Strolling one afternoon near Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue and West 34th Street, I spotted two tourists with their faces nestled in a map. They looked hopelessly lost.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
Thoroughly flummoxed, they pleaded, “Where’s the Empire State Building?”
I pointed straight up, one block east, and said: “It’s right there!”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team resemble those hapless travelers. They scour their visitors’ guide in vain for any trace of Team Trump’s alleged Russian collusion. Meanwhile, just steps away, the Clintons’ Russian-collusion skyscraper soars into the clouds.
In fact, former Trump-campaign aide Sam Nunberg said that Team Mueller asked him if he had heard anyone in Trump Tower speak Russian. Apparently, nyet.
Although they started sniffing around in July 2016, neither the FBI’s bloodhounds nor those of Mueller or Congress have detected a whiff of evidence that ties Trump to Russian collusion. Indeed, the House Intelligence Committee interviewed 70 witnesses and reviewed 300,000 documents before wrapping up its Russiagate inquiry last Thursday. As its final report states, “The Committee found no evidence that meetings between Trump associates — including Jeff Sessions — and official representatives of the Russian government — including [Moscow’s] Ambassador Kislyak — reflected collusion, coordination, or conspiracy with the Russian government.”
In contrast, Team Mueller studiously ignores something more conspicuous than the iridescent onion domes atop Red Square’s St. Basil’s Cathedral: Private interests that closed deals with Vladimir Putin and his agents — thanks to then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s public favors — gave the Clinton Foundation between $152 million and $173 million.
While this institution performed some charitable work, it also was the Clintons’ de facto slush fund. It operated a veritable full-employment program for the courtiers in Hillary’s “government in waiting” during the Obama years and financed much of the Clintons’ global travels. Donations to the Clinton Foundation were, in essence, gift-wrapped presents for the Clintons.
Hillary’s March 2009 button-pushing “Russian reset” ceremony with Moscow’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, triggered this particular bonanza. Hillary captured its essence in March 2010 when she told former Soviet propagandist Vladimir Pozner on First Channel TV: “Our goal is to help strengthen Russia.”
The Clintons also strengthened their coffers. Three key transactions compose their pro-Kremlin graft.
• “The Ex-Im Bank would welcome an application for financing from Rosavia to support its purchase of Boeing aircraft,” Hillary said in Moscow on October 13, 2009. Three days later, according to the Washington Post, “Boeing formally submitted its bid for the Russian deal.” Kremlin-owned Rostekhnologii decided on June 1, 2010, to buy up to 50 Boeing 737s for Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline. Price: $3.7 billion.
That August 17, Boeing gave the Clinton Foundation $900,000 to “help support the reconstruction of Haiti’s public-education system” after a severe earthquake the previous January.
• Hillary pushed Skolkovo, “a high-tech corridor in Russia modeled after our own Silicon Valley,” as she explained in Moscow in October 2009. Her State Department colleagues encouraged 22 top American venture capitalists to tour Skolkovo in May 2010.
State convinced Cisco, Google, and Intel, among others, to open shop in Skolkovo. By 2012, 28 “Key Partners” from the U.S., Europe, and Russia supported this project.
But the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program warned in 2013: “Skolkovo is arguably an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage.” Lucia Ziobro, a top FBI agent in Boston, explained in 2014: “The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive, and emerging technology from the companies.”
Never mind this threat to U.S. national security. The Clintons got paid. An August 2016 Government Accountability Institute study titled From Russia with Money reported that 17 of Skolkovo’s “Key Partners” plied Bill with speaking fees or gave the Clinton Foundation between $6.5 million and $23.5 million. (Some such donations, unfortunately, were reported in ranges, not precise sums.)
Despite top Republican lawmakers’ grave reservations, CFIUS approved Rosatom’s offer and handed the Kremlin one fifth of U.S. uranium supplies.
• Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, announced on June 8, 2010, a $1.3 billion bid for a majority stake in Canada’s Uranium One. Its assets included 20 percent of American reserves of the main ingredient in atomic bombs. Hillary was one of nine federal-agency chiefs on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which evaluated this strategically sensitive proposal. As America’s chief diplomat, Hillary could have sunk it. She didn’t. Despite top Republican lawmakers’ grave reservations, CFIUS approved Rosatom’s offer and handed the Kremlin one fifth of U.S. uranium supplies.
Before, during, and after CFIUS’s review, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer calculates, “shareholders involved in this transaction had transferred approximately $145 million to the Clinton Foundation or its initiatives.”
All told, the companies and investors in these Russia-strengthening deals gave the Clinton Foundation between $152 million and $173 million. If Robert Mueller seeks Russian collusion, it’s right there.