The Campaign Spot

Barrasso: ‘Uranium Has Left the United States . . . I Worry About Iran Getting This Uranium.’

A surprising exchange on Greta Van Susteren’s program last night, featuring Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican:

Van Susteren: Is the Nuclear Regulatory [Commission] now giving the license for these particular exports to this Russian company?

Barrasso: They have not given the — they were supposed to contact me immediately if there was even a request for a license to export —

Van Susteren: Has there been a request?

Barrasso: Not that I know, but I know that uranium has left the country. They have a number of different companies and shell organizations . . . 

Van Susteren: But not this — this Russian company hasn’t been able to take out the uranium, take it out of the country?

Barrasso: When you talk to people on the ground, uranium has left the United States. It has gone to Canada, has gone overseas and our concern is that it’s . . . at the fundamental of American uranium, 20 percent of our capacity here in the United States, and for nuclear power we need to import uranium. We continue to do that.

Nuclear power provides about 20 percent of the electricity for our country. I think there’s an issue of national security as well as energy security, and I worry about Iran getting this uranium.

Years ago, Barrasso was among those trying to say “no” to Hillary’s Russian uranium deal . . . 

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., where Uranium One’s largest U.S. operation was, wrote to President Obama, saying the deal “would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity.”

. . . but he was ignored.

Last night Barrasso also said:

We tried to throw the penalty flag early on. . . . We were very concerned from the standpoint of energy security for our country, and national security. Now you see Vladimir Putin owning 20 percent of American uranium, controlling that and we know Russia sends uranium to countries that are not our friends, that are our enemies, including Iran.

See, he told us so.

As noted in the Morning Jolt:

New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait comes to terms with the obvious:

When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money other than moral satisfaction or the chance to hobnob with celebrities. Some of them want preferential treatment from the State Department, and others want access to a potential future Clinton administration. To run a private operation where Bill Clinton will deliver a speech for a (huge) fee and a charity that raises money from some of the same clients is a difficult situation to navigate. To overlay that fraught situation onto Hillary’s ongoing and likely future government service makes it all much harder.

And yet the Clintons paid little to no attention to this problem . . . 

The Obama administration wanted Hillary Clinton to use official government email. She didn’t. The Obama administration also demanded that the Clinton Foundation disclose all its donors while she served as Secretary of State. It didn’t comply with that request, either.

The Clintons’ charitable initiatives were a kind of quasi-government run by themselves, which was staffed by their own loyalists and made up the rules as it went along.

This explains a bit about why the 2016 cycle could turn out to be another battle between a Clinton and a Bush. (For what it’s worth, I don’t think it will shake out this way.)

The presidency dominates American political life, making every ex-president the former boss of just about every middle-management or rising-star figure in his party. If you’re in politics, if you haven’t worked for a president, chances are you’re one degree of separation away from someone who worked for one.

(This was one of the things that made Barack Obama’s win over Hillary in the 2008 primary so improbable – she had all the veteran national-campaign staffers, pollsters, strategists, etc.)

George W. Bush casts a long shadow on the 2016 Republican field, far beyond his brother. Among those who worked for George W. Bush: Ted Cruz, who worked on the Bush 2000 campaign and in the Federal Trade Commission; Bobby Jindal, who was an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2003; Chris Christie, whom Bush appointed U.S. attorney for New Jersey; Rick Perry was Bush’s lieutenant governor in 1999 and 2000, and arguably Carly Fiorina, who served on CIA and State Department advisory committees during the Bush years.

The Clintons, Inc., make up a big slice of the professional class of the Democratic party. And the Bush Family, Inc., makes up a big slice of the professional class of the Republican Party.

And as we’ve seen . . . who in the party can tell a former president what he can and can’t do? Who in the Democratic party was willing to put his foot down and tell the Clintons “no”?

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