Report: Russians Spent Millions to Influence Obama Admin’s Uranium One Decision

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Posted: Feb 08, 2018 1:30 PM
Report: Russians Spent Millions to Influence Obama Admin’s Uranium One Decision

FBI undercover informant Douglas Campbell has provided written testimony to Congress that Russian government authorities paid an American lobbying firm millions of dollars to influence the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton towards enacting favorable policies, including approving a Russian bid to buy stakes in Uranium One.

The Hill has acquired a copy of Campbell’s testimony, which details his work exposing an extensive Kremlin-led operation to push U.S. policy in a Russia-friendly direction on many fronts. According to Campbell, U.S.-based lobbying firm APCO Worldwide served as the primary vehicle of this operation. APCO was supposed to provide funds to the Clinton Foundation matching Russian financial contributions and then use its close contacts to officials like then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to directly lobby for Russian interests:

Campbell added in the testimony that Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clintons' Global Initiative."

“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months. APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement."

The APCO has denied Campbell’s claims, insisting that although it was working for both the Russian government and the Clinton Foundation, different departments within the firm separately handled these tasks.

Democratic politicians and spokespeople have already tried to smear Campbell as an unreliable source and suggested that he is part of a right-wing conspiracy to frame Hillary Clinton and distract from allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion”:

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, said Campbell’s account is simply being used to distract from the investigations into President Trump and Russian election meddling.

“Just yesterday the committee made clear that this secret informant charade was just that, a charade. Along with the widely debunked text-message-gate and Nunes' embarrassing memo episode, we have a trifecta of GOP-manufactured scandals designed to distract from their own President's problems and the threat to democracy he poses,” Merrill said.

(…)

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, asserted that Justice Department officials told both parties during a briefing in December that they ultimately found they “could not trust” Campbell when he was working as an FBI informant.

Democrats have not explained why the FBI would have employed Campbell as an undercover agent for years, cleared him to inform three separate congressional committees about his classified work, and paid him $50,000 for his surveillance work if they did not trust him.

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Another important takeaway from The Hill’s report—Campbell informed Congress that his information was briefed to top FBI officials and President Obama himself on one occasion before the administration’s decision to approve the Uranium One deal, but this apparently had no impact on American government actions:

“I was frustrated watching the U.S. government make numerous decisions benefiting Rosatom and Tenex while those entities were engaged in serious criminal conduct on U.S. soil,” [Campbell] wrote. “Tenex and Rosatom were raking in billions of U.S. dollars by signing contracts with American nuclear utility clients at the same time they were indulging in extortion by using threats to get bribes and kickbacks, with a portion going to Russia for high ranking officials.”

He said he never got a satisfactory answer from the FBI.

“I remember one response I got from an agent when I asked how it was possible CFIUS would approve the Uranium One sale when the FBI could prove Rosatom was engaged in criminal conduct.  His answer: ‘Ask your politics,’ ” Campbell said.