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Bill Clinton’s $500,000 Moscow speaking gig called into question as part of Uranium One bribery scandal (Video)

The “real” Russia scandal deepens.

Alex Christoforou

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The corruption surrounding Bill and Hillary Clinton continues to grow with each passing day.

The Hill is reporting that as Bill Clinton prepared to collect a $500,000 payday from Renaissance Capital for a speech in Moscow in 2010, the former POTUS also sought permission from the Hillary Clinton run State Department to meet with a key Russian nuclear energy firm official.

According to The Hill, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.

For Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the “real” Russia scandal deepens, as he discusses this latest development with John Solomon, who broke the Uranium One story wide open last week

More from Solomon via The Hill

“In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

The email went to two of Hillary Clinton’s most senior advisers, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.

The approval question, however, sat inside State for nearly two weeks without an answer, prompting Desai to make multiple pleas for a decision.

“Dear Jake, we urgently need feedback on this. Thanks, Ami,” the former president’s aide wrote in early June.

Sullivan finally responded on June 7, 2010, asking a fellow State official “What’s the deal w this?”

The documents don’t indicate what decision the State Department finally made. But current and former aides to both Clintons told The Hill on Thursday the request to meet the various Russians came from other people, and the ex-president’s aides and State decided in the end not to hold any of the meetings with the Russians on the list.

Bill Clinton instead got together with Vladimir Putin at the Russian leader’s private homestead.

“Requests of this type were run by the State Department as a matter of course. This was yet another one of those instances. Ultimately, President Clinton did not meet with these people,” Angel Urena, the official spokesperson for the former president, told The Hill.

Aides to the ex-president, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation said Bill Clinton did not have any conversations about Rosatom or the Uranium One deal while in Russia, and that no one connected to the deal was involved in the trip.

A spokesman for Secretary Clinton said Thursday the continued focus on the Uranium One deal smacked of partisan politics aimed at benefiting Donald Trump.

“At every turn this storyline has been debunked on the merits. Its roots are with a project shepherded by Steve Bannon, which should tell you all you need to know,” said Nick Merrill. “This latest iteration is simply more of the right doing Trump’s bidding for him to distract from his own Russia problems, which are real and a grave threat to our national security.”

Current and former Clinton aides told The Hill that the list of proposed business executives the former president planned to meet raised some sensitivities after Bill Clinton’s speaker bureau got the invite for the lucrative speech.

Hillary Clinton had just returned from Moscow and there were concerns about the appearance of her husband meeting with officials so soon after.

In addition, two of the Russians on the former president’s list had pending business that would be intersecting with State.

The first was Dvorkovich, who was a chief deputy to Medvedev and one of the Russian nuclear power industry’s cheerleaders. He also sat on the supervisory board of Rosatom, the state owned atomic energy company that was in the midst of buying a Canadian uranium company called Uranium One

The deal required approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an intergovernmental panel represented by 14 departments and offices that approve transactions and investments by foreign companies for national security purposes. Approval meant that control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium production would be shifting to the Russian-owned Rosatom’s control.

CFIUS approved the transaction in October 2010, saying there was no national security concerns. Hillary Clinton has said she did not intervene in the matter and instead delegated the decision to a lower official, who said he got no pressure from the secretary on any CFIUS matters. Any one of the participating offices and departments could have sought to block the deal by requesting intervention by the president.

The Hill reported earlier this week that the FBI had uncovered evidence that Russian nuclear officials were engaged in a massive bribery scheme before CFIUS approved the deal, raising new questions in Congress and drawing attention from President Trump. Uranium “is the real Russia story,” he told reporters, accusing news media of ignoring the new developments reported in The Hill.

The second person on the list that caught attention was Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg.

Two days after Hillary Clinton’s visit to Russia, Vekselberg was named by Medvedev to oversee a new technology investment project called Skolkovo, designed to be Russia’s new Silicon Valley, according to media reports.

Hillary Clinton had directly discussed the Skolkovo project with Medvedev, and her State Department was whipping up support for it among U.S. companies, creating the potential appearance for a conflict. She even attended a major event with the Russians in 2010 to promote the project.

“We want to help because we think that it’s in everyone’s interest do so,” she was quoted as saying at the time.

