersburg, Russia terrorist attack.

April 6: Nunes steps aside from the Russia investigation, because he himself is under investigation.

April 11: Page is now under investigation by the FBI who obtained court permission to monitor his communications. The U.S. believed he was acting as a Russian agent.

April 27: The Pentagon inspector general is investigating whether Flynn violated military rules by accepting foreign payments from Russia and Turkey, which is disclosed by a House committee.

May 8: Trump tweets ‘Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax’.

May 9: The president fires Comey from his position at the FBI.

May 10: Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House.

May 15: The Washington Post reported that Trump shared highly classified information about Islamic State with the Russian diplomats during a meeting the previous week.

May 17: Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is appointed the special counsel to take over the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

Late May: Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is revealed to be under investigation by the FBI. According to the Post, he proposed a private back channel between the Kremlin and Trump’s transition team during a meeting in December.

June 8: Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee and answers questions related to Russia meddling into the U.S. election.

 June 13: Sessions denies colluding with Russia during Senate testimony.

June 14: The Washington Post reported that Trump is being investigated for possible obstruction of justice by Mueller.

September: Several news outlets, including POLITICO and Buzzfeed, are suing under the Freedom of Information Act to get records about how the federal government tried to vet the claims in the dossier.

October 24: It’s revealed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped bankroll research that led to the ‘golden showers’ dossier on Donald Trump. Clinton’s campaign lawyer Marc Elias hired research firm Fusion GPS back in April 2016 to look into allegations of Trump’s ties to Russia, according to the Washington Post.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5016865/A-YEAR-Clinton-lies-dirty-dossier-exposed.html#ixzz4wa2Aew00

 

The Clinton camp and DNC funded what became the Trump-Russia dossier: Here’s what it means

 

The Washington Post broke the story Tuesday night that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped pay for that now-famous dossier of research on President Trump.

The Post’s Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman report that powerful Democratic attorney Marc E. Elias retained the firm Fusion GPS for information, and Fusion GPS later hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who was versed in Russia-related issues.

The dossier, which was published by BuzzFeed News in January, has been partially confirmed, though its most salacious allegations have not been.

There is a lot to sort through here. Below are four key points.

1) Clinton supporters — though not the campaign itself — were previously reported to fund the dossier

The fact Democrats were behind the funding for the dossier is not totally new. When CNN first reported on the dossier’s existence back in January, it said the research effort was originally funded by President Trump’s GOP opponents and then, when he won the nomination, by those supporting Clinton.

CNN reported back then that their sources “said that once Mr. Trump became the nominee, further investigation was funded by groups and donors supporting Hillary Clinton.”

Until now, though, the dossier had not been tied specifically to the Clinton campaign or the DNC.

2) Yes, the dossier was funded by Democrats

Some of the pushback on the left has focused on the fact that a still-unidentified Republican client retained Fusion GPS to do research on Trump before the Clinton campaign and the DNC did. Thus, they argue, it’s wrong to say the dossier was just funded by Democrats.

But The Post is reporting that the dossier’s author, Steele, wasn’t brought into the mix until afterDemocrats retained Fusion GPS. So while both sides paid Fusion GPS, Steele was only funded by Democrats.

3) Trump’s allegation of FBI payments is still dubious

After the story posted, some on the right seized upon The Post noting the FBI had agreed to pay Steele for information after the campaign. The argument seemed to be that the FBI was engaged in a witch hunt against Trump using Democrats’ sources.

But The Post originally reported on the FBI’s agreement back in February. At the time, it also reported it never actually paid for the work after the agent was identified in news reports:

The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump’s political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.

. . .

Ultimately, the FBI did not pay Steele. Communications between the bureau and the former spy were interrupted as Steele’s now-famous dossier became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials, according to the people familiar with the arrangement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Despite there being no proof the FBI actually paid Steele, Trump suggested it might have in a tweet last week — along with “Russia . . . or the Dems (or all).” Of those three groups, only Democrats have been reported to have actually paid Steele. And again, that was already kind-of known.

Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?

4) The appearance problems for Democrats

There is, presumably, a reason Democrats haven’t copped to funding the dossier — something they still haven’t publicly confirmed. Fusion GPS threatening to plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination raised eyebrows last week, for instance.

First among those reasons is paying a foreigner for opposition research for an American political campaign. Given Democrats’ argument that Russia’s interference on Trump’s behalf was beyond the pale, the Clinton camp and the DNC paying a Brit for information would seem somewhat problematic.

(The Clinton campaign has also, notably, denied working with the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on Trump. Republicans have pushed dubious comparisons between the Ukraine allegation and Russia’s alleged Trump advocacy.)

Some on the right even alleged that Democrats paying Steele amounts to “collusion” with foreigners. But Russia-Steele comparisons aren’t apples-to-apples. The British after all are, unlike the Russians, America’s allies. Also, Steele was not acting as an agent of a foreign government, which is what would likely be required to prove collusion in the case of the Trump campaign and Russia.

Steele’s dossier does include information it says was obtained from “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.” In other words, the Clinton camp and the DNC were essentially paying for information allegedly obtained from inside the Russian government, even as there is no proof they deliberately sought Russia’s help.

Separately, the firm that the Clinton camp and the DNC paid also has alleged ties to the Kremlin. In Senate testimony in July, Hermitage Capital Management chief executive William Browder accused Fusion GPS and its head, Glenn Simpson, of running a smear campaign against Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian whistleblower who in 2009 was tortured and killed in a Russian prison after uncovering a $230 million tax theft. Magnitsky worked for Browder, and his name was used for a U.S. law containing sanctions that was passed by Congress and is a sore spot between the U.S. government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Browder said the smear campaign was run by Fusion GPS with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. You might remember them from the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. that took place in June 2016. Veselnitskaya was the Russian lawyer with alleged Kremlin ties who arranged the meeting.

As The Post reported in July of Browder’s accusations:

They were all allegedly working with the law firm Baker Hostetler to defend the Russian company Prevezon from charges it laundered funds stolen in the fraud Magnitsky uncovered.

“Veselnitskaya, through Baker Hostetler, hired Glenn Simpson of the firm Fusion GPS to conduct a smear campaign against me and Sergei Magnitsky in advance of congressional hearings on the Global Magnitsky Act,” Browder will testify. “He contacted a number of major newspapers and other publications to spread false information that Sergei Magnitsky was not murdered, was not a whistleblower and was instead a criminal. They also spread false information that my presentations to lawmakers around the world were untrue.”

Fusion GPS has confirmed it worked on a lawsuit involving Veselnitskaya for two years, The Post’s Josh Rogin reported. It denied any involvement in the Trump Jr. meeting.

The firm has worked with both Democrats and Republicans over the years.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/10/25/the-clinton-camp-and-the-dnc-helped-pay-for-that-trump-russia-dossier-heres-what-it-means/?utm_term=.b318da0b1cc3

 

Story 2: Time To Fire Mueller & Rosenstein and Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Clinton Conspiracy Theory 0f Trump  Russian Collusion Based on A Fictional Dossier and No Evidence At All of Trump Collusion — Investigate The Obama Administration’s Use of The Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, and NSA)  For Political Purposes By Their Secret Surveillance of American Citizens Including Trump and Campaign and Cover-up of Clinton Foundation Crimes of Racketeering and Public Corruption — The Cover-up and Scandal of The Century –Videos

WOW! Trump PERSONALLY Ordered DOJ To Lift Gag Order On Clinton-

Uranium One Informant

he House Oversight committee has started looking into an Obama-era deal in which a Russian-backed company bought a uranium firm with mines in the U.S., Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Sunday, adding that he’s spoken with the federal government’s “confidential informant” on the matter. The uranium agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and some investors in the Russian-backed company, Uranium One, had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated to the Clinton Foundation. “I’ve spoken with the confidential informant that helped the FBI uncover this bribery scheme,” DeSantis, R-Fla., a member of the oversight committee, told “America’s News Headquarters.” “Clearly, it’s in the public’s interest that this individual be able to tell his story to Congress.”

Did former Obama officials help create anti-Trump dossier?

Dan Bongino: Russian dossier is the scandal of the century

Rush Limbaugh: The scandal of scandals: Clinton campaign and DNC paid for the phony Trump dossier

Gorka: Uranium One scandal is absolutely massive

Gingrich: On the edge of the greatest corruption scandal

Tucker: Fake Russia collusion has unintended consequences

Tucker Carlson: How Trump-Russia Hysteria Spectacularly Backfired In DNC Face

UraniumOne crimes. Lou Dobbs breaks it down

“PROSECUTE HILLARY” – JUDGE JEANINE EXPLODES IN POWERFUL OPENING STATEMENT

There is a ‘mountain’ of evidence against Hillary Clinton: Judge Napolitano

Rep. Nunes On ‘Trump Dossier’: Did The Democrats Use The Intelligence Services for Their Political Gain?

Tucker Carlson interviews House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes on how the contents in what is dubbed the ‘Trump dossier’ led the Obama administration to use government justice resources to investigate the Trump campaign using unverified information gathered from a questionable source.

Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous ‘dossier,’ is currently pleading the Fifth while using courts to block information and evidence showing the Clinton campaign and DNC jointly paid for it via a law firm, a fact leaked to The Washington Post.

“Federal Election Commission records show that the Clinton campaign paid the Perkins Coie law firm $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015. Some of those total fees were apparently paid to Fusion GPS,” The Post reported.

Nunes told Carlson he wants to find out if the FBI was able to obtain warrants using the dossier and if they opened a “counter-intelligence investigation” based on the unverified info.

“So is there anything more terrifying than the prospect of an armed rogue agency,” Carlson said of the FBI.

“I think that the challenge here is that if you had an unverified dossier paid for by political opponents, in this case, the Democratic party that the FBI is taking and using to open investigations into a campaign or into other Americans, we are on a slippery slope. I imagine this is what you see in third world countries where the party in power uses the intelligence services for their political gain. You don’t see that in the United States of America,” Nunes told Carlson on his FOX News show Wednesday night.

Transcript:

TUCKER CARLSON: So one of the most terrifying facts that we’ve learned in the past two days is that the FBI apparently was one of the funders of this dossier. Even after Trump was elected president. How can that be?

REP. DEVIN NUNES: Well, let’s take a step at a time here, Tucker. We don’t know that yet. Part of the reason why we don’t know that yet is we have subpoenaed FBI and the Justice Department to give us this information. What we know so far that we believe to be factual from The Washington Post piece is that the Democrats paid for the dossier — Fusion GPS for the dossier. We believe that to be true. But have Fusion GPS that pled the Fifth. So they refused to testify. They’re now trying to block us from getting information to get to financial records of who they paid, who could they have paid, who could they have hired, all those sorts of things. They’re trying to block us on that.

CARLSON: On what grounds could you say we don’t have the right to know that?

NUNES: Well, look, we’ve subpoenaed the documents and we’re waiting — we have the House general counsel representing us in court. But when you plead the Fifth and then you go to court to try and block us from getting the information and then it gets leaked to The Washington Post that the DNC and the Hillary [Clinton] campaign paid for this, I think we have a problem.

Now I think the next focus is going to be on whether or not did the FBI use this dossier to get any warrants, did they use it to open a counter-intelligence investigation and if they did, if they’re using unverified information to open up inquiries into American citizens, I think we have a big problem.

CARLSON: From a political campaign.

NUNES: From a political campaign.

CARLSON: I mean the purpose of this information which is unverified and in some cases demonstrably false was to affect the outcome an election. So it’s a simple question. You’re the chairman of one of the most powerful committees in the House of Representatives. Why can’t you get an answer?

NUNES: You would think that we would be able to. And that is the problem.

CARLSON: Is that constitutional?

NUNES: This is why the Speaker of the House came out this morning and called on DOJ to provide this information immediately to the House of Representatives. And this is why we’re in court now, just trying to get this information. And, look, this has been since March, it’s not like this is new. We didn’t just stumble into this. And at least subpoenas were issued almost 60 days ago.

CARLSON: But the FBI is not its own country, it can’t make it’s own unilateral decisions, right?

NUNES: Last time I checked, it was the U.S. Congress that created the FBI.

CARLSON: So is there anything more terrifying than the prospect of an armed rogue agency?

NUNES. No. No. And I think that the challenge here is that if you had an unverified dossier paid for by political opponents, in this case, the Democratic party that the FBI is taking and using to open investigations into a campaign or into other Americans, we are on a slippery slope. I imagine this is what you see in third world countries where the party in power uses the intelligence services for their political gain. You don’t see that in the United States of America.

CALRSON: There’s a new FBI director. There are lots of FBI officials that go on television. Has anybody from the FBI publicly explained why they’re not letting the House Intelligence Committee know this information?

NUNES: No, they have not. Not yet.

CALRSON: That’s really upsetting. So the Uranium One scandal, we know that a Democratic lobbying firm in Washington, The Podesta Group, was engaged in lobbying on behalf of these interests. And we know that the Clinton family foundation took just took over $100 million from board members of Uranium One.

Is anybody going to get to whether the obvious happened? That was a quid pro quo. They paid, they got the deal ratified by federal agencies. Will we get to the bottom of that.

NUNES: Here’s what I think is disturbing and what we’re looking for first. So, the new information here, a lot of people are asking, what happened? This was seven years ago. What happened? First of all, you had Republicans back in 2010 wrote in opposition to the sale on this Uranium One.

Then we now have information — this is the new information. We have informants who have said that there was an open FBI-DOJ investigation. We have people that have told us this. We don’t know if it’s true yet. but if it’s true, shortly after that — so if you have an open investigation, how do nine cabinet-level secretaries approve a sale?

