An FBI informant told three congressional committees in a written statement that Moscow routed millions to America with the expectation it would benefit Bill Clinton’s charitable efforts as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed through a “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations, the Hill reported.
The informant, Douglas Campbell, said in the statement, which was obtained by the Hill, that Russian nuclear executives told him Moscow hired American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide because it would influence the Obama administration and specifically Hillary Clinton.
Campbell testified, according to the Hill, that Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clinton’s Global Initiative.”
“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over 12 months. APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement. “
APCO officials told the Hill that its support for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and its work with Russia were not connected in any way, and involved different divisions of the firm. They also said their lobbying for Russia did not involve Uranium One but instead focused on regulatory issues aimed at helping Russia better compete for nuclear fuel contracts inside the United States.
“APCO Worldwide’s activities involving client work on behalf of Tenex and The Clinton Global Initiative were totally separate and unconnected in any way,” APCO told the Hill in a statement. “All actions on these two unconnected activities were appropriate, publicly documented from the outset and consistent with regulations and the law. Any assertion otherwise is false and unfounded.”
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill Campbell’s testimony is part of a GOP effort to distract investigators from President Trump’s “problems.”
“Just yesterday the committee made clear that this secret informant charade was just that, a charade. Along with the widely debunked text-message-gate and Nunes’ embarrassing memo episode, we have a trifecta of GOP-manufactured scandals designed to distract from their own President’s problems and the threat to democracy he poses,” he told the Hill.
Campbell on Wednesday testified before staff from both parties on the Senate Judiciary, House Intelligence and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, asserted in a letter this week that Justice Department officials told both parties during a briefing in December that they ultimately found they “could not trust” Campbell when he was working as an FBI informant.
Republicans note that the FBI found Campbell’s undercover work valuable enough to reward him with a $50,000 check in 2016.
“My FBI handlers praised my work. They told me on various occasions that details from the undercover probe had been briefed directly to FBI top officials. On two occasions my handlers were particularly excited, claiming that my undercover work had been briefed to President Obama as part of his daily presidential briefing,” he said in the testimony.
Campbell said in his testimony that Obama administration officials made decisions that benefitted the Russian nuclear industry, which was seeking to build a monopoly in the global uranium market to help President Vladimir Putin seek geopolitical advantage over the U.S.
He wrote that wrote that Russian nuclear executives “boasted” during vodka-fueled meetings monitored by the FBI about “how weak the U.S. government was in giving away uranium business and were confident that Russia would secure the strategic advantage it was seeking in the U.S. uranium market.”
Campbell said he asked his FBI handlers why the U.S. was not more aggressive.
“I expressed these concerns repeatedly to my FBI handlers. The response I got was that politics was somehow involved,” he said.
GOP investigators are interested in how Campbell’s experience connects with the Obama administration’s approval of the Uranium One deal, which gave Russian mining giant Rosatom control of roughly 20 percent of the U.S.’s capacity to mine uranium.
That deal was approved unanimously in 2010 by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a multi-agency board that includes the State, Defense, and Justice Departments, in addition to other agencies. The purpose of CFIUS is to block deals that could threaten U.S. national security.
Clinton was secretary of state at the time the deal went through, although Clinton associates say she had nothing to do with it.
Meanwhile, Campbell had helped the FBI gather evidence as early as 2009 that the Russian nuclear industry was engaged in a kickback, bribery and racketeering scheme on U.S. soil, the Hill reported last fall. The scheme compromised the U.S. trucking firm that had the sensitive job of transporting uranium around America.
Campbell said he provided the FBI that evidence months before the Obama administration approved a series of favorable decisions that enriched Rosatom, including the Uranium One deal.
Campbell could not discuss the case with Congress until the Justice Department freed him to do so last year.
He also gave congressional committees documents he said he provided to his FBI handlers in 2010 showing that the Russian and American executives implicated in the Tenex bribery scheme specifically asked him to try to help get the Uranium One deal approved by the Obama administration.
According to the Hill, Campbell said:
“In 2010, officials inside Tenex became interested in helping another Rosatom subsidiary, ARMZ, win Obama administration approval to purchase Uranium One, a Canadian company with massive Kazakh and large U.S. uranium assets.
“Although Tenex and ARMZ are separate subsidiaries, Tenex had its own interest in Uranium One. Tenex would become responsible for finding commercial markets and revenue for those uranium assets once they were mined.
“The emails and documents I intercepted during 2010 made clear that Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One – for both its Kazakh and American assets – was part of Russia’s geopolitical strategy to gain leverage in global energy markets.
“I obtained documentary proof that Tenex was helping Rosatom win CFIUS approval, including an October 6, 2010 email … asking me specifically to help overcome opposition to the Uranium One deal.”
Campbell said the purchase of the Uranium One assets and the securing of billions of new uranium sales contracts inside the U.S. during the Obama years were part of the “Russian uranium dominance strategy.”
“The importance of the Uranium One decision to Tenex was made clear by the fact that the Russian government directed Mikerin to open a new U.S. office for Tenex and to create a new American entity called Tenam in early October 2010, just weeks before Rosatom and ARMZ won the Obama administration approval to buy Uranium One,” he said, according to the testimony.
“Rosatom/Tenex threw a party to celebrate, which was widely attended by American nuclear industry officials. At the request of the FBI, I attended and recorded video footage of Tenam’s new offices,” he said.
Campbell also testified that under the FBI’s direction, he conducted a failed sting effort to lure Putin to the United States and gathered evidence that Russia was helping Iran build its nuclear capability.
He gave Congress an April 16, 2010, memo he said he wrote and gave to the FBI that spelled out Russian efforts to aid Iran.
“Tenex continues to supply Iran fuel through their Russian company,” he wrote in that memo, obtained by the Hill. “They continue to assist with construction consult [sic] and fabricated assemblies to supply the reactor. Fabricated assemblies require sophisticated engineering and are arranged inside the reactor with the help and consult” of Russians.
“The final fabricators to Iran are being flown by Russian air transport due to the sensitive nature of the equipment,” his 2010 memo to the FBI added.
Campbell also said he was never reimbursed by the FBI for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he used of his own money to make bribe payments under the FBI’s direction to the Russians to facilitate his cover.
Campbell said what he witnessed frustrated him.
“I was frustrated watching the U.S. government make numerous decisions benefiting Rosatom and Tenex while those entities were engaged in serious criminal conduct on U.S. soil,” he wrote.
“Tenex and Rosatom were raking in billions of U.S. dollars by signing contracts with American nuclear utility clients at the same time they were indulging in extortion by using threats to get bribes and kickbacks, with a portion going to Russia for high ranking officials.”