November 3, 2016

Who’s truly beholden to the Kremlin?


Dear Editor:

Let’s cut through the hysteria and examine the facts.

Long before Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump exchanged compliments, Bill Clinton received a phone call from Mr. Putin in 2010 thanking him personally for delivering a speech for $500,000, paid by a Russian investment bank that was promoting shares in a company that controlled 20 percent of America’s supply of uranium, a critical component in nuclear weapons.

The State Department, led by Hillary Clinton, signed off on the deal just two months after her husband’s speech, enabling the Russian state nuclear agency to not only acquire 20 percent of America’s uranium but also own the land in which the deposits are located.

She was also secretary of state when $145 million in donations reached the Clinton Foundation from the shareholders of the company that sold America’s uranium.

Yet that wasn’t the only money the Clintons raised from the Russians that resulted in the exchange for sensitive materials.

Out of 28 American, European and Russian companies that participated in the transfer of classified technology to the Skolkovo technology park outside of Moscow, 17 were Clinton Foundation donors or paid for speeches by Mr. Clinton.

By 2014, when Russia was invading Ukraine, the FBI issued “an extraordinary warning” to several technology companies involved with Skolkovo. The true motives of the Russians is to gain access to classified, sensitive and emerging technology from the companies, an FBI agent warned.

John Podesta, the chairman of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, sat on the executive board, alongside key Russian officials, of an energy company that received the FBI’s warning. That didn’t stop him from accepting $35 million from a Putin-connected government fund.

E-mails released by Wikileaks showed that Mr. Podesta continued to be involved in the company in 2015, even after the Russian invasion and after claiming to be divested. Furthermore, Mr. Podesta is reported to have received $5.25 million for his think tank, Center for American Progress, through a secretive chain of entities that could lead to Russian oligarchs, among them Ruben Vardanyan, who sat on the energy company board, according to the Government Accountability Institute.

Hillary Clinton supporters erupted in outrage when Mr. Trump hired Paul Manafort to help run his campaign. (Is it not a positive signal that Mr. Trump dumped him after such criticism?) But their silence was deafening when it was revealed in late August that Mr. Manafort hired the Podesta Group to lobby on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych’s allies in the Party of Regions.

The Podesta Group lobbied until 2014 to downplay the need for a congressional resolution to pressure Mr. Yanukovych to release Yulia Tymoshenko from prison, the Associated Press reported. Moreover, it failed to file the proper paperwork, making the lobbying illegal.

Clinton supporters also drummed up hysteria about Mr. Trump being too busy to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Yet that pales in comparison to the very same Mr. Podesta – having already taken millions as part of sensitive technology transfers – reacting with disinterest (as revealed by Wikileaks) to Victor Pinchuk’s pleas to get Mr. Clinton and a group of Western leaders to voice support for Ukraine as the Russian military aggression peaked in the winter of 2015.

Now the FBI has confirmed this week that its investigations of Mr. Trump, launched in the summer, have uncovered no ties to the Kremlin. Nothing. Nichoho. Zero.

Voters should consider that the Clintons and Mr. Podesta have far more questionable ties to the Kremlin, possibly criminal, than Mr. Trump and his entourage.