And then you have all the questions that you raised. Was the Clinton Foundation involved in this? What was — there was millions of dollars —

CARLSON: And where was American national security, the American interest in this? Nonpresent.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/10/25/rep_nunes_on_trump_dossier_did_the_democrats_use_the_intelligence_services_for_their_political_gain.html

Obama-era Russian Uranium One deal: What to know

Multiple congressional committees are investigating an Obama-era deal that resulted in a Russian company purchasing American uranium mines.

And after the request from many Republican lawmakers, the Department of Justice has lifted a gag order on a former FBI informant who is expected to have more information about the agreement that allowed Russia to control about one-fifth of the uranium mining in the U.S. – and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it.

President Trump specifically requested the Justice Department lift the gag order on the informant, a source told Fox News.

The informant will be allowed to speak with the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Justice Department said Wednesday night. The informant will be able to provide “any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market,” the department said.

The controversial sale of what is now Uranium One to a Russian company is what Trump has called the “real Russia story” as federal investigators continue to probe Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election. The Hill recently reported that Russian officials engaged in a “racketeering scheme” to further its energy goals in the U.S.

What was the Uranium One deal?

In 2013, Rosatom, backed by the Russian state, acquired a Canadian uranium mining company, now called Uranium One, which has assets in the U.S. Uranium is key to making nuclear weapons.

Through the deal, Russia is able to own about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity. However, Colin Chilcoat, an energy affairs specialist who has written extensively about Russia’s energy deals, said that the company only extracts about 11 percent of uranium in the U.S.

The deal also “doesn’t allow for that uranium to be exported at all,” Chilcoat told Fox News. “It’s not like it’s leaving the U.S. or somehow finding its way to more insidious players.”

HILLARY CLINTON’S TOP AIDES STILL BEING PAID BY CAMPAIGN

The agreement was approved by nine government agencies with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency group that reviews how certain foreign investments can impact national security. Clinton’s State Department was one of those agencies, though the former secretary of state told WMUR-TV in 2015 that she was not “personally involved” in the agreement.

Why is it controversial?

Republicans have largely decried the deal, especially as some investors reportedly donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton also received a $500,000 speaking fee in Russia and reportedly met with Vladimir Putin around the time of the deal.

The FBI had looked into the agreement and uncovered that some Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in nefarious dealings, which included extortion, bribery and kickbacks, The Hill reported. Evidence of wrongdoing by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion in the U.S. who was eventually sentenced to prison, was discovered by the FBI before the deal was approved, according to The Hill.

Author Peter Schweizer – who wrote about the deal in his 2015 book “Clinton Cash” – told Fox News that there is no evidence that the people involved with approving the agreement knew that the FBI had an ongoing investigation into it.

“If anyone colluded for a foreign government in last year’s election, it was the Clinton campaign.”

– White House press secretary Sarah Sanders

But Republicans say the whole affair raises serious questions.

“Now it’s the Democrats who have some explaining to do,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “I hope they will cooperate with the investigation, be forthcoming with the American people and I expect the media to cover these new developments with the same breathless intensity that they have given to this investigation since day one.”

And White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News Tuesday that “if anyone colluded for a foreign government in last year’s election, it was the Clinton campaign [and] the Democrats.”

Trump has often accused the media of not reporting enough on the Uranium One deal.

“Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!” the president tweeted on Oct. 19.

And in March, Trump asked on social media why the House Intelligence Committee has not launched an investigation into the “Bill and Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia.”

How does this tie in with the other Russia investigation?

Multiple congressional committees as well as the Justice Department are looking into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election – and ties between Russians and Trump’s campaign.

“That’s your real Russia story. Not a story where they talk about collusion and there was none. It was a hoax. Your real Russia story is uranium,” Trump told reporters during a press conference last week.

REPUBLICANS SEE TABLES TURNED AS DEMS FACE FRESH RUSSIA CONTROVERSIES

Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the probe into alleged Russian interference in the election, was the head of the FBI when it investigated Rosatom officials’ extortion and corruption.

“Your real Russia story is uranium.”

– President Donald Trump

And the investigation was led by then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director, and then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, now the deputy attorney general, The Hill reported.

Mueller’s investigators in the Russia probe report to Rosenstein.

Congressional committees are looking into whether Mueller informed the Obama administration, particularly those tasked with approving the Uranium One deal, prior to CFIUS approval.

MUELLER PROBE EXPANDS TO DEMOCRATIC LOBBYIST TONY PODESTA’S DEALINGS

In her attempt to discredit reports of the controversy surrounding the Uranium One deal, Clinton said Trump and “his allies, including Fox News,” are diverting from the investigation.

“The closer the investigation about real Russian ties between Trump associates and real Russians … the more they want to just throw mud on the wall,” she said Monday. “I’m their favorite target, me and President Obama.”

What happens next?

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had asked the Department of Justice to lift the non-disclosure agreement preventing a federal informant from speaking about the deal.

The informant’s lawyer, Victoria Toensing, has told Fox Business that her client can “tell what all the Russians were talking about during the time that all these bribery payments were made.” The informant was prevented from testifying by former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, according to Toensing.

“Witnesses who want to talk to Congress should not be gagged and threatened with prosecution for talking,” Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. The Justice Department said Wednesday night that it has lifted the gag order, allowing the informant to discuss the deal with congressional investigators.

Jamil Jaffer, a former counsel in the Justice Department, said the alleged informant could allow Congress to “follow the money” because “if the informant was inside many or all of these transactions, meetings or conversations, he may be able to provide useful information about the intent behind the transaction and whether it was quid pro quo.”

“The key issues at stake in this investigation are all about intent and knowledge: was there an intent to influence official business, and, if so, did the recipient take the money in exchange for taking official action,” Jaffer, the director of the National Security Law and Policy Program at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, told Fox News.

But Jaffer said the credibility of the so-called informant will also come into play.

“Was this a foreign agent or criminal who turned? Was this a private individual the FBI placed inside [the deal]? Was this a government employee? All these factors, plus the level of the informant’s access to relevant information, will make a big difference here,” Jaffer.

During a hearing with Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions last week, Grassley pressed the former senator on actions the Justice Department might take regarding the deal. Grassley said he’s written several letters to government agencies inquiring if they knew about the FBI probe before they approved of the deal.

Sessions said the Justice Department will take “appropriate” actions but declined to comment specifically on the influence Russian officials might have had on the Obama administration to “smooth the way” for the deal.

“I hear your concerns and they will be reviewed,” Sessions said.

Grassley has called for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate the deal.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News that the House Oversight committee’s investigation “could be criminal,” depending on the statute of limitations.

Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/26/obama-era-russian-uranium-one-deal-what-to-know.html

Why doesn’t Hillary’s ‘dossier’ trick count as treason?

What’s the difference between the infamous Russian dossier on Donald Trump and that random fake-news story you saw on Facebook last year? The latter was never used by America’s intelligence community to bolster its case for spying on American citizens nor was it the foundation for a year’s worth of media coverage.

Then again, you get what you pay for. We now know Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid as much as $9 million for the discredited dossier on Trump.

According to the Washington Post, a lawyer named Marc Elias, who represented both the 2016 Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, had hired Fusion GPS, a DC firm working on behalf of the Russian government to soften sanctions at the time, to provide opposition research for them. The firm then hired a former British spy named Christopher Steele who reportedly purchased salacious rumors about Trump from the Russians.

Now, you might expect that the scandalous revelation of a political campaign using opposition research that was partially obtained from a hostile foreign power during a national election would ignite shrieks of “collusion” from all patriotic citizens. After all, only last summer, when it was reported that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who claimed to be in possession of damaging information about Clinton, there was widespread condemnation.

Finally, we were told, a smoking gun tied the Trump campaign to Vladimir Putin. Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine went as far as to suggest that the independent counsel begin investigating treason.

Treason! Trump Jr. didn’t even pay for or accept research.

The Clinton crew, on the other hand, did. They didn’t openly push the contents of the dossier — probably because they knew it was mostly fiction. Instead, Fusion GPS leaked it to their friends in the media.

The dossier ended up in the possession of most major news outlets. Many journalists relied on Fusion GPS to propel coverage. BuzzFeed even posted the entire thing for Americans to read, even though it was more than likely that its most scandalous parts were hatched by a foreign government.

The memo dominated newsrooms that were convinced Trump was a Manchurian candidate. No fake-news story came close to having this kind of impact.

Democrats in Washington are now pushing the “Honest Ads Act,” which creates a raft of new regulations and fines for websites that don’t do enough to combat fake news. Attempting to control the flow of information onto our screens is the hobbyhorse of would-be censors. But since they’re at it, when do we get a bill that fines institutional media organizations that readily embrace bogus foreign dossiers?

Because the dossier didn’t just awaken the Russia-stole-our-democracy narratives in the media. It’s just as likely that the dossier was used by Clinton’s allies in the government.

The Obama administration reportedly relied on the dossier to bolster its spying on US citizens. We know of at least one case where the information was used to justify a FISA warrant on a Trump adviser. And let’s not forget that Steele had reached an agreement to be compensated for his efforts by the FBI.

None of this excuses the actions of Paul Manafort and others who may have benefited from their relationship with the Russians. Yet, using the very standards Democrats have constructed over the past year, the Fusion GPS story is now the most tangible evidence we possess of Russian interference in the American election.

And at some point, Democrats will have to decide whether it’s wrong for a political campaign to work with foreigners when obtaining opposition research or whether it’s acceptable. We can’t have different standards for Democrats and Republicans.

Otherwise people might start to get the idea that all the histrionics over the past year weren’t really about Russian interference at all, but rather about Hillary losing an election that they assumed she’d win.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and author of the forthcoming book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.”

http://nypost.com/2017/10/25/why-doesnt-hillarys-dossier-trick-count-as-treason/

Republicans spoil for a fight over Russia probe budget

Robert Mueller’s first spending report must be reviewed by the Justice Department, but lawmakers are already questioning the open-ended use of taxpayer funds.

Updated 

Robert Mueller is pictured. | Getty Images
Complaints about spending over the Russia probes date to before Robert Mueller’s appointment in mid-May. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans trying to hobble Robert Mueller’s sprawling probe into President Donald Trump and Russia matters are about to get a new weapon: the special counsel’s budget.

Lawmakers haven’t yet seen the Russia investigator’s first spending report, which must go through a Justice Department review before being made public. But they’re already setting up a fight over how much the probe is costing taxpayers — and the fact that there’s no end in sight.

“For them to say to us, ‘Vote for an open-ended appropriation into a Mueller witch hunt,’ I think you’ll see significant objection there,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told POLITICO.

Mueller’s public budget is expected to contain only top-line figures covering broad categories like staff salaries, travel, outside contracts, supplies and equipment. But money will become a recurring fight as the investigation drags on, because Mueller is required to produce public expense reports every six months — giving opponents repeated opportunities to paint him in a negative light.

Partisan complaining about the expenses that pile up during lengthy Washington investigations is a familiar ritual. As President Bill Clinton faced impeachment in the House in 1998, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) called Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr a “federally paid sex policeman spending millions of dollars to trap an unfaithful spouse.”

Outcry over spending of taxpayers’ money also cropped up during the Iran-Contra investigation, whose outlays ultimately exceeded $47 million. “Taxpayers of this country should be absolutely up in arms about it,” then-Sen. Steve Symms (R-Idaho) said during a CNN appearance in 1992, six years into that probe.

Complaints about spending over the Russia probes date to before Mueller’s appointment in mid-May. Trump himself took to Twitter just one day before he fired FBI Director James Comey — kick-starting the whole special counsel process — to say: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Critics have only gained momentum as Mueller’s probe has advanced. King in a July interview called for legislation imposing both a deadline and budget constraints on Mueller; otherwise, the Republican congressman warned, Trump could face “a never-ending investigation that could go on for two presidential terms.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) tried in August to offer an amendment to the House budget resolution that would have halted Mueller’s funding just six months into the job. “No fishing expeditions,” he told Fox News as he tried to sell the measure.

While DeSantis couldn’t overcome a procedural technicality and never got a floor vote, conservatives say they’re just getting started. The right-leaning watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit earlier this month seeking Mueller’s budget documents. Several Republicans said in interviews they’d be keeping tabs on the special counsel’s spending through their oversight capacity, and they will hold out the threat of attaching language to DOJ’s annual spending bill or other must-pass legislation that places clear restrictions or prohibitions on Mueller’s authority.

“We still have power over the Department of Justice,” warned Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), another Judiciary Committee member.

As a practical matter, Congress can’t go after Mueller’s day-to-day spending directly. His budget is being drawn out of a permanent Treasury Department account that is not subject to the annual appropriations process, and the DOJ regulations used to appoint Mueller state he “shall be provided all appropriate resources” to do his work.

Mueller is subject to some oversight. He had to produce a budget proposal to DOJ earlier this summer for the next fiscal year. And an internal DOJ audit office must review the first 4½ months of his spending receipts. Mueller isn’t under day-to-day DOJ supervision, but Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, does have final say on some of the major decisions related to the Mueller probe, including his budget.

Peter Carr, a Mueller spokesman, said the internal DOJ review must be completed before the special counsel’s spending report is made public. He declined to comment when asked about a timeline for its release.

While firm details on how much Mueller has spent to date remain under wraps, sources familiar with the special counsel’s budget process say they expect the report to count up the salaries of 11 government attorneys who have been detailed from across other parts of DOJ, as well as five more people hired from outside government who are being paid using the scale for senior staff serving in a U.S. attorney’s office. Mueller himself is earning the same $161,900 salary as a U.S. attorney.

The special counsel’s spending report also will likely count any rent for office space in a Southwest Washington, D.C., office building — whose exact location remains a closely held secret — that his team has been using since the summer, according to sources familiar with Mueller’s budget process.

