The Clintons’ Russia-Ukraine Grift
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quick to cast blame as war unfolded in Ukraine. On MSNBC last week, she blasted former President Trump for “giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin” with an offhand remark that the Russian president was a “genius.” Mrs. Clinton conveniently omitted mention that not too long ago, she and her husband had raked in millions working both sides of a Russia-Ukraine grift.
Judicial Watch broke the story of former president Bill Clinton’s multi-million-dollar haul from speech fees while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy. In a joint investigation with the Washington Examiner, Judicial Watch found that Mr. Clinton gave 215 speeches, taking in $48 million. According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch in Freedom of Information Act litigation, State Department officials charged with reviewing proposed Bill Clinton speeches for possible conflicts of interest did not object to a single one.
The speech fees included a jaw-dropping $500,000 check from the Russian investment firm Renaissance Capital for a single speech. Years later, leaked emails revealed the close connection between Renaissance Capital and Putin’s inner circle. Reuters reported that the emails show top Renaissance officials awarding an unspecified stake in the firm to Matthias Warnig, a close Putin ally. “Warnig served as an officer in East Germany’s Stasi secret police at the same time as Putin was a KGB officer in Dresden in the late 1980s,” Reuters noted.
The Clintons also cultivated a relationship with Putin-connected oligarch Victor Vekselberg, who donated an estimated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. In 2018, Vekselberg was one of seven oligarchs sanctioned by the Trump Administration for activities related to the Russian government’s “malign activity…including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine.”
According to findings by investigative reporter John Solomon, Vekselberg also was involved in the Uranium One controversy—another lucrative source of cash for the Clinton network. Uranium One was a Canadian uranium mining firm with U.S. holdings that the Russians wanted to buy. The vehicle for the purchase was Rosatom, the Russian state atomic energy corporation. Because uranium is a strategic asset, the U.S. government had to approve deal. Enter Vekselberg and Secretary of State Clinton.
At the time of Bill Clinton’s $500,000 Russian speaking engagement, the former president sought permission from the State Department to meet with Vekselberg and Arkady Dvorkovich, a senior official of Rosatom, during the Moscow trip. Russia needed sign-off from the State Department on the inter-agency panel responsible for deciding the fate of the deal.
You don’t need to be a genius to connect the dots between a $500,000 “speaking fee,” a trip to Moscow, and Russia’s goal of cornering a big chunk of the global uranium market.
The sale of Uranium One to Rosatom was approved by both the U.S. and Canadian governments. In the years surrounding the deal—including before it became public knowledge—entities connected to Uranium One donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.
The Clintons had a Ukrainian benefactor as well. According to a New York Times report, Ukrainian oligarch and steel baron Victor Pinchuk steered between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, loaned his private plane to the Clintons, flew to LA to attend Mr. Clinton’s big 65th birthday party, and went to a dinner party at the Clintons’ home. Pinchuk hired Doug Schoen, Mr. Clinton’s former consultant, to arrange meetings with State Department officials to discuss Ukraine. Pinchuk also donated $150,000 to the Trump Foundation.
Pinchuk has been embroiled in controversies in Ukraine for years, but he has never been charged with a crime. In 2013, the Commerce Department began investigating complaints that Pinchuk and others were illegally dumping steel on the U.S. market. The investigation went nowhere. According to recent reporting, Pinchuk and his fellow Ukrainian oligarchs have put aside their sometimes bitter rivalries and are working to support Ukrainian independence.
As for Mrs. Clinton, last week she declared that Americans should be “calling out those people” who have given aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin and his allies. Good idea. She can start by looking in the mirror.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch. Follow him on Twitter @micah_morrison. Tips: [email protected]
Investigative Bulletin is published by Judicial Watch. Reprints and media inquiries: [email protected]