A third issue that emerged was Renaissance Capital, a Russian bank that actually paid the $500,000 speaking fee to the former president for his 90-minute June 29, 2010, speech, one of the largest one-day fees Bill Clinton ever earned.

Renaissance Capital had ties with the Kremlin and was talking up the Uranium One purchase in 2010, giving it an encouraging investment rating in Russia right at the time the U.S. was considering approval of the uranium sale, according to reports in The New York Times in 2015.

The Hill was alerted to Bill Clinton’s attempted meeting with Dvorkovich from a nonpolitical source involved in the FBI investigation into Russian nuclear corruption. The Hill then scoured through thousands of pages of documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests over the past four years and located the Bill Clinton emails in a batch delivered to the conservative group Citizens United.

The head of that group, David Bossie, said Thursday the documents forced into the public by federal lawsuits continue to shed light on new questions arising from Hillary Clinton’s time at State, and that Citizens United still gets documents released almost every month.

“Citizens United continues to unearth important information about the relationship between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation through our ongoing investigations and litigation,” he said.

A source familiar with that FBI investigation says an undercover informant that Congress is currently trying to interview possesses new information about what Russian nuclear officials were doing to try to win approval of the Uranium One deal.

The importance of CFIUS’s approval was highlighted in Rosatom’s annual 2010 report that listed Dvorkovich as one of its supervisor board directors. The report crowed the U.S. approval was one of its most “striking events” of the year and allowed Russia to begin “uranium mining in the United States.”

The head of Rosatom boasted in the report that the Uranium One deal was part of a larger Putin strategy to strengthen “Russia’s prestige as a leader of the world nuclear industry.”

Inside the Clintons’ inner circle, there also was a debate in 2010.

A close associate of Bill Clinton who was directly involved in the Moscow trip and spoke on condition of anonymity, described to The Hill the circumstances surrounding how Bill Clinton landed a $500,000 speaking gig in Russia and then came up with the list of Russians he wanted to meet.

The friend said Hillary Clinton had just returned in late March 2010 from an official trip to Moscow where she met with both Putin and Medvedev. The president’s speaker’s bureau had just received an offer from Renaissance Capital to pay the former president $500,000 for a single speech in Russia.

Documents show Bill Clinton’s personal lawyer on April 5, 2010, sent a conflict of interest review to the State Department asking for permission to give the speech in late June, and it was approved two days later.

The Clinton friend said the former president’s office then began assembling a list of requests to meet with Russian business and government executives whom he could meet on the trip. One of the goals of the trip was to try to help a Clinton family relative “grow investments in their business with Russian oligarchs and other businesses,” the friend told The Hill.

“It was one of the untold stories of the Russia trip. People have focused on Uranium One and the speaking fees, but opening up a business spigot for the family business was one only us insiders knew about,” the friend said.

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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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European Council crushes Theresa May’s soft Brexit dream (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May hoped that the European Council was ready to see things her way, in terms of proceeding with a soft Brexit, which was essentially no Brexit at all…at least not the hard Brexit that was voted on in a democratic referendum approximately two years ago.

Much to May’s surprise, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a death blow verdict for May’s Brexit, noting that EU leaders are in full agreement that Chequers plan for Brexit “will not work” because “it risks undermining the single market.”

Without a miracle compromise springing up come during the October summit, the UK will drift into the March 29, 2019 deadline without a deal and out of the European Union…which was initially what was voted for way back in 2016, leaving everyone asking, what the hell was May doing wasting Britain’s time and resources for two years, so as to return back to the hard Brexit terms she was charged with carrying forward after the 2016 referendum?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss what was a disastrous EU summit in Salzburg for UK PM Theresa May, in what looks to be the final nail in May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister, as a hard Brexit now seems all but certain.

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Via Zerohedge

Tusk was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit. He said that while there were “positive elements” in May’s Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk cannot be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” Tusk said. He also said that he could not “exclude” the possibility that the UK could exit the EU in March with no deal.

May has been urging her European counterparts to accept her controversial Chequers plan which has split both the Conservative party and the broader UK population after it was thrashed out back in July. However, despite the painfully-slow negotiation process, which appears to have made little headway with just a few months left, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019 – with or without an exit deal.