Politically, Mueller, a former FBI director appointed by President George W. Bush, can count on some degree of bipartisan support from lawmakers who say they expect he’ll lead a budget-savvy investigation.

“I’d be inclined to approve it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key member on both the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary committees. “He seems to be a pretty frugal guy.”

Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee since before the Clinton impeachment hearings, said in an interview earlier this week that he had no concerns about Mueller’s spending “unless it’s something totally outrageous.”

The special counsel’s Republican budget critics, Conyers added, represent the “few people who are sensitive about it.”

“Whatever figure he comes up with, they won’t like it too much,” he said.

Given Mueller’s mandate — lawmakers note he’s examining the authenticity of the presidential election — several Democrats said he should have some running room to spend what he needs to.

“In view of the amount of money that we spend as a nation in any given year, clarifying what happened under these very serious circumstances I think is important today and it’s important for history’s sake,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “We’re talking about the believability of any election in this county and we’re talking about undue influence by a nation that has never been known to support the principles of liberty or justice and there’s a lot at stake here.”

“He’s going to do what he can to acquit himself well. He’s got no ulterior motives. No fish to fry. He doesn’t have any aircraft carriers he’s got to buy from some contractor friend,” added Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), a senior House Judiciary Committee member.

Nadler also said he’s not expecting Mueller to be held too tightly to subsequent budget requests because of unexpected circumstances that might arise given his wide-ranging investigation into the Trump campaign and the election.

Any Republican bid to meddle with Mueller via his budget will come with political risks, according to lawmakers, several longtime congressional observers and attorneys who have worked on special counsel investigations.

Charlie Houy, the former Democratic staff director on the Senate Appropriations Committee, acknowledged “ample precedent” for Congress to try to gain some control over the spending on a special counsel probe. “However,” he added, “it would be real tricky to not be charged with trying to impede the investigation. That in itself should cause cooler heads to urge caution.”

Lawmakers who try to micromanage the probe could also be accused of messing with the justice system itself, said Randall Samborn, a Chicago-based lawyer who served as spokesman for then-U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald during the George W. Bush-era special counsel probe into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

“Could you only imagine what would happen, whether it’s this investigation or any criminal investigation conducted by DOJ or the FBI, if the Hill started getting involved in setting the budget on a per-investigation basis?” Samborn said. “You could not conduct a confidential secretive grand jury investigation and have the accountability while it’s under way being scrutinized by partisan politics. It’d be the death knell of such an investigation.”

Considering his reputation running the FBI, several sources who have worked for previous special counsels said they expect Mueller will get the leeway he needs to do his work. But Julie Myers Wood, a former lead prosecutor during Starr’s investigation, predicted the good will won’t last forever.

“If the inquiry starts to drag on, I would expect significant attacks on the cost, both in terms of direct cost to the taxpayer and also in terms of the cost of the time it is taking the executive branch to respond to his queries,” she said.

The Starr investigation — as well as the work of three other independent counsels who ran the case — remains the most expensive in U.S. history — costing more than $73 million, according to audits done by the Government Accountability Office. That single Clinton probe, which started in 1994 with an examination of the Clintons’ real estate deals in Arkansas took several unexpected turns over seven-plus years and ended up covering the suicide of White House attorney Vincent Foster, irregularities in the White House travel office, allegations of misuse of confidential FBI files, false statements by a top White House attorney and finally the president’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The investigation drew harsh political criticism for many reasons, including its spending: Over the full course of the probe it had more than 225 employees from the Justice Department and other federal agencies, including at least 65 consultants and outside advisers, according to a final report released in 2002.

While the bulk of Starr’s spending was detailed in summary format, on at least one occasion some of the embarrassing budget specifics did go public. House Democrats in 1998 released to the Los Angeles Times internal documents showing spending of $370 a month for a parking space for the independent counsel, a $32,380 bill to survey an Arkansas community where potential jurors would be seated in a trial of the state’s governor, and $30,517 for a psychological analysis of the evidence connected to Foster’s suicide.

Despite the criticism, Starr senior counsel Paul Rosenzweig said “there was never a serious effort” to strip the independent counsel’s spending. “The politics of trying to do so would be terrible optics,” he said.

Six separate investigations during the Clinton administration ran up costs of more than $140 million. President Ronald Reagan faced eight different probes, including Iran-Contra, for a total of more than $84 million, according to a POLITICO review of government audits and reports on their spending.

In all, there have been 21 completed independent counsel and special counsel investigations dating back to the Carter administration. Their total price tag: $231 million — $339 million when adjusted for inflation. Twelve of those cases concluded with no indictments.

Just two of the 21 cases ended with the successful prosecution of a federal official who was named as the primary initial target: Reagan White House aide Michael Deaver, who was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $100,000 in 1988 after being convicted on three counts of perjury stemming from a conflict-of-interest investigation; and Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, who pleaded guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor charge for lying to the FBI about payments made to his former mistress. Clinton pardoned Cisneros in January 2001, on his final day in office.

The dearth of successful convictions, King said, is one of the main reasons he said he’s raising alarm about the Mueller probe’s spending.

“Not many people on either side of the political aisle would point to one [special counsel investigation] and say it’s a satisfactory result,” King said. “They’re messy. They’re ugly. They’re not conclusive. And there’s division over them that runs in perpetuity, as long as we remember them in our history.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/26/robert-mueller-probe-budget-fight-244218

 

Have no doubt, President Trump will wind up firing Robert Mueller

I am perfectly aware of the fact that the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of President Donald J. Trump has not been completed.

No final report has been filed, and no indictments have yet been issued.

But after stating this, I have no doubt that Donald J. Trump will “do a Nixon.” By that, I mean, he will repeat what the former president did when it appeared that he would be either criminally charged or forced to leave office.

The Saturday night massacre took place when that era’s special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, was ready to take action against the incumbent president.

Nixon told then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned.

Next in line was William Ruckelshaus, Richardson’s deputy attorney general. He refused and resigned, too.

Finally, Robert Bork, who was solicitor general and next in line, assumed the position of acting attorney general and did the dirty deed.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that prosecutors have told former Trump campaign manager Paul J. Manafort that they plan to indict him. This planned indictment is based on phone taps placed on Manafort. These “intercepts” began even before Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager.

In addition, in July, federal agents with a search warrant picked the lock on the front door of Manafort’s home and seized important documents.

Obviously, Mueller means business and is acting quickly and aggressively to put pressure on those he believes can provide essential information in his investigation.

Some observers have called Mueller’s tactics “shock and awe.”

Manafort will soon be confronted with a critical personal decision. Does he continue to proclaim his innocence and say he did nothing wrong, or does he tell all and incriminate Trump and others?

Manafort, I’m quite sure, does not want to go to prison. If the evidence is overwhelming and credible, and if he believes Mueller has “the goods on him,” he undoubtedly will take the only avenue which keeps him out of prison and keeps his life from being ruined.

Subpoenas are being issued, a grand jury has been impanelled, and witnesses are being called to appear. This “wide-ranging” investigation is definitely heating up and advancing.

One major, crucial point, however:

Trump has publicly said the Mueller investigation should just focus on his campaign.

Trump said in a New York Times interview that Mueller would be “overstepping his boundaries” if he investigated anything to do with his or his family’s financial dealings that were unrelated to the campaign investigation.

That is exactly the rub.

I believe Trump knows that if Mueller goes into that area, he is in for real trouble. Not only might he have to leave office, but the embarrassing or possible criminal evidence could lead to the eventual demise of his financial well-being and empire.

Here is my central point.

Does anyone believe that, faced with such an impending doom, Trump would accept his fate? Would act differently than Nixon?

He believed Attorney General Jeff Sessions would end any investigation. When Sessions recused himself, Trump knew he didn’t have a protector. He was banking on Sessions to put an end to all his troubles.

This is the same individual who fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey had just begun his investigation. In fact, in a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump stated that he did this to relieve “great pressure.” He was referring to the Russia investigation.

Trump will not hesitate to instruct Mueller’s supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to fire Mueller. If Rosenstein refuses, as Elliot Richardson did, then Trump will go down the chain of command at the Justice Department until he finds someone who will. He will find another Robert Bork.

Donald Trump will defend this action by saying that Mueller was on a “fishing expedition” or a “witch hunt” and “overstepped his authority.”

His base will wildly support him.

The country will face a constitutional crisis.

Do you think Trump cares or would be concerned?

Trump will not go quietly — will not give in or give up.

Let us all prepare for this scenario. It is not fantasy, and it will become a brutal reality.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner. He previously worked as a political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington’s NPR affiliate, and for WTOP-FM, Washington’s all-news radio station. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/351869-have-no-doubt-president-trump-will-wind-up-firing-robert-mueller

 

Robert Mueller has draft letter Trump, Stephen Miller wrote on why Comey should be fired: Report

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, has a copy of a draft letter written by President Trump and a top White House aide detailing why he would terminate former FBI Director James Comey, according to a report.

Trump and Stephen Miller, a White House senior policy adviser, wrote the letter from Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., in May, the New York Times reported. It’s unknown what the draft letter said, but sources told the Washington Post it did not focus explicitly on the Russia probe.

The president showed top White House aides a copy of the letter during a meeting in the Oval Office on May 8, the day before Comey was fired, the Washington Post reported.

The letter was several pages and included a long list of complaints Trump had about Comey, including that he refused to say publicly he wasn’t under investigation by the FBI, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Comey ultimately said in congressional testimony he privately told Trump the FBI wasn’t investigating him as part of its probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Sources told the New York Times that White House counsel Donald McGahn took issue with parts of the letter and successfully stopped the president from sending it to Comey.

Instead, Comey was sent a different letter from Trump on May 9 that included a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That memo primarily focused on Comey’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also sent a letter to Trump, which included Rosenstein’s memo and recommended the former FBI director be terminated.

In his short letter to Comey, Trump said new leadership was needed at the FBI to restore “public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” and said he decided to fire the former director based on Sessions and Rosenstein’s recommendations.

Mueller received a copy of Trump and Miller’s drafted letter from the Justice Department in recent weeks.

Ty Cobb, a lawyer with the White House, declined to discuss the letter with the New York Times, but said, “To the extent the special prosecutor is interested in these matters, we will be fully transparent with him.”

The New York Times said the letter originally drafted by Miller and Trump may provide the best explanation for why Trump decided to fire Comey. However, it’s unknown how much of that explanation addresses the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, part of which looks into the ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/robert-mueller-has-draft-letter-trump-stephen-miller-wrote-on-why-comey-should-be-fired-report/article/2633205

 

Media Ignoring Democrats’ Scandals

Image: Media Ignoring Democrats' Scandals
Sen. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa talks to reporters as he walks to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill, on October 18, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By David Limbaugh
Friday, 20 Oct 2017 12:01 AM 

Why the collective liberal media yawn on the multi-headed Democratic scandals surfacing everywhere except on their pages and airwaves?

It’s not that the stories are too far-fetched and thin to interest self-respecting journalists, because they are real, damning and supported by sufficiently credible evidence to warrant serious attention and scrutiny.

There are the notorious Trump dossier, the Clinton-infected uranium bribery scandal and the prematurely drafted FBI memo to exonerate the most recently defeated United States presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who, by the way, is still acting like a heat-seeking missile in search of just one plausible excuse for her loss. Let’s look at these scandals in turn.

The Obama administration was clearly spying on the Trump campaign during the presidential campaign, but was it based on good-faith evidence something untoward was occurring? Separate investigations are underway in both the Senate and the House to determine whether the administration relied on the so-called “Trump dossier” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant authorizing its “wiretapping” of Trump officials.

What’s the problem with that, you ask? Well, you can’t just throw things against the FISA wall to justify suspending Americans’ privacy. The dossier is full of unsubstantiated information alleging elaborate connections between Trump and Russia — mouthwatering to Trump hunters but without calories.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a subpoena to Fusion GPS, the opposition research company behind the dossier, which was authored by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Fusion GPS’ attorneys asserted “constitutional privileges” on behalf of the company’s executives in refusing to deliver the subpoenaed documents. Swell.

The Daily Caller reports that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley raised several “alarming” questions in an Oct. 4 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Did the FBI present dubious information from the dossier to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain the warrant? If so, this would be a “staggering” revelation, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova — “a type of manipulation of intelligence data and false intelligence data to mislead a court” that could require “the empanelment of a federal grand jury.”

Grassley also asked whether Steele used the same information from the dossier in his report to British intelligence. Grassley is rightly concerned that the British report, though allegedly based on the same bogus information as the dossier, might have been fraudulently presented as independent corroboration of the dossier. So far, the FBI hasn’t responded to three letters from Grassley seeking explanations for these anomalies.

Next, while the liberal media and the Democratic establishment shamelessly collude to find some scintilla of collusion between Trump and Russia to tamper with the presidential election, they’ve studiously avoided reporting on potentially real evidence of collusion between American officials and Russia. We’ve long heard allegations that the Clintons colluded with the Russians to enrich themselves at the expense of America’s national security. But new evidence has emerged that may give this story some real teeth. The Hill’s John Solomon and Alison Spann and Circa News reporter Sara Carter revealed that the FBI has acquired numerous documents, secret recordings, emails, financial records and eyewitness accounts allegedly proving that Russian nuclear officials caused millions of dollars to be paid to the Clinton Foundation and hundreds of thousands to be paid to Bill Clinton directly when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The State Department then approved the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium supply to Russia.

