On 30 November, the end of an eventful week, analyst Jeff Carlson of the blog TheMarketsWork.com published an article at the Epoch Times. I mentioned Carlson’s article in a post on the Michael Flynn sentencing recommendation last week. In the piece, he presented alongside each other four event threads that he suggested might be related.
The common thread, he said, was that “All the activities targeted were either occurring during the Obama era or, in the case of the DOJ whistleblower, were directly related to underlying events from that time.”
The DOJ whistleblower was Dennis Nathan Cain, who was raided by the FBI in mid-November, in spite of having official whistleblower status accorded by the Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael Horowitz. (Lid carried an article on it here.)
What Cain is a whistleblower on is the DOJ-FBI handling of the Clinton Foundation/Uranium One probe.
The second thread involves Chicago Alderman Edward Burke, a longtime fixture in the city’s political scene, who was also raided by the FBI. The raid on Burke took place on 29 November. Jeff Carlson doubts the immediate suggestion of the mainstream media that the raid was about work done by Burke – an attorney specializing in property taxes – for Donald Trump. Chicago sources don’t seem to think that’s it. They do seem sure that the issues are from recent years, and not from allegations that have “swirled” about Burke in the more distant past.
The third thread is about big banks being investigated by DOJ for money-laundering; namely, Danske Bank and Deutsche Bank. DOJ says the probe is related to disclosures from the “Panama Papers,” and is from the period 2013 to 2018.
The DOJ probe of Danske Bank was announced on 21 November; German authorities also raided Deutsche Bank, and correspondent of Danske bank, on 29 November.
The fourth thread relates to Clinton associate Abul Huda Farouki, CEO of UAE-based defense contractor Anham, who is being charged in “a scheme to defraud U.S. military contracts in Afghanistan,” which involved “engaging in illegal commerce in Iran, and laundering money internationally.”
Apparently, the 2018 charges have the same substance as allegations made about Anham in an IG report in 2013:
[H]ow was Anham able to secure an $8 billion contract in Afghanistan that “allowed it to illegally ship supplies through two Iranian border crossings and a seaport controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard?”
The $8 billion contract, along with the illegal shipment of supplies, being cited in the 2013 article appear to be exactly the same violations being alleged in the 2018 DOJ indictment. So why weren’t Farouki and his company charged with these same, known violations back in 2013?
The answer to the 2013 question appears to be that Farouki has been a significant donor to the Clinton Foundation, as well as to Dianne Feinstein and Terry McAuliffe.
In 2018, the activities that were ignored by the DOJ in 2013 have resulted in charges.
A Sessions DOJ connection?
Another analyst-pundit, Brian Cates, agrees with Carlson that it’s probably not a coincidence that all these things came out at the same time, in the last two weeks of November. Some readers may know Cates (@drawandstrike) better by his previous Twitter handle, “Undercover Huber.” He assumed that Twitter name when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions assigned John Huber, the U.S. Attorney in Utah, to investigate concerns about the DOJ-FBI handling of information provided by a whistleblower on Russian activities and the Clinton Foundation in the Uranium One case.
— Brian Cates (@drawandstrike) December 1, 2018
Cates posits – and I tend to agree – that the coincidental timing of all these seemingly disparate threads comes from their common source in DOJ-FBI investigations. The common source is not in dispute: all of the threads of investigative activity run demonstrably through the DOJ and FBI.
Whether they all connect to Huber’s probe is another question, but we know two of them do the raid on Mr. Cain (a Clinton Foundation-probe whistleblower) and the charges against Mr. Farouki.
Cates points out that the DOJ won’t show its entire hand, and publicly link other developments like the Chicago alderman and the European banks to the Huber probe until it’s ready to. I agree with that as well.
The work done by Carlson and Cates puts a fifth development from the same timeframe in a most interesting light. The development is particularly interesting because it involves Michael Cohen – and not the misidentified, other Michael Cohen who was in Prague in 2016, but the Michael Cohen, the associate of President Trump, whose sentencing recommendations were just published last week by Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of the New York.
