The story about the Russian spy plot to gain access to the Clintons reads like a plotline from “The Americans.” The Hill is reporting that Vladimir Putin targeted Bill and Hillary Clinton to achieve influence over the then powerful political power couple in 2009 and 2010. Part of the operation was legal, albeit unseemly, involving lobbying the State Department to get the Uranium One deal. The effort provided a lot of support for the Clinton Global Initiative and helped to ensure Bill Clinton with a $500.000 payday for a one-hour speech in Moscow.

Part of the effort was covert and illegal.

The spy ring that targeted the Clintons

The gentle reader may recall an instance when a Russian spy ring was unmasked by the FBI and expelled from the United States. A model turned spy named Anna Chapman was the public face of the ring, mainly because of her physical beauty. But another deep cover Russian agent, pretending to be an accountant named Cynthia Murphy. Murphy acquired access to a prominent New York financier, Democratic fundraiser, and personal friend of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Ian Patricof. Patricof is not suspected of wrongdoing and did not know at the time his accountant was working for Moscow. Murphy was not planning to get a job inside the State Department for fear that the vetting process would expose her.

She was looking for inside information on Hillary Clinton and her work on foreign policy.

Why the Clintons?

From the point of view of Putin, the Clintons were apparent targets for spying. In 2009 Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state and was in direct charge of the so-called “reset” of American-Russian relations. She was also considered the most likely next president of the United States, an opinion many people held up to election night 2016.

If the Russians could gain access and, better yet, influence with the Clintons, the result would be intelligence gold.

It didn’t stop with Murphy

The spy ring that Cynthia Murphy and Anna Chapman were part of was exposed and expelled in 2010. However, Hot Air is reporting that among the people that Robert Mueller is looking at as part of his Russia collusion investigation is Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton consigliere John Podesta, the owner of a lobbying firm.

Podesta is suspected of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The surmise by Hot Air is that if Mueller is looking at the Podestas, his brief has expanded beyond the 2016 election and Donald Trump’s campaign. A lot of well-connected people in the orbit of both the Clintons and former President Obama could be swept up in the investigation.