The Hill reports that the Obama administration was aware of these sordid transactions before it approved the deal to sell the uranium to the Russians in 2010: “The FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear 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.” All kinds of other evidence was obtained showing Russian officials had “routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation” while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But instead of bringing charges, the Obama Justice Department continued investigating — while the administration gave away our nuclear farm.

Even in the unlikely event that there is some less-than-incriminating explanation for all this, who can deny this is real collusion that resulted in dire consequences for our national security? Yet nary a peep elsewhere out of the liberal media. It seems they’re only interested in false allegations of Russian collusion that involves Republicans — not in real collusion that involves the Democratic royal family, the Clintons.

Finally, for now, based on FBI documents, we know that former FBI Director James Comey began penning draft statements exonerating then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing in the use of her personal email servers to host and transmit classified information before Comey had interviewed almost a dozen major witnesses, including Clinton herself. This is hardly a case of no harm, no foul, because in his announcement declining to bring charges, Comey declared that Clinton was guilty of egregious misconduct. He only declined to prosecute because he said the relevant criminal statute requires proof of criminal intent, which it manifestly does not and which exists anyway. Adding insult to injury, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is publicly defending Comey’s disgraceful act of prejudgment in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Liberals are frustrated that Donald Trump is in charge of their coveted executive branch and that their efforts to discredit, incriminate and impeach him for alleged Russian collusion are in free fall. Now they’re pursuing plan B: Trump is too crazy to occupy the office. Democrats know a good offense is the best defense and the best diversion against evidence of Russian collusion — actual tangible proof of wrongdoing rather than partisan fabrication. Republicans need to pursue this reality as fervently as Democrats pursued their slanderous unreality.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author, and attorney. His latest book is, “The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament.” Read more reports from David Limbaugh — Click Here Now.

https://www.newsmax.com/Limbaugh/trump-clinton-fbi-russian/2017/10/19/id/820919/

One Big Obama Super-Scandal: Uranium One, GPS Fusion, Mueller Scandals, JFK, Plus Flake

These are great days. Finally there are substantial reasons to believe that the decades long lies and generations long treacheries will be exposed and democracy restored. The truth must be uncovered if America is ever to be great again. President Donald J. Trump is responsible for this stunning book of revelations about to be written.

Don’t think for a second, not even a nano-second, that the opponents of President Trump do not understand the fate that awaits them as President Trump successfully peels away at the onion of the hitherto protected lies. Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Don Lemon, Big Media, Islamic terrorists and their supporters, the Obama Dimocrats, the whole long line of Trump haters understand their days are numbered in days short of years.

More glorious for supporters of President Trump is that we can now see the contours of the opposition. Those contours are clear as the chalk tracing police outline around the carcasses of dead gangsters. Today there was major breaking news about Fusion GPS. Tomorrow and in days to come there will be more revelations.

* * * * * *The JFK Document Release

Ignore the JFK assassination conspiracy theories. The October 26 release of documents related to the Kennedy assassination in 1963 are an important moment in our current history and the book of revelations to come.

Recall that for many months after the inauguration of President Trump the F.B.I. and intelligence agencies such as the C.I.A. trashed the new duly elected president in a slew of leaks intended to remove President Trump from office. The leaks and manipulations from NeverTrump neocons alongside Obama Dimocrats utilized a fake “Russia collusion” and “saint Comey” line of prosecution and eventually led to obaminations such as the appointment of deep state stooges and cronies to run the Department of Justice and Mueller – the especially corrupt prosecutor.

The attempts by the deep state and Big Media to remove President Trump from office in the first several months failed. Soon thereafter, after the opposition to the duly elected president realized that President Trump would remain in office, the gears shifted. Politico, led the stenography squad to herald the shift in tactics.

After the realization struck that President Trump would remain president for his full term, the deep state and its stenographers began a campaign to save themselves. The immediate problem was the release of thousands of documents related to the JFK assassination.

For decades Americans have been fascinated by the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and a document release on the assassination would reflect badly on the intelligence agencies and investigatory powers. For example, the security apparatus either knew about Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of the president, or they did not – both of which pose troublesome questions for the security forces and the intelligence community.

Consider, Oswald was a former Marine with knowledge of American radar systems, who at the height of the cold war traveled to the Soviet Union in an era in which travel was much more difficult, renounced his American citizenship to U.S. officials and declared to the U.S. officials in Moscow he had important military information to give to the Soviet Union. In some newspapers the Oswald defection to the Soviet Union was front page news on October 1959. Then, after living in the Soviet Union Lee Oswald decides to return to the United States! Either the intelligence/security services kept track of Oswald or they did not. If they did track Oswald, why didn’t they know what he was up to? If they did not keep track of Oswald, why didn’t they. It’s a no win series of explanations that the security services and intelligence apparatus would have to explain if all the documents related to the JFK assassination were published.

Enter Politico. In an article Politico declared that release of all the JFK documents would be a disaster because the American people would be confused, the poor darlin’s… it was all too confusing and people would raise questions, ‘so please, please, President Trump keep the documents and the truth away from the American people until the experts can digest the information and release it after it is properly prepared, if ever’. Think we exaggerate? Read the Politico mess:

As it stands now, the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents—tens of thousands in total—that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once—all on the same day—sometime between now and the deadline on October 26. [snip]

With everything made public at once, pandemonium is all but guaranteed, since major news organizations around the world will want to know, almost instantly, what is in the documents that is new and potentially important. And there will simply be no way for historians and other researchers, even those with a special knowledge of the Kennedy assassination, to make any authoritative judgment as they try to page through tens of thousands of pages of files all at once.

Four days later, the campaign to keep the JFK documents secret reached a level of comedy when Politicopublished yet another article so deranged and so debased, it can only be termed “retarded”:

Trump administration and other government officials say privately that President Donald Trump is almost certain to block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are scheduled to be made public in less than a week by the National Archives. [snip]

A congressional official who has been closely monitoring the issue, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump had been under pressure from the CIA to block the release of some of the assassination documents on national security grounds, possibly to protect CIA tradecraft and the identity of agency informants who might still be alive.

Any observer with a lick of sense would ask themselves in response to the stupid Politico article, “why would President Trump seek to deny Americans information and protect the very agencies that have sought his destruction by shielding them from being exposed as either corrupt or liars in documents decades old?” The answer to this obvious question came from President Trump in a Tweet that declared he would not stop the release of the JFK documents.

President Trump will not block Americans from reading source documents about the JFK assassination. The truth will be revealed to all. The deep state, the octopus, the Swamp, took on President Trump and now they will be defeated. This is all part of one big Obama SuperScandal.

Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Resigned To Their Fates

It’s a great day today. On Tuesday, as President Trump prepared to go to the Capitol to organize the corrupt GOP in an effort to reform the American tax system, the miserable Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee attacked. In a series of vicious interviews Corker denounced the president and called him a liar and mentally unstable.

Soon thereafter, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona addressed the U.S. Senate. Flake lived up to his name with his own deranged attack against President Trump. Immediately, Senator John McCain praised Flake in the same manner as Senator Mitch McConnell.

The beauty of these attacks is that they come from the defeated. It’s a great day today. Senator Flake spoke to the Senate today to announce he will not run for reelection without reflecting on the fact he is loathed in Arizona. Bob Corker previously announced he will not run for reelection. Both announced they will not run for reelection because they could not win reelection, not with the growing determinative strength of President Trump in the party he took over.

All of these Trump haters, Flake-McCain-McConnell-Corker, are all dinosaurs who’s time has long passed. The moment Donald Trump became the nominee they were obsolete. The moment Donald Trump became President Trump, their days were numbered.

All of these defeated Senators have long been part of the deep state that has sought to control Americans, instead of protecting America. Corker was a co-conspirator with Barack Obama on the treacherous Iran deal supported by the deep state and other enemies of American democracy. Jeff Flake like McCain and McConnell support illegal immigration and any war at any time along with what they term “free trade” no matter now unfair and harmful that trade is.

They’re all gone. President Trump has removed them. Their allies are next. The Obama SuperScandal too will be exposed and the perpetrators removed.

Uranium One

The Uranium One scandal is one tentacle of the Obama SuperScandal. Many assume that this is a Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton scandal. If only that were so. Uranium One is part of the Obama SuperScandal which leads to many of the other related scandals.

In April 2015 we wrote, Uranium One: Hard Truths About The Radioactive Problem of #Hillary2016. In that article we derided the Uranium One issue as damaging to Hillary2016. Hillary Clinton had much bigger problems. We were right of course. Uranium One did not matter in the general election to come.

However, this October 2017, Uranium One matters, bigly. We warn everyone however, this is not a Hillary and Bill scandal. This Uranium One story is bigger than just Hillary and Bill. Like the JFK papers release, much much more will be revealed than just money grubbing.

Russia, Uranium One, Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Fusion GPS, The Deep State, The Octopus

Watch all these stories merge into one giant Obama SuperScandal.

Mueller

Especially corrupt Mueller has a lot to explain regarding his staff recruits. The especially corrupt prosecutor has lots more to explain:

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe

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

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

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

Especially corrupt prosecutor Mueller must be prosecuted for his complicity and corruptions, especially now that we know Mueller hand delivered uranium to America’s enemies.

F.B.I., Hillary Clinton, Russia, Mueller, Fusion GPS, Uranium One

The Fusion GPS scandal we termed “Apocalypse Now”. A late breaking development is that now we begin to know some of what went on there regarding finances. President Trump has asked “who paid for it?” in relation to the Fusion GPS “pee dossier”. It has been declared that the F.B.I. at one point paid Fusion GPS for further information. Now we know who paid for the dossier the F.B.I. relied on to obtain FISA warrants and to attempt to smear President Trump:

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. [snip]

Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC through the law firm continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

F.B.I. Director James Comey tried to blackmail and intimidate President Trump with the phony dossier. John McCain pushed the lies to the F.B.I. and other outlets. Buzzfeed unwittingly helped President Trump when they published the dossier and people laughed that anyone could believe such drivel. And it appears that it was the Bush family that first paid for the dossier. The chain of custody, so to speak, is the Jeb! Bush campaign, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the F.B.I. Those last three initials should clue everyone onto the Obama SuperScandal.

Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?

Not only did Hillary2016 push the Fusion GPS lies via the Russians. There were other connections we now know between the Russians and Hillary2016:

FBI watched, then acted as Russian spy moved closer to Hillary Clinton

As Hillary Clinton was beginning her job as President Obama’s chief diplomat, federal agents observed as multiple arms of Vladimir Putin’s machine unleashed an influence campaign designed to win access to the new secretary of State, her husband Bill Clinton and members of their inner circle, according to interviews and once-sealed FBI records.

Some of the activities FBI agents gathered evidence about in 2009 and 2010 were covert and illegal. [snip]

At the time it was hired, the firm was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in pro bono support to Bill Clinton’s global charitable initiative, and it legally helped the Russian company secure federal decisions that led to billions in new U.S. commercial nuclear business, records show.

Agents were surprised by the timing and size of a $500,000 check that a Kremlin-linked bank provided Bill Clinton with for a single speech in the summer of 2010. [snip]

A day after the arrests of the sleeper ring, another event captured the FBI’s attention.

Thousands of miles away in Russia, former President Bill Clinton collected a $500,000 check for giving a 90-minute speech to Renaissance Capital, a Kremlin-connected bank, and then he scored a meeting with Putin himself.

The check caught the attention of FBI agents, especially with Hillary Clinton having recently returned from meetings in Russia, and her department working on a variety of issues where Moscow had an interest, records show.

One issue was American approval of the Russian nuclear company Rosatom’s purchase of a Canadian company called Uranium One that controlled 20 percent of America’s strategic uranium reserves. State was one of more than a dozen federal agencies that needed to weigh in, and a Clinton deputy was handling the matter.

The second issue was the Russian company TENEX’s desire to score a new raft of commercial nuclear sales to U.S. companies. TENEX for years was selling uranium recycled from old Soviet warheads to the United States. But that deal was coming to an end and now it needed a new U.S. market for its traditional uranium

And the third was a promise Secretary Clinton herself made to Russian leaders to round up support in America’s Silicon Valley for then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s dream for a new high-tech hub outside Moscow known as Skolkovo. [snip]

The bank that paid Clinton was promoting the Uranium One deal’s stock.

We disagree with the otherwise excellent article by Daniel Greenfield From Russia to Hillary: Bribes, Extortion, Uranium and Lies – How an FBI Uranium investigation was corrupted to protect the Clinton’s Russian connection. Greenfield gets it entirely upside down. Hillary Clinton is not the central figure in this scandal. It is the F.B.I. and the intelligence and security apparatus which seeks to run our lives and ruin our democracy.

Investigations, Investigations

We have repeatedly requested lots and lots of special prosecutors be appointed to investigate. Thus far the corrupt Department of Justice, the corrupt F.B.I, the corrupt intelligence services, the corrupt security apparatus, have managed the massive scandal well enough to keep special prosecutors from being appointed. But even here there is some good news:

Congress Probes Whether Obama DOJ Used The ‘Trump Dossier’ Before Surveillance Court

Both the House and the Senate are investigating whether the former President Barack Obama’s administration used intelligence in a salacious “Trump Dossier” as “evidence” before a secret federal surveillance court to obtain permission to spy on Donald Trump campaign aides and later his transition team. [snip]

The FBI used the dossier to secure permission to monitor the communications of Trump associate Carter Page, based on U.S. officials briefed on the Russia investigation, CNN reported in April. [snip]

The presentation of evidence before the special surveillance court would have been FBI-generated documents delivered by Obama Justice Department attorneys, according to a congressional source familiar with evidence requirements before the court. At the time, FBI Director James Comey presided over the bureau and Attorney General Loretta Lynch oversaw the Justice Department. [snip]

That would mean the Obama administration pursued “a type of manipulation of intelligence data and false intelligence data to mislead a court,” diGenova said. “It’s staggering in terms of its implications.”