And there’s a separate, significant reason why it’s interesting.
The Bellefonte nuclear power plant
The development is the decision of the Tennessee Valley Authority not to proceed with the sale of a nuclear power plant site in Alabama to Tennessee-based property developer Franklin L. Haney. That decision was announced abruptly on 30 November, the deadline for Haney to acquire loan funding to develop and operate the plant.
This might seem like the most obscure and unrelated of events. But it involved Michael Cohen, tangentially, in an exceptionally odd way. And the sequence of events since the 2016 election looks very much like an attempt by Democrats – with whom Haney has been deeply connected for more than 30 years – to create an appearance of impropriety for Trump.
The nuclear power plant is called Bellefonte; located in Hollywood, Alabama (in the northeast corner, close to the Tennessee state line), it was started in the 1970s but never finished. Different attempts have been made to revive it as a TVA generation source, and/or acquire it for independent operation, over the years.
Franklin Haney’s attempt is unusual, as he is not a nuclear property developer. (It’s also unusual in light of his very colorful background.) The pending sale made national news earlier in 2018 because of the Michael Cohen connection. In or just before April 2018, Haney reportedly offered to pay Cohen $10 million if Cohen could grease the skids for loan funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, among other potential sources.
The main reason for mainstream outlets to feature this story, which peaked in the first week of August 2018, appears to have been to implicate Cohen, and by inference Trump, in a pay-for-play scheme. Nothing came of it, and none of the parties has been willing to talk about it. Cohen reportedly lobbied a delegation from Qatar for funding for the Bellefonte site on 5 April 2018, in Miami – but then was raided by the FBI on 9 April, after that his services for Haney were apparently terminated. The DOE reportedly has not confirmed whether it was contacted by Cohen.
In all the reporting in August, Haney was identified as “a major donor to the Trump inaugural fund.”
But it’s a fascinating thing about this episode: there appears to have been little research done for the reporting on it.
Most mainstream sites, when they published during the August flurry, did acknowledge that Franklin Haney had donated “mostly to Democrats” over the years, before making a significant gift to the Trump inaugural fund.
Additionally, the sites that presented background on the nuclear plant purchase reported that Haney had made the purchase agreement, through a company called Nuclear Development LLC, in November 2016.
What the media didn’t report is that Haney’s longtime political connections are to the Gore family in Tennessee, and to the Clintons and the Clinton circle – including links that got Haney indicted on 42 counts of campaign-funding violations for the 1996 presidential campaign. (This was the one with Charlie Trie and various Chinese companies making illegal donations, among other luminaries. Haney was later acquitted; his defense team, according to the Washington Post, “suggested in court that Attorney General Janet Reno had tagged him to be the fall guy for the fund-raising excesses of the 1996 campaign.” In a “things you can make up” twist, the first general counsel’s report from the FEC, which focused on a separate, Chinese-linked Miami tech firm and sparked the overall investigation of the 1996 campaign that implicated dozens of Clinton associates and their connections, was signed by none other than Lois G. Lerner.)
Haney’s history as an investor and developer is checkered, even apart from his dubious connections with Clinton-Gore crony activities.
The media also didn’t report that Haney’s profits as a developer came mostly from federal contracts, in which his links to the Gores were implicated in the 1990s, and for which he was investigated by Congress in 1998. (In another delightful twist, Haney’s crony links with Al Gore, namely a $1 million payment to a Gore campaign official, became difficult to trace because of a timely loss suffered by the Gore office: thousands of, you guessed it, unrecoverable emails.)
The media didn’t report that Haney – again, with no nuclear-property experience – had been trying off and on to acquire the Bellefonte site since the early 2000s, according to local news reporting. A version of the current attempt (considered uneconomic and otherwise problematic by some expert observers) had been languishing since 2013. But it was resurrected by Nuclear Development LLC with a renewed purchase proposal in September 2015, and accomplished by auction on 14 November 2016, when Haney signed the purchase agreement with TVA.
Three weeks later, Haney made a massive donation of $1 million to the Trump inaugural fund. He had never made a contribution of any comparable size to a Republican. (A handful of previous donations to Republicans had been in the $1,000 to $2,700 range.) And Haney has no documented background of business interests with Trump.
But Haney was a significant donor ($33,400) to Obama in 2008, and one of his biggest donors in 2012, giving $1 million. In 2014, Haney gave $1 million to the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC (see Daily Beast link above), and in the 2016 cycle gave $1 million each to Priorities USA Action and Majority PAC. Priorities USA Action backed Hillary Clinton for 2016 (and in fact was headed by former Obama campaign operative Jim Messina before the height of the 2016 campaign season).
A Clinton connection to Haney during the Trump transition
Moreover, Haney’s renewed effort to buy Bellefonte, sealed on 14 November 2016, was represented in Washington by the consulting services firm Ickes & Enright (see “New Lobbying Registrations” here), which could hardly be joined more closely at the hip with the Clintons. Both Harold M. Ickes, Jr. and Janice Enright did lengthy service in the Clinton administration (Ickes on the Oval Office staff); Ickes was reportedly the background force behind Hillary’s Senate campaign in 2000. Enright was a Hillary insider throughout Hillary Clinton’s term in the Senate and up through her 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Enright passed away in February 2018.)
Ickes was knee-deep in the same 1996 campaign finance scandal for which Haney was indicted (see the last link at WSJ). Then-AG Janet Reno repeatedly declined, however, to open a special prosecutor investigation into the numerous irregularities in which Ickes was implicated by a task force report from her Justice Department. We can take from all that, and from Haney’s other links with the Clinton administration – for which Ickes was Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff – that Ickes and Haney have been crossing each other’s path for a long time.
Ickes and Enright started their firm at the very end of the Clinton Administration and later benefited from earmarks brokered by New York Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer. (Ken Silverstein cited a figure of $4 million at Harper’s in 2008, based on a report by Congressional Quarterly.)
Harold Ickes was the president of Priorities USA Action PAC in 2016 – the PAC to which Haney gave $1 million for the presidential election cycle. Ickes also founded Catalist, the Democratic big-data firm, which ran afoul of the FEC for alleged campaign finance violations in 2015.
And it was on 15 October 2016 that Ickes & Enright registered to represent Haney’s Nuclear Development LLC, which was making the bid on Bellefonte.
None of the superficial, MSM-retailed narrative makes sense
This longtime Democrat-embedded personality – Franklin Haney – is the man who made an out-of-the-blue $1 million donation to Trump’s inaugural fund.
Just before making that donation, he had hired Clinton cronies Ickes & Enright to represent his bid for a nuclear plant, reenergized just before the 2016 election, which produced a signed purchase agreement on 14 November 2016.
Something quite notable about his bid on Bellefonte is found in the blurb line at the Industrial Equipment News link:
Franklin Haney is trying to be the first individual in the world to own a nuclear power plant.
That nugget is as eye-opening as anything else about this. But it’s also eye-opening that some 17 months after signing the purchase agreement, still lacking the $13 billion in development funding and nuclear regulatory approval he needed to go forward with it, Haney turned for lobbying assistance in late March or early April 2018 to … Michael Cohen.
It was crystal clear well before that period, to even the most distant observer, that Michael Cohen is not the guy you would hire for a job like that. Nothing in Cohen’s background suggested the expertise or even the contacts to broker such a deal. It’s not apparent why an experienced federal contractor like Haney – with a varied experience ranging from office-space leasing to toll-road operation – would seek out Cohen, who so clearly lacks any relevant expertise. A veteran of crony-contracting through the Gores, Haney had to see that Cohen’s Trump administration access (especially by April 2018) wasn’t sufficient to overcome the drawback of his utter lack of relevant experience.
There is no apparent “hook” for the Qatar connection either. However Cohen got on the Qatari delegation’s schedule in Florida (or onto an accommodating yacht for a party), there’s nothing to suggest it was based on his own network of contacts.
Moreover, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, a $10 million closing fee is not only an extraordinary sum for government-related consulting work, but is frowned on as a practice. Although it is not illegal, per se, it is regarded as an unethical form of incentive:
James Thurber, a professor of government at American University, said success fees are “outside the ethical norms” among Washington lobbyists and are frowned upon. Century-old court rulings deemed fees contingent on lobbyists obtaining public funds or killing legislation unenforceable and counter to public policy, saying they encouraged corruption, he said. Several lobbyists contacted by the Journal said $10 million was an unheard-of sum to pay a consultant for government-related work.
If Michael Cohen had been the kind of savvy consultant we would expect Haney to seek out, Cohen himself would have known that, and would probably have been leery of such an offer – or perhaps have advised Haney against it.
Nothing came of this weird episode, which ended as abruptly as it began with the FBI raid on Cohen on 9 April 2018. The news flurry about it happened several months later, launched by the WSJ report on 2 August. Nothing was heard about it after that, although Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was looking into it based on the early August reporting.
By the time TVA decided to back out of the deal, Haney had had some 24-plus months to meet his requirements. (On “nuclear power plant” time, that isn’t necessarily a lengthy interval.) In spite of the criticism of doubters, he and the TVA had spoken throughout 2018 as if the deal would go forward. According to detailed reporting, Haney said in late November that he had the funds to complete the purchase, involving a balance of nearly $92 million.
He appears to have been taken by surprise when TVA canceled the sale at the last minute, citing Haney’s failure to obtain license transfers from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Haney had reportedly applied for the transfers on 13 November 2018 (full reporting link above). It’s not clear why he didn’t make the application before that, but presumably, TVA knew when he did make it.
The whole thing looks peculiar. It might raise few eyebrows if the sequence of events had not involved a close Clinton/Democratic connection and a sort of drive-by, inconclusive attempt to implicate Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. The hammer then fell on the Bellefonte agreement, surprising Haney and citing a paperwork problem that may have been recognized late, but that could have been given an extension – at the same time the other four threads outlined by Jeff Carlson popped up.
And, of course, this potential fifth thread involved a nuclear power plant. Moreover, it concerned a major Democratic donor trying – for going on 17 years now – to become the first individual owner of a nuclear power plant.
Besides the Clinton-uranium connection, there’s an odd echo here of another peripheral “nuclear” element in the hydra-headed saga we’ve been following. A close associate of Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, whose connection with George Papadopoulos has been of such interest, also arranged to become the individual proprietor of a nuclear services firm in the UK, by purchasing it from its original owner. The proprietor is Stephan Roh, a Swiss lawyer, and owner of an international investment and consulting conglomerate.
As Jeff Carlson suggests, these are things that make you go, Hmm. Could the Bellefonte sale to Haney have been affected by evidence uncovered in whatever Huber’s task force has quietly been doing? In theory, absolutely. We don’t know enough to be sure. But we should be, as Carlson says, on the lookout.
One thing begins to emerge from all this. Brian Cates hints at it in his tweet thread treatment of what Carlson laid out. Start here (with the tweet at :26 past the hour) and read the next six tweets:
If you've followed the Uranium One scandal since the beginning – and I have! – then you're aware BILLIONS of dollars changed hands in that scandal.
Somebody was gonna have to spend the time doing the hard legwork of working their way backwards through the laundering.
— Brian Cates (@drawandstrike) December 1, 2018
There’s no single crux of this matter: we should expect to see exactly what we’re seeing, which is banks laundering money, shady finance on the edges of activities by complicit individuals and entities, and – significantly – transportation under dark circumstances à la Farouki, unsurprisingly involving places like Afghanistan and Iran.
What we also see in that mix is uranium, and now nuclear power. The thought begins to intrude: that the “nuclear-uranium” element in all this may not just be a peripheral excuse for making funny money, predicated on Russia’s appetite for resources and monopolies. Perhaps – perhaps – it’s the main effort.
Cross-Posted with Liberty Unyielding