The big story this week is that the FBI uncovered a Moscow bribery plot just before the Obama Administration approved the transfer of 20 per cent of American uranium into the hands of the Russians.
And who precisely were the Russkies trying to bribe?
They also obtained an eyewitness account â€” backed by documents â€” 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.
Fancy that! A racketeering scheme centered on the Clintons! Who'da thunk it? Other names in the story have a weary familiarity, too:
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.
Unlike the current "Russia investigation", where details of dawn raids on Paul Manafort are gaily leaked hither and yon, Mueller and Comey managed to keep the lid on this one for the six-plus years it was active. And happily it doesn't seem to have obstructed either the Clintons' or the Russians' mutually beneficial relationship:
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.
Hmm. Uranium One... Rosatom... Where have I heard those names before? Oh, yeah. From me, two-and-a-half years ago - April 27th 2015:
One of the lessons learned by the Clintons back in the Nineties is that, if you're gonna have a scandal, have a hundred of 'em. And then it's all too complicated and just gives everyone a big headache, and they go back to watching "Friends" or "Baywatch" or whatever it was back then. When a scandal gets too easy to follow, that's where the danger lies.
As things stand, Vladimir Putin has wound up with control of 20 per cent of American uranium production.
That's almost too funny an update of the line variously attributed to Lenin, Stalin and others: "The capitalists will sell us the rope by which we will hang them." In this case, we've sold Putin the uranium by which he will nuke us. As the Russian news agency TASS reported two years ago:
'MOSCOW, May 22 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's nuclear power corporation Rosatom controls 20 percent of all uranium reserves in the United States, the corporation's chief, Sergei Kiriyenko told the State Duma on Wednesday...
'"I am pleased to inform you that today we control 20 percent of uranium in the United States. If we need that uranium, we shall be able to use it any time," Kiriyenko said.'
Great! By the way, before he became America's fastest rising uranium executive, Mr Kiriyenko was Prime Minister of Russia.
In return for facilitating the transfer to Putin of one-fifth of US uranium, the Clintons were given tens of millions of dollars by Vancouver businessman Frank Giustra (the founder of "Uranium One" in its pre-Putin days) and various of his associates. In 2006, Mr Giustra told The New Yorker:
"All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton," he said. "He's a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can."
Oh, my mistake. When I said Giustra and his pals had given over $100 million to "the Clintons", I meant they gave it to "The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation" - or its Canadian subsidiary, established after Hillary had signed a disclosure agreement for the US foundation with the Obama Administration and, being Canadian, thus exempt from the disclosure agreement. At least as Bill and Hillary's lawyers read it.
There is no Clinton "Foundation" - in the sense of a body that engages in charitable activities and does good works. As I said to Hugh Hewitt on the radio all those years ago:
Well wait, but just a minute, Hugh, there is no 'Clinton Foundation'... The only purpose of this foundation is to enable this family to lead the lifestyle of a head of state after it has ceased to be head of state.
And the only reason anyone ponied up money to the "foundation" is that it was assumed a Clinton would be head of state again in a couple of years - just as the tedious requirements of the Russian constitution required Putin to take a break (albeit entirely nominally) from being head of state for a couple of years. After November 8th, the price for Clinton speeches mysteriously dropped 98 per cent - so the Clintons closed their "foundation". But by then it had served its purpose.
Everybody who knows anything about charity knows the truth about the Clinton "Foundation" - as The New York Post reported, also all those years ago:
The Clinton Foundation's finances are so messy that the nation's most influential charity watchdog put it on its "watch list" of problematic nonprofits last month.
The Clinton family's mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.
The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.
Indeed. Me again, from April 2015:
For example, Chelsea's chum Eric Braverman was paid $275,000 for five months' work. In Clintonworld, charity begins at home. So, if, like all these big-hearted Saudi princes and Canuck uranium execs, you give money to the Clinton Foundation because you care about starving Third World urchins, for every million bucks you hand over, a full 64 grand goes to the Third World urchins and the remaining $936,000 is the processing fee. Paul Mirengoff cautions:
'It's important to note that the Clinton Foundation's status as a problematic charity is distinct from the "Clinton cash" issue that Peter Schweizer and others have highlighted. "Clinton cash" focuses on the fundraising methods used by the Clintons. Specifically, there are substantial allegations that they raise money in part because nations and wealthy individuals hope to influence U.S. policy through their donations, and very possibly have succeeded in doing so.
'The problem flagged by Charity Navigator and other watchdogs focuses on what the Clinton Foundation does with the money it raises (whether ethically or not). The Foundation's profligacy and failure to spend a significant percentage of its funds on its alleged mission would be of concern even if there were no ethical problems associated with the Clintons' fundraising.'
That's true. But it does undermine the Clinton courties' defense for all the funny money that's rolled in - that all these Saudis are ponying up for Bill and Hill because they want to improve women's rights in Africa; that Kazakh oligarchs are so generous because they want to reduce diarrhea outbreaks in Africa. Which is why Chelsea gets 75 grand a pop to give dull speeches about diarrhea. But, assuming for the purposes of argument that the House of Saud really did want to promote women's rights in the Third World, why would they do it through the Clintons and see 94 per cent of it get sluiced off before it got anywhere near Africa?
