Ever since Robert Mueller rolled out his first indictments, the main response from Donald Trump and his most diehard supporters has been typical–deflect, deflect, deflect. Their main deflection of choice has been Uranium One’s 2010 sale to Russia’s state-owned uranium monopoly, Rosatom.
For those who don’t remember, Hillary Clinton had to sign off on the deal since, as Secretary of State, she chaired the Committee on Foreign Investment–an inter-agency committee that reviews any business transactions with national security implications. To hear the right-wing fringe talk, Hillary greenlighted the sale of 20 percent of the country’s uranium production to Russia in return for Uranium One’s then-chairman donating over $2.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Never mind that the American facilities weren’t part of the deal, and produce low-grade ore in any event. And never mind that The Washington Post gave this line the same assessment as it did when Trump peddled it on the campaign trail in the fall of 2016–four Pinocchios.
But hey, such little things as facts never got in the way of a good conspiracy theory. For instance, just last week, Judge Jeanine Pirro wailed about how we don’t seem to be getting any answers abut Uranium One. Watch here.
Well, we recently got more evidence that this conspiracy theory is full of baloney. A person who could supposedly corroborate the line that the Uranium One deal was a pay-to-play move is a guy who probably can’t be trusted to tell the truth.
One of the star witnesses in congressional investigations into Uranium One is William Douglas Campbell. At the time of the Uranium One deal, Campbell was serving as an FBI informant during an investigation into Vadim Mikerin, the head of American operations at Tenex, a Rosatom subsidiary uninvolved in the deal. Campbell claims that the Obama administration greenlighted the sale even after he warned administration officials that Rosatom was thoroughly corrupt.
Campbell is prepared to testify that he has evidence Hillary approved the Uranium One deal in return for that generous donation to the Clinton Foundation. However, Yahoo! News’ Michael Isikoff discovered that Campbell may not exactly be the most reliable witness.
When Mekerin was brought to trial on charges of taking kickbacks from American companies doing business with Tenex, Campbell was slated to be a key witness for the prosecution. However, according to sources close to that trial, prosecutors were unable to corroborate many of Campbell’s depictions of key events. As a result, prosecutors were not only forced to cross him off the witness list, but to drop extortion charges that relied almost entirely on Campbell’s testimony.
According to one of those sources, prosecutors had to “restructure the case” against Mikerin after dropping Campbell as a witness. The evidence that remained, however, was enough that Mikerin pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to four years in federal prison.
When Campbell’s lawyer, Victoria Toensing, heard this, she claimed that any questions about her client’s credibility were a “smear job.” Toensing believes Campbell was cut out of the case because the Obama White House feared it would cripple efforts to “reset” relations with the Kremlin.
However, Reuters, who initially identified Campbell as the informant, spoke with two law enforcement officials who doubted that Campbell could offer any insight into Uranium One. They worked with Campbell when he was an informant, and didn’t recall him ever mentioning Uranium One.
Don’t be surprised if the Republicans aren’t dissuaded by questions about Campbell’s reliability. Remember, they pressed ahead with the investigation into the Benghazi attack even after they admitted there was nothing that could have been done to save those under siege at the embassy.
But if they take the same tack with Uranium One, it will be evidence that it, just like Benghazi, is a taxpayer-funded witch hunt.
(featured image: photo art courtesy Stream)