The possibility the Obama administration might use the unproven allegations before a FISA court “constitutes a crime of unbelievable dimensions,” he said, adding: “It requires the empanelment of a federal grand jury.”

Grassley added a new twist to the “Steele” dossier, noting in his letter to Wray it appeared the former British agent also gave his same set of allegations to his compatriots in British intelligence. United Kingdom court legal proceedings appended to Grassley’s letter show Steele on Dec. 13, 2016 gave the same dossier to a “senior UK government national security official.”

Senator Grassley correctly notes that if the dossier was given by the F.B.I. to the British intelligence services and then British intelligence gave it to the F.B.I. the FISA court could have been deceived if the F.B.I. sought warrants based on the British intelligence reports without disclosing to the court that the source was the F.B.I.

There is a reason why the “Russia” investigations now have a new “tone” about them. The anti-Trump persecutions are rapidly falling apart.

The anti-Trump investigations are falling apart because it is clear that Barack Obama and the intelligence/security agencies colluded to hide crimes.

The New Russia Investigations

Having failed to destroy President Trump, the F.B.I. deep state security intelligence octopus will now face investigations:

Now Democrats have a Russia problem

NBC reports that Tony Podesta (the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta) and his firm are the subjects of a criminal investigation by the special prosecutor.

And this comes amid new reports that the FBI gathered evidence for two years as Russian agents — including a major sleeper cell — worked to gain access to then-Secretary of State Clinton, husband Bill and members of their inner circle. [snip]

All this, of course, follows reports the Obama administration knew Russia was engaged in a campaign of bribery and extortion — yet allowed a deal to go through giving Moscow control of one-fifth of America’s uranium.

Yes, there’s something to investigate here.

The Octopus

President Donald J. Trump is under attack by the deep state Swamp comprised of Obama Dimocrats, the intelligence apparatus, the Department of Justice, and all those who were supposed to be guardians of our democracy, not unelected dictators who rule over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The scandals are not about Hillary Clinton, uranium, urine soaked dossiers, money, nor emails. The scandals are but the tips of the iceberg we can see. The danger is deeper, beneath the waters:

Here’s the kicker: The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.

It’s bigger and deeper than what we see:

It’s finally dawning on people: The Russian nuclear racketeering was an Obama administration scandal, which Congress ignored and the Justice Department investigated but did nothing to stop. Justice looked into the Russian crimes in 2009 and 2010, but waited until 2014 to do anything about it. And even then, it didn’t answer any of the larger questions. It can’t be ignored any longer.

So why didn’t the Department of Justice and the security/intelligence overlords who monitor Americans and try to carve history as they want it to be do anything? That’s foolish to ask. The Octopus that swims in the deep state Swamp did exactly what it wanted to do. Their problem is that Trump beat them all.

The fight is not yet over. President Trump is bidding his time. There will be at least three earthquakes about to be unleashed by President Trump. Those who worry about why things are not being exposed as quickly as we want must wait for the earthquakes. The first thirteen days of October were important. The last few months of 2017 will be epic.

The fight is not yet over. But the Octopus of the deep state will soon find they are up against a man who fights.

http://www.hillaryis44.org/2017/10/24/one-big-obama-super-scandal-uranium-one-gps-fusion-mueller-scandals-jfk-plus-flake/

The Obama Administration’s Uranium One Scandal

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY October 21, 2017 4:00 AM

@ANDREWCMCCARTHY Not only the Clintons are implicated in a uranium deal with the Russians that compromised national-security interests.

Let’s put the Uranium One scandal in perspective: The cool half-million bucks the Putin regime funneled to Bill Clinton was five times the amount it spent on those Facebook ads — the ones the media-Democrat complex ludicrously suggests swung the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.

The Facebook-ad buy, which started in June 2015 — before Donald Trump entered the race — was more left-wing agitprop (ads pushing hysteria on racism, immigration, guns, etc.) than electioneering. The Clintons’ own long-time political strategist Mark Penn estimates that just $6,500 went to actual electioneering. (You read that right: 65 hundred dollars.) By contrast, the staggering $500,000 payday from a Kremlin-tied Russian bank for a single speech was part of a multi-million-dollar influence-peddling scheme to enrich the former president and his wife, then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton. At the time, Russia was plotting — successfully — to secure U.S. government approval for its acquisition of Uranium One, and with it, tens of billions of dollars in U.S. uranium reserves.

Here’s the kicker: The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.

The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their “public service.” The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. Worse, at the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

 

The Obama administration also knew that congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer. Consequently, the Justice Department concealed what it knew. DOJ allowed the racketeering enterprise to continue compromising the American uranium industry rather than commencing a prosecution that would have scotched the transfer. Prosecutors waited four years before quietly pleading the case out for a song, in violation of Justice Department charging guidelines. Meanwhile, the administration stonewalled Congress, reportedly threatening an informant who wanted to go public.

Obama’s ‘Reset’

To understand what happened here, we need to go back to the beginning.

The first-tier military arsenal of Putin’s Russia belies its status as a third-rate economic power. For well over a decade, the regime has thus sought to develop and exploit its capacity as a nuclear-energy producer. Naïvely viewing Russia as a “strategic partner” rather than a malevolent competitor, the Bush administration made a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the Kremlin in May 2008. That blunder, however, was tabled before Congress could consider it. That is because Russia, being Russia, invaded Georgia.

In 2009, notwithstanding this aggression (which continues to this day with Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton signaled the new administration’s determination to “reset” relations with Moscow. In this reset, renewed cooperation and commerce in nuclear energy would be central.

There had been such cooperation and commerce since the Soviet Union imploded. In 1992, the administration of President George H. W. Bush agreed with the nascent Russian federation that U.S. nuclear providers would be permitted to purchase uranium from Russia’s disassembled nuclear warheads (after it had been down-blended from its highly enriched weapons-grade level). The Russian commercial agent responsible for the sale and transportation of this uranium to the U.S. is the Kremlin-controlled company “Tenex” (formally, JSC Techsnabexport). Tenex is a subsidiary of Rosatom.

Tenex (and by extension, Rosatom) have an American arm called “Tenam USA.” Tenam is based in Bethesda, Md. Around the time President Obama came to power, the Russian official in charge of Tenam was Vadim Mikerin.

The Obama administration reportedly issued a visa for Mikerin in 2010, but a racketeering investigation led by the FBI determined that he was already operating here in 2009.

The Racketeering Scheme

As Tenam’s general director, Mikerin was responsible for arranging and managing Rosatom/Tenex’s contracts with American uranium purchasers. This gave him tremendous leverage over the U.S. companies. With the assistance of several confederates, Mikerin used this leverage to extort and defraud the U.S. contractors into paying inflated prices for uranium. They then laundered the proceeds through shell companies and secret bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Seychelle Islands — though sometimes transactions were handled in cash, with the skim divided into envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.

The inflated payments served two purposes: They enriched Kremlin-connected energy officials in the U.S. and in Russia to the tune of millions of dollars; and they compromised the American companies that paid the bribes, rendering players in U.S. nuclear energy — a sector critical to national security — vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

But Mikerin had a problem. To further the Kremlin’s push for nuclear-energy expansion, he had been seeking to retain a lobbyist — from whom he planned to extort kickbacks, just as he did with the U.S. energy companies. With the help of an associate connected to Russian organized-crime groups, Mikerin found his lobbyist. The man’s name has not been disclosed, but we know he is now represented by Victoria Toensing, a well-respected Washington lawyer, formerly a federal prosecutor and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

When Mikerin solicited him in 2009, the lobbyist was uncomfortable, worried that the proposal would land him on the wrong side of the law. So he contacted the FBI and revealed what he knew. From then on, the Bureau and Justice Department permitted him to participate in the Russian racketeering scheme as a “confidential source” — and he is thus known as “CS-1” in affidavits the government, years later, presented to federal court in order to obtain search and arrest warrants.

At the time this unidentified man became an informant, the FBI was led by director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel investigating whether Trump colluded with Russia. The investigation was centered in Maryland (Tenam’s home base). There, the U.S. attorney was Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein — now President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and the man who appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump.

Because of CS-1, the FBI was able to understand and monitor the racketeering enterprise almost from the start. By mid-May 2010, it could already prove the scheme and three separate extortionate payments Mikerin had squeezed out of the informant. Equally important: According to reporting by John Solomon and Alison Spann in the Hill, the informant learned through conversations with Mikerin and others that Russian nuclear officials were trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons.

Uranium One, Russia, and the Clintons

There is no doubt that this extraordinarily gainful ingratiation took place. I outlined some of it a year ago in suggesting that the Justice Department should be investigating the Clinton Foundation, and its exploitation of Hillary Clinton’s influence as secretary of state, as a potential racketeering case.

In 2005, former President Clinton helped his Canadian billionaire friend and benefactor, Frank Giustra, obtain coveted uranium-mining rights from Kazakhstan’s dictator. The Kazakh deal enabled Giustra’s company (Ur-Asia Energy) to merge into Uranium One (a South African company), a $3.5 billion windfall. Giustra and his partners thereafter contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Besides the valuable Kazakh reserves, Uranium One also controlled about a fifth of the uranium stock in the United States.

Alas, Putin, the neighborhood bully, also wanted the Kazakh uranium. He leaned on Kazakhstan’s dictator, who promptly arrested the official responsible for selling the uranium-mining rights to Giustra’s company. This put Uranium One’s stake in jeopardy of being seized by the Kazakh government.

As Uranium One’s stock plunged, its panicked executives turned to the State Department, where their friend Hillary Clinton was now in charge. State sprung into action, convening emergency meetings with the Kazakh regime. A few days later, it was announced that the crisis was resolved (translation: the shakedown was complete). Russia’s energy giant, Rosatom, would purchase 17 percent of Uranium One, and the Kazakh threat would disappear — and with it, the threat to the value of the Clinton donors’ holdings.

For Putin, though, that was just a start. He didn’t want a minority stake in Uranium One, he wanted control of the uranium. For that, Rosatom would need a controlling interest in Uranium One. That would be a tall order — not because of the Kazakh mining rights but because acquisition of Uranium One’s American reserves required U.S. government approval.

Uranium is foundational to nuclear power and thus to American national security. As the New York Times explained in a report on the disturbing interplay between the Clinton Foundation and the transfer of American uranium assets to Russia, the United States gets a fifth of its electrical power from nuclear energy, but only produces a fifth of the uranium it needs. Consequently, a foreign entity would not be able to acquire rights to American uranium without the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

CFIUS is composed of the leaders of 14 U.S. government agencies involved in national security and commerce. In 2010, these included not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had cultivated a reputation as a hawk opposed to such foreign purchases, but Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department (and its lead agency, the FBI) were conducting the investigation of Rosatom’s ongoing U.S. racketeering, extortion, and money-laundering scheme.

In March 2010, to push the Obama “reset” agenda, Secretary Clinton traveled to Russia, where she met with Putin and Dimitri Medvedev, who was then keeping the president’s chair warm for Putin. Soon after, it emerged that Renaissance Capital, a regime-tied Russian bank, had offered Bill Clinton $500,000 to make a single speech — far more than the former president’s usual haul in what would become one of his biggest paydays ever. Renaissance was an aggressive promoter of Rosatom. The Clinton speech took place in Moscow in June. The exorbitant speech fee, it is worth noting, is a pittance compared with the $145 million Newsweek reports was donated to the Clinton Foundation by sources linked to the Uranium One deal.

The month before the speech, the Hill reports, Bill Clinton told his wife’s State Department that he wanted to meet while in Russia with Arkady Dvorkovich, who, in addition to being a top Medvedev aide, was also a key Rosatom board member. It is not known whether the State Department gave clearance for the meeting; the question appears to have become moot since the former U.S. president met directly with Putin and Medvedev. You’ll be comforted, I’m sure, to learn that aides to the Clintons, those pillars of integrity, assure us that the topics of Rosatom and Uranium One never came up.

Keeping Congress in the Dark

Meanwhile, congressional opposition to Russia’s potential acquisition of American uranium resources began to stir. As Peter Schweizer noted in his essential book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, four senior House members steeped in national-security issues — Peter King (R., N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Spencer Bachus (R., Ala.), and Howard McKeon (R. Calif.) — voiced grave concerns, pointing out that Rosatom had helped Iran, America’s sworn enemy, build its Bushehr nuclear reactor. The members concluded that “the take-over of essential US nuclear resources by a government-owned Russian agency . . . would not advance the national security interests of the United States.” Republican senator John Barrasso objected to Kremlin control of uranium assets in his state of Wyoming, warning of Russia’s “disturbing record of supporting nuclear programs in countries that are openly hostile to the United States, specifically Iran and Venezuela.” The House began moving a bill “expressing disfavor of the Congress” regarding Obama’s revival of the nuclear-cooperation agreement Bush had abandoned.

Clearly, in this atmosphere, disclosure of the racketeering enterprise that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was, at that very moment, carrying out would have been the death knell of the asset transfer to Russia. It would also likely have ended the “reset” initiative in which Obama and Clinton were deeply invested — an agenda that contemplated Kremlin-friendly deals on nuclear-arms control and accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran. That was not going to be allowed to happen. It appears that no disclosure of Russia’s racketeering and strong-arming was made to CFIUS or to Congress — not by Secretary Clinton, not by Attorney General Holder, and certainly not by President Obama. In October 2010, CFIUS gave its blessing to Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One.

