For a real Rus­sia col­lu­sion story, fol­low a dif­fer­ent trail

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY TODD WOOD

With Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller now mov­ing into tax and money laun­der­ing is­sues, the Rus­sian-Trump col­lu­sion the­ory hav­ing proven a dry hole, it would make sense that Congress take a look at real col­lu­sion by the Rus­sians and Amer­i­can politi­cians over the last decade, if the cur­rent hys­te­ria over the is­sue is sin­cere.

Sure, there is the pos­si­bil­ity that this whole col­lu­sion thing was just an at­tempt by the left and the Obama deep state holdovers to re­move a duly elected pres­i­dent they didn’t like, but who could re­ally be­lieve such con­spir­a­cies, right? There is very fer­tile ground here to be cov­ered, es­pe­cially when those be­ing asked the ques­tions are un­der oath.

It is no se­cret that the Rus­sian econ­omy is heav­ily de­pen­dent on hy­dro­car­bons. The col­lapse of oil prices on in­ter­na­tional mar­kets over the last sev­eral years, com­bined with Western sanc­tions, tossed the Rus­sian econ­omy into a deep re­ces­sion. It is a fact that Rus­sia’s econ­omy was more di­ver­si­fied un­der the Soviet Union than it is now, man­aged by elite oli­garchs.

Do you re­mem­ber the wail­ing and gnash­ing of teeth from the left and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups sev­eral years ago as Amer­i­cans re­al­ized that fracking would turn the United States into an en­ergy-in­de­pen­dent pow­er­house? The alarmist warn­ings about “earth­quake swarms,” wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion and other hor­rors were splashed all over the front pages of news­pa­pers.

Turns out there was for­eign money be­hind th­ese protests.

It was no se­cret then that the Gulf states were fund­ing anti-fracking ef­forts in Amer­ica to stop the emerg­ing Amer­i­can en­ergy colos­sus from turn­ing off the money taps. The Matt Da­mon movie “Promised Land” was funded by the United Arab Emi­rates.

But did you know there was ev­i­dence of other col­lu­sion, specif­i­cally with Rus­sia? There are re­ports of Rus­sian en­ergy in­ter­ests fund­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal groups in Amer­ica to un­der­mine the emer­gence of the Amer­i­can fracking in­dus­try, and to op­pose the con­struc­tion of pipe­lines to de­liver this hy­dro­car­bon gold to Amer­i­can ports and re­finer­ies. Does the term Key­stone XL pipe­line ring a bell? But there’s more.

The specter of for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, and the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion be­ing in­volved in a pay-for-play ar­range­ment with Rus­sian oli­garchs who some­how ended up with 20 per­cent of the U.S. ura­nium re­serves would also be a great place to start. There has been pos­si­ble ev­i­dence un­cov­ered that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion knew of vi­o­la­tions of the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act prior to the ap­proval of the ura­nium “deal.” This wasn’t just a meet­ing with a Rus­sian at­tor­ney for 15 min­utes. No, this was the full-blown sell­ing out of Amer­i­can na­tional se­cu­rity for money.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can who chairs the House For­eign Af­fairs subcom­mit­tee fo­cused on emerg­ing threats, has asked full com­mit­tee Chair­man Ed Royce to hold hear­ings on th­ese mat­ters.

“I am writ­ing you to re­quest that ei­ther the full com­mit­tee or my subcom­mit­tee hold a se­ries of hear­ings this year fo­cused on al­leged cor­rup­tion be­tween Rus­sian and Amer­i­can en­ti­ties and po­lit­i­cal fig­ures,” Mr. Rohrabacher wrote. “Th­ese hear­ings should take a close look at pos­si­ble in­volve­ment Hil­lary Clin­ton may have had with Rus­sian fi­nanciers who do­nated heav­ily to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion . ... We can no longer wait to fully in­form the Amer­i­can peo­ple of al­leged crim­i­nal col­lu­sion by the pre­vi­ous Ad­min­is­tra­tion with the Rus­sians.”

It is ob­vi­ous to even the most ca­sual ob­server that th­ese events need to be in­ves­ti­gated along­side any pos­si­bil­ity the Trump cam­paign col­luded with Moscow. The world awaits Mr. Royce’s re­sponse.

Just maybe those con­spir­acy the­o­ries about the deep state and the GOP es­tab­lish­ment try­ing to use the nar­ra­tive of Rus­sian col­lu­sion to get rid of the ir­ri­tant of the Trump pres­i­dency might just be cred­i­ble af­ter all.

● L. Todd Wood is a for­mer spe­cial op­er­a­tions he­li­copter pi­lot and Wall Street debt trader, and has con­trib­uted to Fox Busi­ness, The Moscow Times, Na­tional Review, the New York Post and many other pub­li­ca­tions. He can be reached through his web­site, LTod­

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