president dmitry medvedev

“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” —Barack Obama’s open mic assurance to former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, March 26, 2012

Progressive ideology is about winning — by any means necessary. Thus, the same Russians Barack Obama’s administration accommodated for years — from Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” and Obama’s cancellation of missile defense systems for Poland and the Czech Republic, to allowing the Kremlin to become a Middle East powerbroker, and Obama mocking Mitt Romney’s correct 2012 assertion that Russia was our foremost geopolitical foe — quickly became the mortal enemies that orchestrated Trump’s election victory. In short, they told us, “collusion” between Trump administration figures and Russia was the primary reason Hillary lost. Yet as we are only beginning to learn, Obama administration collusion with Russia might constitute the greatest scandal in the history of the republic.

Andrew McCarthy sums it up. The Obama 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,” he explains. “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.”

Who approved the transfer? The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, (CFIUS) an intergovernmental panel representing 14 departments and offices, including the Treasury, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Commerce, State, Homeland Security, Justice, Trade, Science and Technology Policy and Defense. CFIUS is tasked with determining whether transactions and investments by foreign companies align with national security, and they unanimously approved the deal — despite the reality that when they were considering it, nine members of the Canadian company Uranium One that would receive the uranium contributed more than $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Moreover, while the Russians were transferring control of Uranium One to its state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate Rosatom via three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records reveal Uranium One chairman Ian Telfer also donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. And in 2010, Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from Renaissance Capital, a Kremlin-linked bank that was promoting Uranium One stock.

Telfer’s contributions were not publicly disclosed, violating an agreement Hillary Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.

In terms of concealment, she was not alone. The Obama administration knew “congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer,” McCarthy explains. “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.”

It was a racketeering enterprise conducted by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official in charge of Tenam USA, which is the American arm of Rosatom subsidiary Tenex. Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, Tenex was given control of the sale and transportation of blended-down uranium from dis-assembled Russian nuclear warheads to U.S. nuclear providers. Mikerin was extorting those U.S. companies, forcing them to pay inflated prices, and leaving them vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.

To facilitate the process, Mikerin secured the help of an unnamed lobbyist who became uncomfortable with the seemingly illegal arrangement, and notified the FBI. As a result he became an informant. At the time, the FBI was headed by Robert Mueller and the investigation was supervised by current Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. It was centered in Tenam’s home base of Maryland, whose U.S. attorney was Rod Rosenstein. It ended in late 2015, during the tenure of former FBI Director James Comey.

The FBI had proof of Mikerin’s racketeering in 2010, when any disclosure of it would have killed the uranium deal. Yet they let the scheme continue until 2014 when the agency quietly allowed Mikerin to plead guilty to one count of money-laundering conspiracy, courtesy of Rosenstein, whose office chose to prosecute Milkerin under the far less onerous section 371 of the U.S. penal code rather than section 1956 which could have imprisoned him for up to 20 years on each count of racketeering. The deal was cosigned by the DOJ’s Fraud Section, then run by Andrew Weissmann — one of the attorneys Mueller selected to investigate Trump.

While the DOJ slow-walked this prosecution, Russia gained complete control of Rosatom. And despite Nuclear Regulatory Commission assurances made in 2011 to a highly concerned Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) that Rosatom could not export uranium out of the country, The New York Times revealed Uranium One exported it to Canada using the licenses of a proxy transport company to do so.

Moreover, where the uranium is headed remains unknown.

What about the lobbyist/informant? He was issued a gag order and threatened with prosecution by the Loretta Lynch-led Justice Department when he pursued a civil action that would have revealed information about the sale. He is currently represented by attorney Victoria Toensing, who insists her client has “specific information about contributions and bribes to various entities and people in the United States.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is investigating the deal, and has sent letters to 10 federal agencies explaining he remains unconvinced there was no national security concerns associated with it, despite assurances to the contrary. He also pushed to have the gag order lifted.

Which brings us to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. While the DOJ finally announced late Wednesday night the gag order has been lifted, Sessions apparently continues to countenance the agency’s refusal to turn over documents related to the infamous Christopher Steele dossier compiled by Fusion GPS that was subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post revealed the most likely reason for the DOJ’s stonewalling. In a bombshell exposé, the paper reported the Clinton campaign and the DNC helped fund the dossier. The same dossier Clinton may have given the FBI (who initially offered to pay for it themselves), the one that may be the sole basis by which Obama administration officials justified the unmasking of Trump associates — and the entire rationale behind the Leftmedia’s orchestrated effort to convince Americans Trump’s presidency is illegitimate.

The dossier’s disseminators? In the last two weeks, Fusion’s partners exercised their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination during House Intelligence Committee meeting, and filed a complaint in federal court aimed at keeping their subpoenaed banking records secret.

Regardless, Sessions continues to abide an investigation of Trump administration collusion with Russia, conducted by many of the same people who buried possible Obama administration collusion. People like Robert Mueller who “has the means, motive and opportunity to obfuscate and distract from matters embarrassing to the FBI,” WSJ columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. astutely notes.