A Sweetheart Plea Helps the Case Disappear

Even though the FBI had an informant collecting damning information, and had a prosecutable case against Mikerin by early 2010, the extortion racket against American energy companies was permitted to continue into the summer of 2014. It was only then that, finally, Mikerin and his confederates were arrested.

Why then? This is not rocket science. In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Putin also began massing forces on the Ukrainian border, coordinating and conducting attacks, ultimately taking control of territory. Clearly, the pie-in-the-sky Obama reset was dead. Furthermore, the prosecution of Mikerin’s racketeering scheme had been so delayed that the Justice Department risked losing the ability to charge the 2009 felonies because of the five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes.

Still, a lid needed to be kept on the case. It would have made for an epic Obama administration scandal, and a body blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes, if in the midst of Russia’s 2014 aggression, public attention had been drawn to the failure, four years earlier, to prosecute a national-security case in order to protect Russia’s takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

The Obama administration needed to make this case go away — without a public trial if at all possible.

Think about this: The investigation of Russian racketeering in the American energy sector was the kind of spectacular success over which the FBI and Justice Department typically do a bells-n-whistles victory lap — the big self-congratulatory press conference followed by the media-intensive prosecutions . . . and, of course, more press conferences.

Here . . . crickets.

As the Hill reports, the Justice Department and FBI had little to say when Mikerin and his co-conspirators were arrested. They quietly negotiated guilty pleas that were announced with no fanfare just before Labor Day. It was arranged that Mikerin would be sentenced just before Christmas. All under the radar.

How desperate was the Obama Justice Department to plead the case out? Here, Rosenstein and Holder will have some explaining to do.

Mikerin was arrested on a complaint describing a racketeering scheme that stretched back to 2004 and included extortion, fraud, and money laundering. Yet he was permitted to plead guilty to a single count of money-laundering conspiracy.

Except it was not really money-laundering conspiracy.

Under federal law, that crime (at section 1956 of the penal code) carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment — not only for conspiracy but for each act of money laundering. But Mikerin was not made to plead guilty to this charge. He was permitted to plead guilty to an offense charged under the catch-all federal conspiracy provision (section 371) that criminalizes agreements to commit any crime against the United States. Section 371 prescribes a sentence of zero to five years’ imprisonment.

The Justice Department instructs prosecutors that when Congress has given a federal offense its own conspiracy provision with a heightened punishment (as it has for money laundering, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and other serious crimes), they may not charge a section 371 conspiracy. Section 371 is for less serious conspiracy cases. Using it for money laundering — which caps the sentence way below Congress’s intent for that behavior — subverts federal law and signals to the court that the prosecutor does not regard the offense as major.

Yet, that is exactly what Rosenstein’s office did, in a plea agreement his prosecutors co-signed with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section. (See in the Hill’s report, the third document embedded at the bottom, titled “Mikerin Plea Deal.”) No RICO, no extortion, no fraud — and the plea agreement is careful not to mention any of the extortions in 2009 and 2010, before CFIUS approved Rosatom’s acquisition of U.S. uranium stock. Mikerin just had to plead guilty to a nominal “money laundering” conspiracy charge. This insulated him from a real money-laundering sentence. Thus, he got a term of just four years’ incarceration for a major national-security crime — which, of course, is why he took the plea deal and waived his right to appeal, sparing the Obama administration a full public airing of the facts.

Interestingly, as the plea agreement shows, the Obama DOJ’s Fraud Section was then run by Andrew Weissmann, who is now one of the top prosecutors in Robert Mueller’s ongoing special-counsel investigation of suspected Trump collusion with Russia.

There was still one other problem to tamp down. That was the informant — the lobbyist who alerted the FBI to the Russian racketeering enterprise back in 2009. He wanted to talk.

Specifically, as his attorney, Ms. Toensing, explains, the informant wanted to tell Congress what he knows — about what the FBI and the Justice Department could already have proved in 2010 when CFIUS signed off on Russia’s acquisition of American nuclear material, and about what he’d learned of Russian efforts to curry favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton. But he was not allowed to talk.

It turns out, the lawyer explains, that the FBI had induced him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Justice Department warned him that it was enforceable — even against disclosures to Congress. (Because, you know, the FBI is opposed to all leaks and disclosures of confidential investigative information . . . except those initiated by the FBI, of course.) In addition, when the informant was primed to file a federal civil lawsuit to recover his own losses from the scheme, he claims that the Justice Department threatened him with prosecution, warning that a lawsuit would violate the non-disclosure agreement. The Hill reports that it has obtained emails from a civil lawyer retained by the witness, which describe pressure exerted by the Justice Department to silence the informant.

What a coincidence: That was in 2016, the stretch run of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

This stinks.

READ MORE:     Hilary Clinton and Russian Uranium     New Russian Nuclear Scandal and the Clinton Foundation     Obama’s Many Scandals —

Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/452972/uranium-one-deal-obama-administration-doj-hillary-clinton-racketeering

Trump says Russian uranium deal Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving was ‘underhanded’ as he labels the scandal ‘Watergate modern age’

  • Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of the uranium deal
  • Russian company at the center of the charges was reportedly under federal investigation at the time
  • Senate Judiciary Committee is also looking into the Russian uranium deal that Hillary Clinton signed off on as secretary of state
  • Companies associated with it donated to the Clinton Foundation and paid her husband Bill Clinton to speak
  • President Donald Trump subsequently pushed a claim that ‘Russia sent millions to Clinton Foundation’ to his massive social media following
  • Said Thursday that ‘the way it was done, so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I actually think that’s Watergate modern age’
  • Trump spoke to reporters as he prepared to board Marine One at the White House ahead of a trip to Texas
  • The House wants to know whether there was an FBI probe, if so, why Congress was not notified and the name of the informant under gag order

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Obama-era uranium deal that Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving is the biggest political scandal in modern history.

‘Well I think the uranium sale to Russia, and the way it was done, so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I actually think that’s Watergate modern age,’ Trump told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One.

Watergate brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency. The Republican leader resigned in disgrace before his second term in office was over.

Clinton was secretary of state to Democrat Barack Obama when the uranium deal went through that Trump was referring to. She sat on the federal committee that provided authorization.

Three committees with investigatory power have said in the last week that they are probing the sale along with claims that it came alongside a kickback to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton has called the charge ‘baloney.’

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Obama-era uranium deal that Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving is the biggest political scandal in modern history

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Obama-era uranium deal that Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving is the biggest political scandal in modern history

Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of the uranium deal that the Obama administration green-lit while an entity at the center of the charges was reportedly under federal investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee also has a probe going.

Devin Nunes, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said his investigation will seek to determine whether there was an FBI probe in progress at the time of the deal, and, if so, why Congress was not notified.

‘We’re not going to jump to any conclusions at this time,’ he said in a Capitol Hill press conference.

That investigation will be jointly conducted by the House Intel and Oversight Committees.

A separate investigation in the House that was announced this week will look at the Department of Justice’s handling of Hillary Clinton‘s email probe. It will be operated by the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

The White House said Tuesday afternoon that the probes were a ‘move in the right direction.’

Press secretary Sarah Sanders noted at her daily briefing that the White House has said many times ‘that if there’s any collusion whatsoever during the campaigns of any point, or any collusion at any point with another country, that they should look at the Clintons.’

‘And so I think that’s the right thing,’ she commented.

Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of a uranium deal that the Obama administration approved while company at the center of the charges was reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice, Devin Nunes, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday 

Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of a uranium deal that the Obama administration approved while company at the center of the charges was reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice, Devin Nunes, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday

Both chambers of Congress are sniffing around the uranium deal that President Donald Trump has tried to handcuff to Clinton.

A separate investigation in the House lead by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy will look at the Department of Justice's handling of Hillary Clinton 's email probe. It will be operated by the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee

A separate investigation in the House lead by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy will look at the Department of Justice’s handling of Hillary Clinton ‘s email probe. It will be operated by the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee raised the issue with the Justice Department last week.

That panel is also making inquiries into former FBI Director James Comey’s move to draft a statement on Clinton’s email case before she was interviewed by investigators.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Tuesday that they, too, would formally investigate the case that ended without prosecution.

‘The law is the most equalizing force in this country. No entity or individual is exempt from oversight,’ the Republican lawmakers said in a statement.

Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking member on House Intel, argued Tuesday that the probes were completely partisan and totally unhelpful.

‘Acting on the urging of the President who has repeatedly denied the intelligence agencies’ conclusions regarding Russian involvement in our election, they are designed to distract attention and pursue the President’s preferred goal – attacking Clinton and Obama,’ the California Democrat said.

‘This may be good politics, but it is a disservice to the far more important cause of investigating Russian interference in our democracy and protecting our elections in 2018 and beyond from outside influence,’ Schiff said.,

The House investigation into the Uranium One deal will spearheaded by New York Republican Peter King, chairman of a subcommittee on emerging threats, and Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, chairman of a subcommittee on national security.

King was the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee when the Obama administration green-lit the deal. He questioned it then, and he still does now.

He said at a press conference announcing House probe that he wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the time and was told that the deal was receiving ‘full scrutiny.’

‘It’s important that we find out why that deal went through and certainly in view of recent allegations that have been made or recent questions that have been raised, it’s essential that this investigation, this inquiry, move forward,’ King stated, referring to Clinton in the abstract.

Ron DeSantis said, ‘We do have a witness who is a confidential informant who wants to talk about his role in this, and we’re in contact with the Justice Department to release him from a nondisclosure agreement.

‘If that doesn’t work out in a timely fashion, then we obviously would be able to subpoena him.’

Hillary Clinton was secretary of state the time of the deal. She has been accused by President Trump and others of turning it into a quid pro quo opportunity for her family foundation. She said Monday that the charge is 'baloney' during an interview

Hillary Clinton was secretary of state the time of the deal. She has been accused by President Trump and others of turning it into a quid pro quo opportunity for her family foundation. She said Monday that the charge is ‘baloney’ during an interview

Nunes said the House Intel Committee has been looking into the issue for some times now.

‘I think, as Mr. DeSantis stated, there is a concern over the nondisclosure agreement,’ Nunes said. ‘We don’t think that is a concern. We think that any American, if they have information, even if it’s top secret, at the top secret level, they can come to the House Intelligence Committee and provide that information as a whistleblower if they would like.’

DeSantis chimed in to say that ‘last Congress, this really was not investigated, but I’m happy to report that the House leadership is fully behind this current investigation.

‘And so I would have liked to have done this a little sooner,’ the Republican lawmaker assessed, ‘but we are where we are, and we’re going to get the facts now with their support.’

The Hill newspaper had previously reported that a key FBI informant, an American businessman with knowledge of the Russian nuclear industry’s efforts to woo the Clintons and the Obama administration, was blocked by Obama’s Justice Department last year from telling Congress what he knew.

Lawyer Victoria Toensing, who worked in the Reagan Justice Department and was the former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the paper last Tuesday she is working with lawmakers to push the Trump Justice Department or the FBI in freeing up her client to speak with members of Congress.

Trump made the controversy national news when he used it to deflect from allegations of Russian collusion against his presidential campaign in comments to reporters last Thursday.

‘I think that’s your Russia story. That’s your real Russia story. Not a story where they talk about collusion, which there was none. It was hoax,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was the first of the Capitol Hill probes of the Uranium One deal, which gave 20 percent of the country’s uranium to Russia.

Federal investigators are said to have been reviewing the Russian nuclear industry’s business practices at the time of the sale.

Trump told reporters last week that it was the story of ‘the decade’ and slammed the mainstream media for not reporting it.

‘Frankly it’s a disgrace,’ Trump said. ‘It’s a disgrace, and it’s a disgrace that the fake news won’t cover it. It’s so sad.’

Trump also smacked Clinton on Twitter as he called it the ‘biggest story that fake media doesn’t want to follow.’

President Trump spoke about the questionable Uranium One deal in the Oval Office last Thursday, calling it 'your real Russia story,' as it hit political rival Hillary Clinton  

President Trump spoke about the questionable Uranium One deal in the Oval Office last Thursday, calling it ‘your real Russia story,’ as it hit political rival Hillary Clinton

The deal that took place while Clinton was secretary of state has attracted the attention of the Senate

The deal that took place while Clinton was secretary of state has attracted the attention of the Senate

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said last Wednesday that he is looking into potential 'conflicts of interest' that Hillary Clinton may have had when she sat on the committee that approved the Uranium One transaction 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said last Wednesday that he is looking into potential ‘conflicts of interest’ that Hillary Clinton may have had when she sat on the committee that approved the Uranium One transaction

‘I would say it’s the same baloney they’ve been peddling for years, and there’s been no credible evidence by anyone. In fact, it’s been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked,’ she said.

Clinton said the allegations are a distraction and a diversion cooked up by President Trump and Fox News.

‘I’m their favorite target. Me and President Obama, we are the ones they like to put in the crosshairs,’ she said.

A number of outlets reported last week that Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent letters to federal agencies asking about potential ‘conflicts of interest’ that Clinton may have had when the State Department approved the Uranium One transaction.

State was just one of nine departments that approved the deal, a Politifact article explaining the dispute says.

As a party to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS, the secretary of state – Clinton – would have had a role in the decision. But so did the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Politifact says, the nuclear regulator in Utah, where some of the uranium fields were located and everyone else on CFIUS.

Grassley said his investigation will center on Obama administration approval of he deal despite the ongoing FBI investigation of the company concerned. He also made reference Clinton’s family foundation.

‘It turns out during the transaction, the Justice Department had an ongoing criminal investigation for bribery, extortion and money laundering into officials for the Russian company making that purchase,’ Grassley said during a Capitol Hill hearing. ‘While all of this was going on, the Clinton Foundation reportedly received millions of dollars from interested parties in the transaction.’

