For most of the week, the political world has been looking at Devin Nunes’ supposed bombshell memo and asking, “Where’s the beef?” But that’s not the only Republican-flavored alternative fact that has recently been exposed as a nothing burger. Earlier this week, one of the most insidious smears leveled against Hillary Clinton had a fork stuck in it–by Donald Trump’s own Justice Department.
Almost from the moment Robert Mueller announced his first round of indictments, Trump diehards have tried to deflect our attention to Hillary Clinton’s supposed role in the sale of Uranium One to Russia’s state-owned uranium monopoly, Rosatom. As the story supposedly goes, Hillary, then Secretary of State, greenlighted the sale in return for Uranium One’s chairman making a sizable donation to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary had a major role in approving the deal because Uranium One owned 20 percent of American uranium production, which meant the deal had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment, an inter-agency committee that reviews all business transactions with national security implications.
For some time, Trump apologists have sung the praises of William Campbell, a former FBI informant. Campbell was originally helping the FBI bolster its case against Vadim Mikerin, head of American operations at a Rosatom subsidiary; Mikerin was suspected of taking kickbacks from American companies who wanted to do business with him. Campbell has claimed that the Obama administration ignored his warnings that Rosatom was shot through with corruption. He also claims to have evidence the Uranium One deal was a quid pro quo.
But Campbell has some serious credibility issues. When it came time for Mikerin to be brought to trial, prosecutors were unable to corroborate many of Campbell’s claims. Indeed, they thought he was so unreliable that they were forced to drop him as a witness and completely restructure their case to exclude a number of charges that relied solely on Campbell. Ultimately, Mikerin was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to four years in prison.
As has been amply demonstrated, such little things as facts never dissuaded the GOP before. Campbell was a star witness at numerous Republican congressional investigations into Uranium One. Just this week, in written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Intelligence committees, Campbell claims that Russia funneled millions of dollars to an American lobbying firm with the expectation that it would end up in the Clinton Foundation’s coffers while Hillary orchestrated a “reset” in relations between Washington and the Kremlin.
But now it appears that testimony, like Campbell’s other statements, has zero credibility. On Tuesday, Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Adam Schiff of California–the ranking Democrats on the House Oversight and Intelligence committees, respectively–revealed that senior Justice Department officials told Republican and Democratic staffers at a December briefing that Campbell never provided “any allegation of corruption, illegality, or impropriety” about the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation, or Uranium One. This corroborates what two law enforcement officials who worked with Campbell previously told Reuters in November.
Cummings and Schiff say that at that briefing, Justice Department officials reiterated what we already know–Campbell was dropped as a witness in the Mikerin case when prosecutors were unable to corroborate his statements. But it turns out that prosecutors had also discovered that Campbell had not only engaged in illegal activity “earlier than he initially disclosed,” but that he had hidden those crimes from the FBI. As a result, the Justice Department does not intend to rely any further on Campbell’s testimony.
Apparently such little matters as credibility don’t matter to the deplorables.
The FBI informant who spent 6 years Undercover and documented and has audio tapes exposing the uranium one scandal, has been testifying for the last 2 hours. We have two of the biggest scandals in the history of America, committed by many of the same people, being exposed now
— Stonewall Jackson (@1776Stonewall) February 7, 2018
An FBI informant who spent 6 yrs documenting & has audio tapes exposing #UraniumOne has testified today.
— BRIAN FRASER (@bfraser747) February 7, 2018
The FBI is having such a bad week they will write about it in history books.
👉Testifying right now, William Campbell FBI informant. Remember the name.
— Queen Boudicca (@HumanityIsFree) February 7, 2018
ARREST THESE #TRAITORS FOR TREASON#Barack#Hillary#Schumer#Mueller#Comey#McCabe#Rosenstein#Clapper#Brennan#SusanRice#HumaAbedin#Jarrett#Soros
PROSECUTE THEM by #MilitaryTribunal#UraniumOneIsTreason pic.twitter.com/1VbDuJI5Cu
— UraniumOneTreason (@Uranium1Treason) February 7, 2018
— #ReleaseTheMemes (@VanessLadzinski) February 7, 2018
Campbell was slated to talk with Republicans on the Oversight Committee on Wednesday, but committee chairman Trey Gowdy had no plans to transcribe it. In a letter to Gowdy and Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, Cummings and Schiff demanded a transcript of the interview in order to provide “a full and complete record” of Campbell’s remarks–especially since the Justice Department has provided information “directly at odds with the wild claims” that have been flying around in the last few months.
So for several months, Trump diehards have been singing the praises of a man who could not be relied upon to testify in court. What’s wrong with this picture?
(featured image: photo art courtesy Stream)