America is facing an existential crisis, one where it appears the same institutions designed to provide law and order and national security are guilty of wholesale corruption — and possible treason. Either the Trump administration will root out the rot, or the electorate will be faced with the undeniable reality we live in a nation where “justice” consists of one set of laws for the rich and powerful, and another for everyone else. A nation where Congress conducts toothless hearings, those who should be investigated conduct the investigations, and utterly corrupt media censor anything inimical to their own interests and those of their ideological allies.

Absolutely no one can justify the sale of the main ingredient used in nuclear weapons to the Russians. Either the swamp gets drained — or the entire nation drowns in it.

A glossary of 32 words, phrases, people and places you should probably know when following Ukraine’s crisis

Okay. The crisis in Ukraine has been going on for a while now, and things have gotten a little confusing. Whether you are a newcomer to the crisis and you want to catch up, or you have been following the situation for the past few months, we figured a quick glossary of the words, phrases, people and places involved would be appreciated.

For more on Ukraine’s crisis, check out our Q+A from January, our history of Crimea and our 486-word rundown of recent events.

  • Anti-protest laws: Measures Viktor Yanukovych passed Jan. 16 designed to limit protests. Dubbed the “Dictatorship Laws” by protesters, they led to a new level of violence in the Euromaidan protests and were repealed by parliament two weeks later.
  • Berkut: Descended from an elite force in Soviet times, the Berkut were riot police who operated under the Interior Ministry. At the center of much of the violence with Euromaidan protesters, they were disbanded on February 26. There have been reports that Russia is giving out passports to ex-Berkut officers.
  • Black Sea Fleet: A Russian naval unit based in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol in Crimea. It’s not a particularly powerful force. It consists of an aging guided-missile cruiser, the Moskva; a large, dated anti-submarine warfare cruiser; a destroyer; two frigates; landing ships; and a diesel-powered attack submarine. Yanukovych and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reached a deal to extend the lease on facilities in Crimea until 2042 in exchange for a discounted deal for natural gas.
  • The Budapest Memorandum: An agreement in 1994 that saw Russia, the United States and Great Britain agree to recognize the “independence and sovereignty” of Ukraine in exchange for it giving up its stockpile of nuclear weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests now that this agreement is void, as Ukraine is no longer the same state it was in 1994.
  • Crimea: A peninsula jutting into the northern tip of the Black Sea. This strategically-located region has been  fought over many times over the course of its complicated history. Long a part of Russia, it was given to Ukraine in 1954 and, despite an ethnic Russian majority, a post-Soviet independence movement and a good dose of autonomy, it is still technically Ukrainian. However, for the past few days, what some say are Russian soldiers (and others say are armed militia) have been on the peninsula, surrounding Ukrainian military bases. They, and some of Crimea’s residents, say the region rejects the post-Maidan government and wants to become part of Russia.
  • Crimean War: A three-year war that started in 1853 and ended up with Russia keeping Crimea even though it lost the war. Russia fought an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia over disputes involving the Middle East and religion. It’s widely considered the beginning of modern warfare.
  • Crimean Tatars: A Sunni Muslim, Turkic ethnic group that has been in Crimea since before it became part of Russia. Notably, the entire population was deported  to Central Asia as punishment for collaboration with German forces during World War II. Since 1991, they have been coming back in droves: By Ukraine’s last census in 2001, they were said to make up 12 percent of the population. As you might imagine, they are said to be anti-Russian and largely supportive of the Euromaidan protests. NB: It's Tatar, not Tartar.
  • The demographic split: To put this very simply, thanks to a complicated history, Ukraine can broadly be split between a Ukrainian-speaking West that opposed Yanukovych, and a Russian-speaking East that supported him. Some have argued that this is an oversimplification (most things are), but it does still seem to hold weight.
  • Euromaidan: The name given to the anti-government protests that began on Nov. 21, 2013, and eventually led to the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych. The name comes from the hopes of further European integration many had, and the name of their central Kiev location, Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
  • “The family”: The name given to Viktor Yanukovych’s immediate family and other associates who are said to have enriched themselves through corruption and nepotism.
  • “Fascists”: Both Russia’s foreign ministry and Yanukovych have linked “fascist” elements to the Euromaidan protests. There is some truth to this – far-right Ukrainian nationalist groups, such as Svoboda or Pravy Sektor, have been a part of the protests. Maidan supporters, however, dispute the idea that the protests are at all dominated by these groups, and critics have accused the Kremlin of playing “political football” with (the very real threat) of antisemitism in Ukraine.

Read the rest here. 

washingtonpost.com
Russian Parliament Ratifies New START Treaty with U.S.

MOSCOW — Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday ratified a landmark nuclear arms pact with the United States, virtually assuring passage of an agreement President Barack Obama has described as the most significant arms control deal in nearly two decades.

The State Duma voted 350-96 with one abstention to pass a bill to ratify the New START treaty, which was approved by the U.S. Senate late last year. The treaty will now go to the upper house for final approval.

The New START would limit each country to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200 and also re-establish a system for monitoring that ended in December 2009 with the expiration of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President George H.W. Bush…