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is trying to get to the bottom of the Russian uranium deal. He finds it suspicious that involved parties had donated to the Clinton Foundation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is trying to get to the bottom of the Russian uranium deal. He finds it suspicious that involved parties had donated to the Clinton Foundation

Trump picked up on the story this morning, tagging Fox & Friends in one of the messages - an indication that he'd been watching author Peter Schweizer's appearance on the program

Trump picked up on the story this morning, tagging Fox & Friends in one of the messages – an indication that he’d been watching author Peter Schweizer’s appearance on the program

Peter Schweizer is the author of the book Clinton Cash. He hopped on Fox this morning to comment on Sen. Chuck Grassley's announcement 

Peter Schweizer is the author of the book Clinton Cash. He hopped on Fox this morning to comment on Sen. Chuck Grassley’s announcement

In 2010, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved a deal that allowed Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company to buy Canadian mining company Uranium One, which controlled about 20 percent of the U.S.’s uranium deposits, which was why the multi-agency committee was involved.

Sitting on that committee were former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Clinton, whose husband, ex-President Bill Clinton, had collected speaking fees and Clinton Foundation donations by parties associated with the deal.

Details about the donations were previously revealed in author Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash.

Schweizer appeared last Thursday morning on Fox & Friends, with President Trump tweeting ‘Russia sent millions to Clinton Foundation’ and tagging the morning show, indicating that he had tuned in.

Trump also tweeted, ‘Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!’

Former President Bill Clinton was given Clinton Foundation dollars and speaking fees by parties associated with the Russian uranium deal - while his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had to approve of it for it to go through 

However, the New York Times had investigated the deal as Schweizer’s book was coming out and agreed with many of the authors findings: that interested parties had indeed flowed money to the Clinton Foundation as Secretary of State Clinton made her determination.

‘Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown,’ the Times report said.

‘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,’ it continued.

Adding a new layer to the story, the Hill reported that the FBI had uncovered a Russian bribery plot in 2009 and 2010, before the committee approved the deal.

The Justice Department also waited until 2014 to bring any charges.

Grassley wants to find out why.

The Department of Justice has not responded to multiple inquiries from DailyMail.com on the matter, including the gag order and whether DOJ would remove it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5017499/Trump-calls-Russian-uranium-deal-Watergate-modern-age.html#ixzz4wfVHT3MK 

What you need to know about Hillary Clinton, Russia, and uranium

A 2016 campaign attack involving former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her role in a uranium sale that involved Russia is back in the news.

With new revelations, increased media attention and reader requests, we decided to take another look. Because the details of the story are murky and based in part on anonymous sources, we won’t put any claims to the Truth-O-Meter.

Instead, we’ll explain what we knew previously, what new information has come to light, and what we still don’t know.

What we knew before

This complex tale involves a company with significant U.S. uranium assets, the Clinton Foundation, and a decision by several federal agencies to allow greater Russian influence in the United States’ uranium market.

It first emerged in the book Clinton Cash, a 2015 investigation by Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Peter Schweizer. The book looked into donations to the Clinton Foundation; an April 2015 New York Times article also documented the connections.

In 2007, Frank Giustra, a donor to the Clinton Foundation, sold his company, UrAsia, to another company, Uranium One, and unloaded his personal stake in it. The combined company kept Uranium One as its name but Toronto as its base. Under the terms of the deal, the shareholders of UrAsia retained a 60 percent stake in the new company.

Uranium One had mines, mills and tracts of land in WyomingUtah and other U.S. states equal to about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity. Its actual production is a smaller portion of uranium produced in the United States, at 11 percent in 2014, according to Oilprice.com.

In 2009, Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, bought a 17 percent share of Uranium One. In 2010, Rosatom sought to secure enough shares to give it a 51 percent stake.

On the one hand, Russia doesn’t have a license to export uranium outside the United States, so, as Oilprice.com noted, “it’s somewhat disingenuous to say this uranium is now Russia’s, to do with what it pleases.”

That said, the possibility that a foreign entity would take a majority stake in the uranium operation meant that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, had to approve the deal. So did the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Utah’s nuclear regulator.

The membership of CFIUS includes the State Department, meaning that the Secretary of State would have had a voice. The panel also includes the attorney general and the secretaries of the Treasury (who chairs the committee), Defense, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security, as well as the heads of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

CFIUS did approve the proposal, and in 2013, Russia assumed 100 percent ownership of Uranium One and renamed the company Uranium One Holding.

Why would the United States allow the transfer of a uranium company?

As others, including a New York Times’ investigation, have suggested, the United States was still seeking to “reset” its relationship with Russia and trying to get the Kremlin on board with its Iran nuclear deal. But another factor may have been that, at the end of the day, the Russian deal wasn’t that big.

Russia’s purchase of the company “had as much of an impact on national security as it would have if they set the money on fire,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute and former director at the New America Foundation, in an interview with PolitiFact last year. “That’s probably why (CFIUS and the NRC) approved it.”

Why some of the critics’ charges during the campaign went too far

In June 2016, we fact-checked a statement by then-candidate Donald Trump — who was running against Clinton for president — that Clinton’s State Department “approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

We gave the statement a rating of Mostly False. While the connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Russian deal may appear fishy, there was simply no proof of any quid pro quo.

Trump’s allegation went too far in two ways.

One, Trump seemed to say that Clinton bears all of the responsibility for the deal’s approval. That is incorrect.

Clinton told a New Hampshire TV station in June 2015 that “I was not personally involved because that wasn’t something the secretary of state did.” And Jose Fernandez, who served as assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs under Clinton and represented the department on the panel, told the Times that Clinton “never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter.”

But even if you don’t take either Clinton or Fernandez at their word, the reality is that the State Department was just one of nine government agencies that signed off on the transaction.

Second, while we concluded that nine people related to the company did at some point donate to the Clinton Foundation, we found that the bulk of the $145 million came from Giustra. Guistra said he sold all of his stakes in Uranium One in the fall of 2007, “at least 18 months before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state” and three years before the Russian deal.

We couldn’t independently verify Giustra’s claim, but if he is telling the truth, the donation amount to the Clinton Foundation from confirmed Uranium One investors drops from more than $145 million to $4 million.

The main exception is Ian Telfer, an investor who the New York Times found donated between $1.3 million and $5.6 million to the Clinton Foundation during and after the review process for the Russian deal.

So while Trump was within his right to question links between foundation donors and their ties to Uranium one, his specific charge was exaggerated.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post Fact Checker subsequently looked at a similar Trump statement: “Remember that Hillary Clinton gave Russia 20 percent of American uranium and, you know, she was paid a fortune. You know, they got a tremendous amount of money.”

The Fact Checker came to the same conclusion about Trump’s misleading language, giving Trump’s assertion its worst rating of Four Pinocchios.

Why this story is coming up again

After Trump won the presidency, the Uranium One story received relatively little attention — perhaps because Clinton is now a private citizen rather than serving as president. But that changed in the wake of a report published in the Hill newspaper on Oct. 17, 2017.

The article’s key finding was that by the time CFIUS was weighing the deal, the FBI had been investigating whether Russia was trying to gain influence in the U.S. nuclear industry. The report said that the FBI has already “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.”

The implication of the Hill article is that Clinton either did know, or should have known, about problems with the Russian bid for Uranium One before deciding whether to let it go forward. (Clinton, the FBI and the Justice Department did not provide a comment on this story.)

The article cited FBI, Energy Department and court documents showing that the FBI 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.”

However, rather than bringing immediate charges in 2010, the article said, the Justice Department “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.”

What remains unclear after the newest report?

The relevance of the Hill report  for Clinton’s role would be whether she knew anything about this investigation at a time when she could have used her role in CFIUS to block the Russian deal. (It could also be relevant for the actions by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, whose department has a seat on CFIUS.)

For now at least, we aren’t aware of any evidence that Clinton knew anything about the FBI investigation. If anything, the Hill’s reporting suggests the opposite.

The Hill article quoted Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, saying that he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case.

” ‘I had no idea this case was being conducted,’ a surprised Hosko said in an interview,” the Hill article reported.

At least one key lawmaker — then-Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who chaired the House Intelligence Committee at the time — also said he did not know about the investigation.

If the assistant FBI director at the time knew nothing of the investigation, then Clinton — someone in a different department and several rungs higher in the organizational chart — might not have known about it.

Stewart A. Baker, a partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson, was skeptical that such information would have reached the Secretary of State — “at least not until she was asked to weigh in on the transaction, and that would only happen if it were deeply controversial, which it was not. In my experience, the State Department was always one of the quickest agencies to urge approval of a deal, and they did that without checking with the Secretary.”

The vast majority of cases that CFIUS reviews are handled by lower-ranking staffers and appointees, added Stephen Heifetz, a partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson who specializes in CFIUS law.

“Even though the heads of the CFIUS agencies comprise CFIUS as a matter of law,” he said, “it is relatively rare to have a cabinet secretary directly involved in a CFIUS case.”

That said, several experts said they were surprised that word had not filtered up from the FBI.

The FBI “is well represented as part of the Justice Department’s CFIUS team,” Baker said. “It would be somewhat surprising to me if a company was under scrutiny as a buyer in CFIUS and simultaneously under investigation for criminal behavior by the FBI, but the criminal investigation was not known to the FBI’s representatives on CFIUS.”

In addition, it’s Justice Department policy to consolidate all Foreign Corrupt Practices Act inquiries within department headquarters in Washington, said Michael Koehler, a professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law and an expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This makes word of those cases more likely to reach top officials than other types of investigations.

And the fact that the Mikerin case included a confidential informant makes it “more likely than not that top Justice Department or FBI officials either knew of the inquiry or should have known of the inquiry,” Koehler said.

Even if word had filtered up to CFIUS this way, it might not have been enough to scuttle the deal, Heifetz added.

“CFIUS often has cleared transactions when there is adverse information about foreign investors but no apparent risk to national security,” he said.

Ultimately, we don’t know enough to be able to say whether the apparent lack of information about the FBI investigation among higher ups was due to internal reporting failures or the more mundane reality that ground-level FBI investigations take time to mature and solidify.

But for now, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that Clinton’s actions — ill-advised as they might have been — were any more problematic than it seemed they were a year ago.

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Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

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Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos — Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

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Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos —

President Trump signs Russian sanctions bill Fox News Video

President Trump signs new Russia sanctions, questions whether bill interferes with foreign policy 

BREAKING NEWS 8/2/17 PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL

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Trump signs Russia sanctions bill but blasts Congress

In a pair of statements, the president said parts of the law violate the Constitution.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill placing new sanctions on Russia — but in a statement, he claimed multiple aspects of the legislation violate the Constitution.

The sanctions, aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, limit the president’s power to lift the sanctions without congressional approval and were initially resisted by the administration.

In one of two statements released almost simultaneously Wednesday morning by the White House, Trump said he supports the law’s efforts to crack down on the actions of Iran, North Korea and Russia. But the White House protested what it sees as congressional encroachment on the president’s power in foreign affairs.

“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” Trump said in one statement. “My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”

The president’s second statement included a stepped-up defense of his own administration’s foreign policy and input on the legislation. Trump said that “despite its problems,” he had signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.” The statement characterized the governments of Iran and North Korea as “rogue regimes,” a label he did not apply to the Russian government.

Even as he continues to label Russian interference in the election a “hoax,” the statement went further in acknowledging the intrusion than Trump has in the past.

“I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization,” the statement said.

Still, Trump was quick to push back on what he views as congressional overreach.

“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking,” Trump said, in reference to congressional Republicans’ latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected,” the president continued. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

The statements drew mixed reaction on Capitol Hill.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a leading architect of the sanctions bill, told reporters he was not concerned about Trump’s statement, though he said he had not yet seen it.

“Both countries talk privately in ways that are very different from how they talk publicly,” the Tennessee Republican said of U.S.-Russia relations. “But this was a necessary step that we took, and I’m glad we took it.”

In addition to allowing lawmakers to handcuff Trump on any future changes to Russia sanctions, the legislation converts some existing sanctions from executive orders into law, making them more difficult to roll back, and imposes new sanctions focused on Moscow’s reported cyber-meddling in the November election. The legislation’s Iran and North Korea sanctions were broadly popular in both parties and with the Trump administration.

Although White House officials asserted that some of the preferred changes to the legislation were included before its final passage last week, the administration had long underscored its opposition to provisions that will impede Trump’s ability to warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way that they did, neither the president nor I are very happy about that,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”

Still, Tillerson added, “we can’t let it take us off track of trying to restore the relationship” with Russia.

Even as Trump criticized the measure, he added that “I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s waiting periods to ensure that Congress will have a full opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.”

That apparent concession by Trump did not assuage Democratic concerns about his signing statement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California warned in a statement that Trump’s interpretation of the sanctions bill “raises serious questions about whether his administration intends to follow the law, or whether he will continue to enable and reward Vladimir Putin’s aggression.”

And some Republicans who played a key role in the sanctions package raised their own alarms.

“Look, whether it was President Bush, President Obama, or President Trump, I’ve never been a fan of signing statements,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. “I think they’re a way for any president to usurp the role of the legislative branch. And that’s why I’ve always been concerned, regardless of who issued them, on any matter.”

The bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support. The House passed the sanctions by a vote of 419-3, and the Senate cleared it 98-2 — making any presidential veto futile and sure to be overridden.

With multiple investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, a veto also would have been politically disastrous.

After weeks of waffling, the White House confirmed over the weekend that Trump would sign the bill.

The White House still sought to characterize the bill as a win, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a statement on Friday that Trump “negotiated regarding critical elements of it” and decided to sign it “based on its responsiveness to his negotiations.”

