President Trump is fixated on uranium.
Trump, tweeting Sunday, wrote about the “Uranium to Russia deal” in a string of criticisms about the Clintons and Democrats.
Trump has discussed the agreement on numerous occasions — including an October 2016 campaign event when he said that Hillary Clinton “gave Russia 20% of American uranium, and, you know, she was paid a fortune.”
Trump’s renewed focus on the deal is seen by many as a distraction tactic amid the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible Russian collusion with members of his campaign during the 2016 election.
Here’s the full story about the uranium deal — and how the Clintons are involved.
He’s just a Bill
With help from Bill Clinton’s connections, Canadian mining tycoon Frank Giustra in 2005 was able to secure a key uranium mining deal in Kazakhstan for his company UrAsia Energy. Months later, according to a New York Times report, Giustra donated more than $30 million to Clinton’s foundation — donations that remained secret for years. Uranium One obtained UrAsia Energy in 2007.
The next step
In 2008, then-President George W. Bush’s administration reached a nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia, but the deal was withdrawn from Senate consideration after Russia attacked Georgia.
President Obama reintroduced the agreement two years later.
Through the deal, Rosatom — Russia’s nuclear agency — gained a majority stake in Uranium One, and with it control of nearly 20% of the U.S. national uranium extraction capacity.
Four House Republicans — including Long Island Rep. Peter King — voiced criticism of the deal at the time due to national security concerns.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, among other members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, would have input over the deal. But the approval rested with Obama, not Clinton.
After the agreement was reached, people connected with Uranium One donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton also got $500,000 from a Kremlin-linked bank for a speech in Moscow.
Those donations weren’t initially disclosed — despite Hillary Clinton signing a memorandum of understanding — and the Clinton Foundation apologized.
A deeper look
Vadim Mikerin — director of TENEX, a subsidiary of Rosatom — was arrested in 2014 for money laundering and racketeering and later sentenced to four years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland claimed that Mikerin helped arrange “corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation.”
Mikerin was on the government’s radar before the Uranium One deal closed, but he was given a temporary work visa in 2011, which was renewed in 2014.
The Rosatom deal and Clinton connections were a focus of Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” The Government Accountability Institute — a conservative nonprofit founded by Schweizer and Steve Bannon, who would serve as Trump’s White House Chief Strategist — conducted research for the book.
Back in the news
The Hill recently resurfaced the story, and conservative outlets pounced. House Republicans, including King, announced that two probes would investigate the 2010 agreement.
Is there any evidence that Hillary Clinton ‘gave Russia 20% of American uranium’ to funnel money to her family?