What Charity Navigator calls the Clinton Foundation's "atypical business model" is, in fact, the point of the operation. The Saudis, Kazakhs, Canucks et al are giving to the Clintons - and that six per cent to emaciated Africans is merely the equivalent of that moment at the supermarket checkout when the clerk tallies up your $150 of groceries and asks if you'd like to give a buck to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But, as I said, let's keep it simple: As Sergei Kiriyenko told the Russian Duma, Tsar Putin now owns a fifth of US uranium - in return for Bill and Hill's slush fund getting a hundred million bucks.
To modify Lady Macbeth, not all the diarrhea in Africa can wash away the stench of the Clinton Foundation.
Only at the FBI could you investigate the Clinton uranium deal for over six years - until Hillary is too far advanced on her path to the Democrat nomination for it to be politically feasible to stop her. Fifty per cent of America remains committed to not noticing the stench of the Clinton "Foundation" ...and not seeing any - what's the word? - collusion between Bill and Hill's hundred mil and Vladimir Putin's mountain of uranium. Here's more from that Hugh Hewitt interview:
It turns out that, while we were all worrying about the mullahs' nuclear program, the Clintons' nuclear program was going gangbusters. Kazakhquiddick dominated the conversation on my weekly chat with Hugh Hewitt:
HUGH HEWITT: I'm looking at an extraordinary article â€“ Cash Flowed To Clinton Foundation As Russians Press For Control Of Uranium Company. It's by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire from today's New York Times. It's almost unfathomable that Hillary Clinton would consider running for president after this article comes out, but what say you, Mark Steyn?
MARK STEYN: Yes, I agree. And I like Elizabeth Warren, and I want her to run. And when I say 'like', don't get me wrong - I think she would be a disastrous president for this country, and she would want to turn it into a socialist basket case. But she believes in something, and she wants to do something. And Hillary Clinton is an entirely hollow creation. She is basically just an empty vessel in which the dodgiest characters on the planet pour money in return for favors. And I regret to say her daughter is becoming much the same kind of thing, too. Her daughter's joined the family on stage with this Kazakh oligarch and all the rest of it. In fairness to Bill Clinton, he likes chasing nymphettes - he's the only Clinton with a human characteristic...
HH: Now I don't want to overstate the complexity, but in a nutshell, Russia has cornered the world uranium market.
HH: They have done so through acquiring huge uranium resources in Canada and the United State subject to review by the State Department was given, and Bill Clinton pocketed a half million along the way, and the foundation picked up two and a half million bucks from interested parties...
I think I've mentioned before that, for a while, the US Department of Labor used to call up my assistant once a year and demand to know whether we "worked with uranium". And once in a while they'd insist on speaking to me personally and I'd say, "Hmm. Let me have a think on that. Did we use any uranium in my Christmas disco single? No, wait, that was bongos..."
And, when they'd gone away, I used occasionally to wonder how many American businesses the vast federal bureaucracy had to harass before they got a positive response to that question. But it turns out that, if the Department of Labor were to call up the Clinton Foundation, which Hill's impressionable rubes seem to think is something to do with reducing diarrhea outbreaks in Africa, and ask them, "Do you work with uranium?", the answer is yes.
On the radio, I made one of my very rare interruptions of Hugh - because the big cynical American lawyer guy was for once sweetly naÃ¯ve enough to think that there is an actual thing called the "Clinton Foundation" that does "foundation"-type work:
HH: I'm going to ask after the break, Mark Steyn, Lindsey Graham, whether or not Senate hearings are in order, because I want to know if Iran has given money to the Clinton Foundation. Honestly, at this point...
MS: Well wait, but just a minute, Hugh, there is no 'Clinton Foundation'... The only purpose of this foundation is to enable this family to lead the lifestyle of a head of state after it has ceased to be head of state. They spent $70 million dollars on travel at the Clinton Foundation. By comparison, the entire Royal Family, to fly between their various realms - the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, that's a lot of air miles - the entire Royal Family in one year spent $7 million dollars. So in other words, the Clintons have ten times the airplane costs of the Royal Family, who are heads of state of dozens of bits of real estate around the world. The Clinton Foundation is a hollow shell foundation playing the usual shell game with U.S. taxation. There's no need for a Clinton Foundation except for them to rake in money from Kazakhs and Ukrainians and Iranians and Saudis and everybody else...
If this sleazy uranium'n'jailbait operation is returned to the White House, the republic is over.
Well, America dodged that bullet. But forget the jailbait. The Clinton Foundation's de facto DBA is Uranium & Diarrhea, Inc.
Any chance justice will finally come a-callin' for the Clintons? I suppose anything's possible. To get away with the "Foundation" scam for as long as Bill and Hill did would be a challenge for most of us. To do it under a six-year Mueller/Comey FBI investigation testifies yet again to the uniquely charmed lives these two lead...
~As always, Mark Steyn Club members should feel free to treat him like an outbreak of African diarrhea all over the comments section.
Speaking of The Mark Steyn Club, check back with us for the latest episode in our Tales for Our Time. If you're not yet a member, there's still time to join and hear his latest crackerjack audio adventure from Part One all the way to the end.