Russians Lobbied Clinton on Uranium One as Spies Infiltrated Her Inner Circle

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives at the airport in White Plains, New York, U.S. October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSRSH4

On Wednesday, a former FBI informant testified to three different congressional committees that Russian officials paid a lobbying firm to convince then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to approve the Uranium One deal. The effort came at a time when Russian nuclear executives were still working with Iran, and as Russian spies infiltrated Clinton's inner circle.

The informant, William Campbell, worked with Russian nuclear executives and provided extensive information to the FBI and the CIA for decades. His testimony led to the arrest and conviction of Vadim Mikerin โ€”a top official of the Russian nuclear arms subsidiary Tenex and later president of Tenam, the American subsidiary of the Russian government-owned firm Rosatom.

Campbell claimed that Mikerin and other executives lobbied Clinton, who served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to approve Rosatom's partial purchase of Uranium One, a Canadian mining company with rights to 20 percent of U.S. uranium. At the time, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speech at the Kremlin-connected investment bank Renaissance Capital, which was promoting Uranium One stock.

In a statement obtained by The Hill, Campbell claimed that the Russian government had hired the American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide because it could influence the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton specifically. Nuclear officials told Campbell "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 Clintons' Global Initiative."

The specific contract "called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months," Campbell wrote. "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 Worldwide emphatically denied Campbell's report, saying its work "on behalf of Tenex and The Clinton Global Initiative were totally separate and unconnected in any way."

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, also dismissed the informant's account. โ€œJust yesterday the committee made clear that this secret informant charade was just that, a charade," he insisted. "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."

Campbell's story went beyond APCO Worldwide, however. He wrote that Russian nuclear executives โ€œboastedโ€ about โ€œhow 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.โ€

According to U.S. government figures from 2016, the U.S. imports more than 90 percent of the uranium for nuclear reactors. Campbell testified that he was bothered by the Russian attempts to infiltrate the U.S. uranium market.