“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?) … the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more,” President Trump’s tweet.
(a) Lies can not be turned into the truth by a million repetitions.
When solid facts run up against a statement, the statement is a lie, unless the facts are disproved. This has not happened in the above allegations by Donald Trump. There’s been a lot written in recent months how easy it is today, to string together a few facts and with a lot of unrelated events, to show almost anything.
Perhaps the “so much more” in Trump’s tweet is all the other accusations he’s made during the Obama years, including how Obama was never born in the US, how the Trump tower was bugged by the FBI, how China invented global warming and how the liberal media altered video to make the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration look smaller. Of course, we need a special prosecutor to investigate all this!
So much more would include how Ivanka Trump shoes were thrown out of the Norstrom’s in February 2017.
Norstrom shoe gate scandal! We never knew what evil forces were involved, but likely included Democrats and the liberal media. White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer got involved saying, “There are efforts to undermine her name…because people have a problem with his policies.” Norstrom responded they pulled her shoes from the store because they just were not selling. A more reasonable explanation, I would think!
On the subject of the Uranium One Controversy, Wikipedia states in their summary:
The New York Times, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post note that there is no evidence of wrongdoing concerning Clinton. F.B.I. agents and career public corruption officials who conducted preliminary investigations into the Clinton Foundation concluded that there was no evidence to move forward with a case in 2015.
I particularly like the detailed investigation of snopes.com, which labeled the story as False. See links at the end of this blog.
(b) There are adults in the room!
If there is a scandalous behavior, it is from Donald Trump, directing his hand-picked FBI Director, Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to investigate controversies regarding the Clintons. What he’s saying, in effect, is Hillary Clinton was the one breaking the law, not me. Also, he wants a criminal investigation of James Comey, who for most of his career with the government was a registered as a republican.
If there has been criminal activity by Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation in the past, it is certainly within the powers of the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate. AG Jeff Sessions seems cognizant of his position and duties, to limit the DOJ to impartial investigations of criminal misconduct.
AG Jeff Sessions indicated to a House committee he would make an inquiry, evaluation or assessment of the Uranium One deal and whether this matter needed to be pursued within the Justice Department or with a Special Counsel. He chose his words carefully, as he did not call it a criminal investigation.
If Congressman Jim Jordan has his way, the Special Counsel would have an extraordinary broad scope of investigation, which would include the Clinton Foundations dealings, Hillary Clinton’s use of a outside server including the subsequent FBI investigation, the creation of the Trump dossier and the involvement of Fusion GPS and of course, Uranium one controversy. Jim Jordan actually just stated this on Fox News this morning (11/15/2017).
(c) Uranium One sound bite and the truth
Just for the record, here’s the Republican sound bite: “In June 2010, Hillary Clinton allowed the Russians to buy 20% of the US uranium production capacity in return for $500,000 kickback in the form of speaking fees for Bill Clinton from the Russians. In addition, the CEO of Uranium One donated hundreds of million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.” You can turn on Fox News almost at anytime and hear either Lou Dobbs or Sean Hannity repeating the same line. Actually, I just heard this on a Fox News show featuring Lisa Kennedy Montgomery or “Kennedy” show about hundreds of millions of dollars going into the Clinton Foundation as a result of the Uranium One deal. This is all sound bites, aimed to please their audience.
At the end of this blog, I have included several excellent summaries of the accusations and the facts which shows Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong.
Let me summarize a couple of facts, that really stand out for me. It is best to begin with the words “to buy.” If I buy a car, I get the keys and drive it off the lot, and I can bring this car to any place in the world, given the proper permits. Not true with US uranium resources. Russia has no export permit. Whatever uranium is produce stays in the US. Some minor exceptions have been discovered, as noted in the links given below.
Hillary Clinton ultimately was not the one to approve or reject the deal. This would be up to the president. However, the State Department is one of 9 federal agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investments in the US (CFIUS) to review transactions. Factcheck.com which labels Trump’s accusation as FALSE, states:
The committee can’t actually stop a sale from going through — it can only approve a sale. The president is the only one who can stop a sale, if the committee or any one member “recommends suspension or prohibition of the transaction,” according to guidelines issued by the Treasury Department in December 2008 after the department adopted its final rule a month earlier.
For this and other reasons, we have written that Trump is wrong to claim that Clinton “gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States” to Russia. Clinton could have objected — as could the eight other voting members — but that objection alone wouldn’t have stopped the sale of the stake of Uranium One to Rosatom.
“Only the President has the authority to suspend or prohibit a covered transaction,” the federal guidelines say.
We don’t even know if Clinton was involved in the committee’s review and approval of the uranium deal. Jose Fernandez, a former assistant secretary of state, told the New York Times that he represented the department on the committee. “Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any C.F.I.U.S. matter,” he told the Times, referring to the committee by its acronym.
The CFIUS is a review board as stated on it’s website.
(d) The Payoff or Quid Pro Quo
The second part of this accusation, that Bill Clinton or the Clinton Foundation benefited financially from this approval, has a real timing problem. In a kickback scheme, a politician does a favor to someone, and then either simultaneous or soon after its done, the person who benefited pays off the politician for the favor. It’s all backwards in this case. Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee in June 2010 and the deal was reviewed by the CFIUS in October 2010. He was not paid by Uranium One, but by Renaissance Capital, specializing in Russian investments. Investment banks pay big speaker fees to have world leaders speak at their investment conferences. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain also spoke at the conference.
The contribution to the Clinton Foundation by individuals associated with Uranium One was 145 million, and so this would seem at first to be highly suspicious. But, the lion’s share of this contribution, 131.5 million was from the CEO of Uranium One, Frank Giustra, who sold all of his Uranium One stock in 2007, three years before the deal. Hillary Clinton wasn’t the Secretary of State at the time. Only one individual contributed during the same timeframe as the deal was taking place, Ian Telfer, the company’s chairman. According to snopes.com:
His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.
(e) How much of Uranium One’s Production in the US is controlled by Russia?
The latest estimates are 5.9% of Uranium One’s production makes up the US supply of Uranium. Russia could do little harm if they shut down the uranium mines owned by the US, as outside supplies are plentiful (Forbes.com)
(f) Concluding remarks
I’ve included a lot of online fact checking reviews in the links. I did not go into the same level of detail as they did.
A report published by “The Hill” last month said the FBI was investigating possible Russian attempts to influence the U.S. nuclear sector at the time the CFIUS was considering the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom. The Justice Department receives FBI reports when there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing and it could have raised objections to the deal through the CFIUS in their review. It would be up to the president to block the deal.
The accusation of approval of the Uranium One deal for any monetary gain is just as baseless as it was in 2015. This new information has no effect on this conclusion. See Politifact.com link.
Hillary Clinton has recently stated the Trump administration and members of Congress (James Jordan in particular) are using this as a diversion from the Mueller investigation. See link at the end.
My prediction is there will be no special counsel to investigate the Uranium One controversy. AG Jeff Sessions may draw out his “assessment” of a need for a criminal investigation for as long as he wants.
As for the list of Trump’s tweet, I will end this blog with the very appropriate comment of Senator Bob Corker, “The President has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.”
There are many other good links available.
Wikipedia: James Comey
Factcheck.org The Facts on Uranium One
Snopes.com: Hillary Clinton Gave 20 Percent of United States’ Uranium to Russia in Exchange for Clinton Foundation Donations?
Politifact.com: What you need to know about Hillary Clinton, Russia, and uranium
Wikipedia: Uranium One
Hillary Clinton’s Interview with Mother Jones