2018 was a year in which the political realm in America was at its most chaotic and disjointed since the election of President Donald Trump back in November 2016. The country – and its institutions – have been thrown into chaos by constant attacks, personal vendettas, and seemingly endless investigations.
To this end, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of political scandals in America so that you can keep up with all of them. From the Rosatom-Uranium One deal to Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference, these scandals covered everything from family businesses to money laundering schemes to election fraud.
Rosatom-Uranium One deal
In June, the New York Times reported that before Rosatom was bought out by the Canadian company Uranium One, the US State Department gave the go-ahead for Rosatom’s subsidiary, Tenex, to supply Uranium to the US through the Canada-to-US Port of Vancouver.
The deal, which took place during President Obama’s tenure, allowed Rosatom’s subsidiary, Tenex Nuclear Fuel Inc., to supply the US with 2,300 tonnes of uranium.
The scandal began when emails from 2016 and 2017 were released, revealing that meetings had taken place in 2009 and 2010 between former US President Bill Clinton and numerous Russian officials, including then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-Secretary of the Russian Mining Co., Alexander Rumyantsev. During one of these meetings, Vladimir interjected, “We have this uranium deal with America,” to which Bill responded, “I’m looking into it.”
The Clinton Foundation scandal
The Clinton Foundation scandal emerged during the election as a major campaign issue for both the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and her Republican rival, Donald Trump. Trump had repeatedly accused the Clinton Foundation of being a “pay-to-play” scam that allowed the Clintons to plunder state resources and government contracts.
The scandal ultimately led to the foundation being dissolved in early 2017 after an investigation revealed that the foundation had accepted donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, and had also used the organization to enrich a select group of Clinton family associates.
The foundation was accused of numerous misdeeds, such as self-dealing, excessive fees, and failure to comply with campaign finance laws. As a result of the findings in the Foundation’s audit, the Clinton Foundation was forced to shut down and was forced to dissolve after Hillary was no longer in office.
The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory
The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory appeared in the days following the 2016 election to allege that Hillary Clinton, her campaign manager John Podesta, and members of the Democratic Party were involved in a child sex trafficking ring. The theory was first floated by Mike Cernovich, a far-right internet personality who is currently facing multiple defamation lawsuits.
He then spread the theory via Twitter, using the hashtag #Pizzagate – a reference to a Washington DC pizzeria that was alleged to be the location of a child sex trafficking ring – before it was co-opted by the so-called “alt-right” as a means of attacking Democrats.
The conspiracy was based on a debunked report published by the right-wing website, The Washington Times, which alleged that DC’s Comet Ping-Pong pizzeria was owned by a member of the Democratic Party’s elite and was involved in a child sex trafficking ring. The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory was so outlandish that even people on the “alt-right” were highly skeptical of it.
Leading members of the “alt-right”, such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, were highly skeptical of the theory and expressed outrage at how it had been co-opted by the “alt-right” for political gain.
Jared Kushner’s real estate company and foreign investors scandal
In December, reports emerged that Jared Kushner had failed to disclose the full extent of his relationship with the Chinese government-owned investment firm, Anbang Insurance Group when he applied for his security clearance. It was also alleged that he had been involved in a real estate deal with an Indian businessman who has ties to the Indian government.
The real estate deal in question saw the New York City real estate company, Kushner Companies, sell a Manhattan skyscraper to the Chinese group for the absurdly low price of $295 million. In return for this bargain price, the Chinese group was granted considerable influence in the decision-making of the building and threatened to sue the US government if it ever used sensitive information to any advantage.
The deal also saw the Indian government put in $150 million in loans to the Kushners, with the expectation of a 7.5% return. The loans became collateral for the building, and the Indian government then threatened to revoke the building’s operating license unless the Kushners met their obligations.
The deals have led many to question the extent to which Jared Kushner is acting as an agent of the US government. As such, they have also called into question the extent to which Kushner’s background check was comprehensive and comprehensive.
Election interference: the Trump Tower – Russian Bridge development scam
The Trump Tower – Russian Bridge development scam emerged in January when it was revealed that Jared Kushner had met with the CEO of a Chinese smartphone manufacturer that had previously been accused of espionage, and had been directly linked to the Chinese government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
Kushner’s link to the Chinese government has led to speculation that he may have been working on behalf of the Chinese government to undermine the US government. As such, it has also led to speculation that he may be a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Ben Rhodes and the Benghazi embassy attack cover-up
Ben Rhodes, the former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for the Obama administration, launched into an exposé about the Benghazi attack in the weeks following the 2016 presidential election.
Rhodes asserted that the Clinton campaign had cynically exploited the deaths of American diplomats to win the election. Rhodes’ exposé came in response to several inquiries from lawmakers who had become aware of the extent of the Clinton campaign’s involvement in manipulating the public perception of the Benghazi attack to win the election.
Rhodes’ exposé backfired spectacularly when it was revealed that he had been lying and had not been telling the truth. After it was revealed that Rhodes had lied, the story quickly went away and was never mentioned again in any significant way.