The statement Wednesday also contained a warning — not to Russia, but to Congress.

“The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President,” Trump said. “This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/02/trump-signs-bipartisan-russia-sanctions-bill-241242

 

Furious Trump signs Russian sanctions into law – then issues tirade against ‘unconstitutional’ bill and boasts his billions show why Congress shouldn’t stop him making deals with Putin

  • President Donald Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran
  • The White House did not organize a ceremony of any kind for it
  • Trump said in a statement he signed the bill for the sake of ‘national unity’ 
  • The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill
  • It passed Congress overwhelmingly with veto-proof majorities
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and the president were not ‘very happy’ about the sanctions bill 

President Donald Trump signed legislation Wednesday that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers – but at the same time issued a furious statement calling it ‘flawed’.

He signed the bill, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly said he wasn’t happy about, in private.

Then the White House sent out statement by the president revealing the depths of his unhappiness and boasting that his billions showed he was far better at deal-making than Congress.

Trump said despite some changes, ‘the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.’

He called parts of it ‘unconstitutional’ and signaled fresh tensions with Republicans by criticizing their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

President Donald Trump has signed legislation that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers

‘Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.

‘The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,’ Trump said in a statement.

‘Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.’

In a message to Congress in response to the bill, Trump singled out provisions his lawyers considers in conflict with Supreme Court case law – and asserts his own latitude to carry out the law as he sees fit.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn't happy with the bill

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn’t happy with the bill

‘My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions,’ the president said in one point – in language certain to irk lawmakers who consider the law much more than a preference.

‘My administration … expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies,’ he said.

The president also complained about what he said were ‘clearly unconstitutional provisions’ in the legislation relating to presidential powers to shape foreign policy.

 White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed the signing on Fox News.

The bill passed Congress by overwhelming margins sufficient to override a presidential veto. The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill.

The bill contains language meant to prevent the president from lifting them without approval from Congress – provisions that got drafted amid concerns Trump would lift or limit sanctions amid his frequent praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and desire to improve ties between the two powers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters he shared misgivings with the president, as they try to improve relations with Russia.

‘Neither the president nor I are very happy about that,’ Tillerson said. ‘We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.’

The FBI and congressional intelligence panels are probing Trump campaign connections to Russians during the election.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Trump during the campaign repeatedly called for better relations with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Russian government backed a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.

Despite communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin capped off by two one-on-one meetings in Europe, Trump has struggled to meet his goal.

Putin said last weekend that Russia would expel more than 700 U.S. diplomats from Russia in retaliation for the sanctions legislation.

I’M WORTH BILLIONS – I CAN MAKE BETTER DEALS THAN CONGRESS

Today, I signed into law the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,’ which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries’ malignant activities.

I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

In his statement about the bill, Trump highlighted a series of concerns about the legislation. Had he vetoed it, Congress could have easily overridden him.

‘Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies,’ Trump complained.

‘My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.’

 Russia hawk Sen. John McCain of Arizona responded in a statement: ‘I welcome President Trump’s decision to sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The enactment of this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, sends a strong message to friend and foe alike that the United States will hold nations accountable for aggressive and destabilizing behavior that threatens our national interests and those of our allies and partners.’

McCain also called out Trump’s signing statement. ‘The concerns expressed in the President’s signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced. The Framers of our Constitution made the Congress and the President coequal branches of government. This bill has already proven the wisdom of that choice,’ he wrote.

“While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea, and destabilizing Ukraine.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4754014/President-Donald-Trump-signs-Russia-sanctions-bill.html#ixzz4ocylqTKe

 

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met with President Trump for the first time during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, this month. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

MOSCOW — The last time the Kremlin forced a sweeping reduction of local staff at the American Embassy in Moscow, a young diplomat named Steven Pifer found himself working four days a week on arms control, as usual. But on the fifth day, he navigated the capital in a big truck to move furniture or haul mammoth grocery loads.

The entire staff of the embassy, except the ambassador, was assigned one day each week to grunt work called All Purpose Duty, Mr. Pifer recalled in an interview on Monday, when they shed their dark suits and polished loafers to mow the lawns, fix the plumbing, cook in the cafeteria and even clean the toilets.

That was a last hurrah for the Cold War in 1986, and although the embassy now functions on a far more complex scale, many current and former diplomats expect a similar effort in the wake of President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement on Sunday that the United States diplomatic mission in Russia must shed 755 employees by Sept. 1.

“The attitude in the embassy was if they think that they will shut us down, we will show them,” said Mr. Pifer, who went on to become an American ambassador to Ukraine and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “I think the embassy will adapt this time, too.”

Russia demanded that the United States reduce its diplomatic staff to equal the 455 Russian diplomats working in the United States, including at the mission to the United Nations. That means cutting about 60 percent of a work force estimated at 1,200 to 1,300 people, the vast majority of whom are Russians.

Given the continuing deterioration in relations between the two countries, core functions like political and military analysis will be preserved, along with espionage, experts said, while programs that involve cooperation on everything from trade to culture to science are likely to be reduced or eliminated.

Besides the State Department, a dizzying array of American government agencies have employees at the embassy, including the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce as well as NASA and the Library of Congress.

The other area expected to take a heavy hit will be public services, like issuing visas to Russian travelers to the United States, which is likely to slow to a glacial pace.

The Russian staff can be broken down into two broad categories: specialists who help individual departments in the embassy like public relations, and basic service workers employed as security guards, drivers, janitors, electricians and a host of other maintenance functions.

As of 2013, the latest year for which public records are available, there were 1,279 staff members working in the American Embassy in Moscow and in consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, according to a report by the Inspector General’s Office. Of those, 934 were not Americans, including 652 basic service workers. The numbers are believed to have stayed roughly the same.

Russian staff members working in various departments like the political or economic section often provide the embassy’s institutional memory, because they stay on the job for years while American diplomats rotate every two or three years. (If the Russian employees stay for at least 15 years, they are eligible for special immigration visas to the United States and their salaries are high by Russian standards.)

It is the Russians who tend to notice nuances in domestic news coverage or in Mr. Putin’s speeches, or who direct diplomats toward public events or responsible journalists. The Russian employees provide continuity, an American diplomat who recently left Moscow said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Gen. Bruce McClintock, the American Defense attaché from 2014 to 2016 and now a RAND Corporation analyst, said Russian employees were often more effective in organizing meetings with government officials, while experienced translators ensured that the positions of both sides were clear in often complex discussions.

Russia had already chipped away at embassy programs, anyway, he noted. In 2013, it shuttered USAID, for example, and in 2014, in response to the West’s cutting off military cooperation after the Ukraine crisis, it closed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Although the work continued, it was much harder to coordinate because its 10 employees had departed, said General McClintock.

Russian nationals are not given the security clearances needed to work in the more clandestine branches of the embassy. Indeed, in the chancellery itself, no Russians worked above the fourth floor in the roughly 10-story building, former Russian employees said.

The American Embassy, which held a staff meeting on Monday to confirm the news to its employees, refused to comment on the events, while in Washington the State Department would say only that it was studying the Russian government’s request.

The general hostility toward the United States means Moscow was already considered a hardship post for American diplomats, and the new measures will lower morale further, diplomats said.

Russian employees are confused and do not yet understand how the changes will be carried out, a former Russian employee now working outside the country said, adding with dark humor that Stalin used to say there were no irreplaceable people.

Russian employees who worked for specialized departments feel especially vulnerable because they carry a certain stigma in Russia’s current nationalistic mood. Michael McFaul, a Stanford University professor who was the American ambassador from 2012 to 2014, remembered trying to help find work for 70 Russians who were let go when the Kremlin closed the USAID office.

It was especially hard because “many Russian companies would not consider hiring these ‘tainted’ people,” he said in an email.

In recent years, local employees have come under increasing pressure from the Russian security service, the F.S.B., according to current and former employees. Russians escorting delegations of American musicians around the country were harassed, for example, or some in Moscow returned home from work to find agents sitting in their living rooms, demanding that they inform on their employers, they said.

Mr. Pifer said American diplomats who lived through the 1986 clampdown learned all kinds of things about Soviet life that they would not have otherwise.

One of his colleagues, who had to navigate customs, wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek diplomatic cable titled “The 29 Steps Needed to Clear a Container of Furniture,” detailing every stamp issued on every piece of paper. The cable was a huge hit back in Washington, he said.

In previous spats with the United States or the West in general, Mr. Putin often chose measures that hurt Russians the most, not least because Russia’s limited economic reach globally means it does not have many options.

Angered over sanctions imposed by Congress under the Magnitsky Act in 2012, he banned Americans from adopting Russian children. When the West imposed economic and military sanctions after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, he barred a broad array of food imports, forcing up prices and limiting the options for Russian consumers.

This time, hundreds of Russians will lose their jobs and Russian travelers hoping to visit the United States are likely to wait months for visas. Some 50 Russians were employed in the consular section that processes visas, according to the inspector general’s report.

“I don’t think Mr. Putin is terribly worried about this,” Mr. Collins said, noting the presidential election looming in March. “As he is running for election, it is comfortable for him to show that he can stand up to the Americans and to protect Russian interests and that is what he is doing.”

Outside the embassy on Monday, many of those emerging from the visa section suggested the Russian measures could only make a bad situation worse. Anecdotal evidence suggested that on both sides, what used to take weeks had already slowed to months.

Shavkat Butaev, 50, who works for a company that helps Russians get visas, said rejections were way up, too. “It was never like this before. Fifty, 60 people get rejected every day,” he said.

Oleg Smirnov, an 18-year-old student studying in the United States to become a psychiatrist, said that he had hoped President Trump would improve relations and that he was worried about possible fallout on immigration policy.

“These mutual sanctions look like a game played with water guns,” he said

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/world/europe/russia-sanctions-embassy.html

Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

Trump announces new immigration policy

Published on Aug 2, 2017

President Trump announced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act on Aug. 2, which aims to cut immigration by half from the current level of more than 1 million green cards granted per year.

 

Pres Trump and Sens Cotton and Perdue Introduce “The Raise Act”. Excellent!

August 2, 2017: Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue Answer Questions about the RAISE Act at the White House

 

Jim Acosta vs Stephen Miller – Immigration – White House Press Briefing 8/2/17

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton RAISE Act Press Conference

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Sen.Barbara Jordan Legal Immigration Recommendations

2015 Barbara Jordan TV ad

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 1

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 2

Why Free Markets Work: Milton Friedman on Political Economy (1996)

Obama’s Amnesty & How Illegal Immigration Affects Us

The Impact of Immigration on Jobs and Income

 

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

President Trump on Wednesday teamed up with two conservative Republican senators to roll out new legislation aimed at dramatically curbing legal immigration to the United States, a key Trump campaign promise.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) have been working with White House officials to revise and expand a bill released earlier this year that would halve the number of people who receive legal permanent residence over a decade.

The senators joined Trump at a White House ceremony to announce the measure.

The president told reporters in the Roosevelt Room that the measure “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in a half a century.”
They say the legislation would move the United States to a “merit-based” immigration system and away from the current model, which is largely based on family ties.
The measure reflects Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, when he argued that the spike in legal immigration over the past several decades has taken job opportunities away from American citizens and threatened national security.
“As a candidate, I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers and that’s why we are here today,” he said, adding the measure would “reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.”
Trump met with Cotton and Perdue in March to discuss the legislation, known as the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act.
The bill would mark a dramatic change in U.S. immigration laws, and could open up a nasty internal fight among Republicans.

The legislation would eliminate immigration preferences currently given to extended family members and adult children of U.S. citizens seeking green cards, and it would cap the number of accepted refugees at 50,000 — half of the Obama administration’s target for 2017.

It would also end the State Department’s Diversity visa lottery, which the senators say is “plagued with fraud.” The program had been allotted 50,000 visas for the 2018 fiscal year.

About 1 million immigrants receive green cards per year.

Conservative outside groups immediately praised the legislation and called for the Senate to vote on the bill.

“The RAISE Act helps realize President Trump’s vision of making America great again by making immigration great again as well. It provides a pathway for a modern, smarter immigration system while protecting those Americans struggling to make ends meet,” said Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, added that the Cotton-Perdue bill will “do more than any other action to fulfill” Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration.

The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, however, where it’s expected to get pushback from Democrats as well as GOP senators who oppose strict limits on legal immigration and want a broader reform effort that would address the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

If Cotton and Perdue can get GOP leadership to bring the legislation up for a vote, supporters will need to cobble together 60 senators, including at least eight Democrats or independents, to agree to start debate on the legislation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a handful of Republicans — including GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dean Heller (Nev.) — have been working on bills this year to allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to, at least temporarily, remain in the country legally.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been granted temporary reprieves from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But it does not confer legal status on immigrants.

Cotton and Perdue would need to win over their votes, as well as Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment, was critical of their earlier bill.

The White House roll out could give the legislation a boost of momentum, but the earlier version of the Cotton-Perdue bill garnered zero cosponsors.

Critics of the measure say it would devastate families’ effort to reunite with their overseas relatives while providing few economic benefits.

“If this is an acknowledgement that our immigration system is broken, the Trump administration and these senators are right, but this is the wrong way to fix it,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Cutting legal immigration for the sake of cutting immigration would cause irreparable harm to the American worker and their family.”

“Congress should focus on stopping illegal immigration – not on restricting the legal immigration that grows our economy,” said John Feinblatt, president of the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg-backed group New American Economy.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/344924-trump-gop-senators-unveil-measure-to-cut-legal-immigration

Sen. Cotton Officially Introduces RAISE Act

PUBLISHED: