The former head of a Maryland transportation company was indicted as part of the revived probe into the so-called Uranium One deal, sending celebratory shockwaves through right-wing online communities.
A grand jury brought charges of money laundering and wire fraud against Mark Lambert, according to the Department of Justice, for allegedly trying to bribe a subsidiary of Russia‘s State Atomic Energy Corporation. The New York Post reported that the indictment was part of a recently revived probe into the Uranium One deal.
In December Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly revived an inquiry into the so-called Uranium One deal, an Obama-era agreement that allowed Uranium One, a Canadian mining company, to be sold to a Russian firm. The sale needed approval from several agencies, including the State Department that was then-run by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The deal has been a lightning rod for conservatives, particularity as a separate probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties between the country and President Donald Trump‘s campaign has gained momentum.
While the deal has sparked conspiracy theories and the ire of right-wing online communities, several sources—including one host on Fox News—have debunked the claims. One congressman even tried to explain the conspiracy using a nonsensical chart.
As part of the newly-revived probe into Uranium One, authorities said Lambert tried to bribe Vadim Mikerin, an official at TENEX, a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation. Lambert allegedly tried to conceal payments with code words such as “lucky figures,” “LF,” “lucky numbers,” and “cake.”
However, Uranium One was not mentioned by the Department of Justice in its release about the indictment handed to Lambert.
The indictment was eagerly celebrated by right-wing websites, communities, and social media.
Breitbart, the far-right website, tweeted a story (with a picture of Clinton) about the indictment by saying “now we’re cooking with gas.”
Now we're cookin with gas. https://t.co/p2KwFPSPXM— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 14, 2018
Others thought the indictment was not getting enough coverage because people were leaking “bogus stories” to distract from it.
I Have A Theory:— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) January 13, 2018
With all of the leaks coming out of the White House, wouldn't it make sense that a leaker is tipping off the media so it can invent bogus stories to distract us from things like the Uranium One indictment?#SaturdayMorning #AMJoy
Even hyper-conservative politicians got in on the goading. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), known as one of the more conservative members of Congress, seemed to think the indictment meant Clinton’s presidential campaign (and not Trump’s) colluded with Russia.
“DOJ brings 11 count indictment on Uranium One deal. Collusion with the Russians was #NeverTrump & #AlwaysHillary,” King wrote.
You can read the Department of Justice’s release about Lambert’s indictment here.