For close to a year, the U.S.-Russian focus has centered around whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in an effort to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
However, in a turn of events, the focus is now on the relationship and ties that the Clintons had with Uranium One, a now Russian-owned uranium-mining firm. But, what are the facts? Here are three things you need to know.
The Link Between The Clintons And Uranium One Began Before The Obama Administration
While the topic of discussion this week has been about the Russian Uranium One transactions that occurred during the Obama Administration, the genesis of the story actually began several years before that. According to the Weekly Standard, “the path to a Russian acquisition of American uranium deposits began in 2005 in Kazakhstan, where the Canadian mining financier, Frank Guistra, orchestrated his big uranium deal, with Mr. Clinton at his side.”
Specifically, on September 5, 2005, Mr. Guistra flew on a private jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to meet with Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev. According to a 2008 New York Times article, “accompanying Mr. Guistra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.”
Mr. Guistra was, at that point, relatively new to the uranium business. But, with what could have been the help of the former U.S. president, Mr. Guistra’s company received “the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.” In fact, according to the same New York Times article, the president of Kazatomprom said that Mr. Guistra’s “friendship with Mr. Clinton ‘of course made an impression.'”
Former President Clinton Received Speaking Fees From A Russian Bank
According to the Renaissance Capital 14th Annual Investor Conference agenda, where Mr. Clinton spoke on June 29, 2010, his speech was scheduled to last one hour. According to a 2015 article from The New Yorker, it was reported that “a Russian investment bank connected to the [uranium-mining] deals paid money to Bill Clinton personally, through a half-million-dollar speaker’s fee.” Since Renaissance Capital was the bank involved in the uranium deals, it appears that Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a one-hour speech.
Former President Clinton meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day as his speech to Renaissance Capital. [Image by Alexei Druzhin-RIA Novosti POOL/AP Images]
The Clinton Foundation Received Contributions From Uranium One Officials
When Mrs. Clinton was to assume her post as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, she was required to sign a memorandum. This memorandum, according to a 2015 New York Times article, placed “limits on the activities of her husband’s foundation.” This was to avoid conflicts of interest, both real and perceived. These limits included the requirement that all donors and donations be publicly disclosed.
The Clinton Foundation received contributions from Uranium One officials during the period covering the memorandum. However, it was reported in the same New York Times article that the Clinton Foundation did not follow the memorandum. Through a “review of tax records in Canada,” it was shown that millions of dollars in donations came from Uranium One-related sources. However, those same contributions were not disclosed, as required by the Clinton Foundation.
While it may be found that there is no substantive connection between the Clintons, Russia, and Uranium One, there has been substantial reporting on the relationships in the past. And, with the current state of political affairs and finger-pointing, plus the fact that there is murkiness on what the real connections are, there is sure to be even more digging to find out what really happened. But, no matter what, the Clinton connection will probably stay controversial.