The main sticking point that has emerged, and left May and the EU at loggerheads, has been how to avoid new checks on the Irish border. May has claimed that her proposals were the “only serious, credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. She said during a press conference after the Salzburg meeting that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a Northern Ireland hard border. She said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

May also said that there was “a lot of hard work to be done,” adding that the UK was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the EU without a deal. Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, and that “if the conditions are there” another summit would be held in November to “formalize” it.

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Russia makes HUGE strides in drone technology

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The US and Israel are universally recognized leaders in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Thousands of American and Israeli UAVs are operating across the world daily.

The US military has recently successfully tested an air-to-air missile to turn its MQ-9 Reaper drone into an effective long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance unmanned spy aircraft capable of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air missions. This is a major breakthrough. It’s not a secret that Russia has been lagging behind in UAV development. Now its seems to be going to change with tangible progress made to narrow the gap.

Very few nations boast drones capable of high-altitude long endurance (HALE) missions. Russia is to enter the club of the chosen. In late 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry awarded a HALE UAV contract to the Kazan-based Simonov design bureau.

This month, Russian Zvezda military news TV channel showed a video (below) of Altair (Altius) heavy drone prototype aircraft number “03”, going through its first flight test.

Propelled by two RED A03/V12 500hp high fuel efficiency diesel engines, each producing a capacity of 500 hp on takeoff, the 5-ton heavy vehicle with a wingspan of 28.5 meters boasts a maximum altitude of 12km and a range of 10,000km at a cruising speed of 150-250km/h.

Wingspan: about 30 meters. Maximum speed: up to 950 km/h. Flight endurance: 48 hours. Payload: two tons, which allows the creation of a strike version. The vehicle is able to autonomously take off and land or be guided by an operator from the ground.

The UAV can carry the usual range of optical and thermal sensors as well as synthetic-aperture ground-surveillance radar with the resolution of .1 meter at the range of 35km and 1 meter at the range of 125km. The communications equipment allows real-time data exchange.

Russia’s UAV program currently underway includes the development of a range of large, small, and mid-sized drones. The Orion-E medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV was unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show. Its developer, Kronstadt Technologies, claims it could be modified for strike missions. The one-ton drone is going through testing now. The Orion-E is capable of automatic takeoff and landing.

It can fly continuously for 24 hours, carrying a surveillance payload of up to 200 kg to include a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret, synthetic aperture radar and high resolution cameras. The drone can reach a maximum altitude of 7,500 m. Its range is 250 km.

The Sukhoi design bureau is currently developing the Okhotnik (Hunter) strike drone with a range of about 3,500km. The drone made its maiden flight this year. In its current capacity, it has an anti-radar coating, and will store missiles and precision-guided bombs internally to avoid radar detection.

The Kazan-based Eniks Design Bureau is working on the small T-16 weaponized aerial vehicle able to carry 6 kg of payload.

The new Russian Korsar (Corsair) tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be upgraded to receive an electronic warfare system. Its operational range will be increased from 150km to 250km. The drone was revealed at Victory Day military parade along with the Korsar unmanned combat helicopter version.

The rotary wing drone lacks the speed and altitude of the fixed wing variant, but has a great advantage of being able to operate without landing strips and can be sea-based. Both drones can carry guided and unguided munitions. The fixed-wing version can be armed with Ataka 9M120 missiles.

The first Russian helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells was presented at the Army-2018 international forum. With the horizontal cruising speed of the drone up to 60 kph, the unmanned chopper can stay in the air at least 2.5 hours to conduct reconnaissance operations. Its payload is up to 5 kg.

Last November, the Kalashnikov Concern reported that it would start production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying up to several tons of cargo and operating for several days at a time without needing to recharge.

All in all, the Russian military operate 1,900 drones on a daily basis. The multi-purpose Orlan-10 with a range of 600km has become a working horse that no military operation, including combat actions in Syria, can be conducted without. Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov,
the head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Russian drones performed over 23,000 flights, lasting 140,000 hours in total.

Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 puts the creation of armed UAVs at the top of priorities’ list. Looks like the effort begins to pay off. Russia is well on the way to become second to none in UAV capability.

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Via Strategic Culture

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