Fox is State News
The Clinton/Uranium Story
As Monday’s sealed indictment is handed down by Robert Mueller, Fox News and the Trump White House have fallen back on a familiar smoke screen and comfortable target to distract their “base” (in every sense of that word) from the serious criminality of this Administration. But Trump and his people know that when they are in trouble they simply have to say “Hillary Clinton” to get their followers baying at the moon. With no legislative accomplishments (the tax cuts plan is already a steaming pile of shit being aimed at the fan) and plummeting approval ratings, Trump has fallen back on a story that has been refuted since 2015 but nonetheless carries tremendous weight with his fact-averse followers. They are also using “the Dossier” story --- about the DNC/Clinton campaign continuing to pay for opposition research after a Republican donor discontinued support --- as a bizarre distraction since it seems to imply they believe Hillary “colluded” with the Russians to lose the election. But that’s a Blast for another day. The UraniumOne story is interesting in its resurrection because it was totally refuted by FactCheck.org in 2015. The current Fox and Trump (can we really tell them apart?) itieration focuses on a Clinton Foundation donor named Frank Giustra, who once owned UraniumOne.
The Fox News/Trump mantra goes as follows. In 2010 the Canadian-owned company UraniumOne, whose mining interests produce 20% of our (U.S.A.) uranium was sold to Russia. The Trump/Fox assertion is that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, “approved” the deal, making a tidy profit for Giustra, the Clinton Foundation donor, and selling out “vital” uranium rights so the Russians could produce nuclear weapons! It sounds awful, diabolical, and treasonous --- and it would be, if any of it were true. However, if we look at the April 29, 2015 FactCheck.org reporting on the charges here’s what we find:
The author of “Clinton Cash” (Peter Schweizer) falsely claimed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had “veto power” and “could have stopped” Russia from buying a company with extensive uranium mining operations in the U.S. In fact, only the president has such power. At the time of the sale, Clinton was a member of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, which is required by law to investigate all U.S. transactions that involve a company owned or controlled by a foreign government. Federal guidelines say any one of nine voting members of the committee can object to such a foreign transaction, but the final decision then rests with the president.
“Only the President has the authority to suspend or prohibit a covered transaction,” the guidelines say.
According to the Treasury Department’s own website, the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS):
CFIUS is an inter-agency committee authorized to review transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person (“covered transactions”), in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.
The members of CFIUS include the heads of the following departments and offices:
So, the Secretary of State is one of nine members of CFIUS and none of those members has “veto power,” which resides only in the President. If we turn to Michelle Ye Hee Lee’s reporting in the October 26, 2017 Washington Post we can see why Trump earned his Four Pinocchios.
As regards Frank Giustra, the linchpin for the Fox News and Trump campaign story,
In 2007, Giustra sold UrAsia to Uranium One, which was based in South Africa and chaired by his friend, Ian Telfer. Giustra said he sold his personal stake in the deal in fall 2007, shortly after the merger with Uranium One, in the midst of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
So, by 2010 Giustra had no connection to UraniumOne. But there’s more. Again, according to Lee’s reporting:
In 2009, Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, began buying shares in Uranium One as a part of a larger move to acquire mines around the world. In 2010, the Russians sought to increase their share to 51 percent. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the deal. In 2013, Russia assumed 100 percent ownership . . . Final approval was given by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which noted that the mines would remain under the control of U.S. subsidiaries. “Neither Uranium One nor ARMZ [the Russian firm] holds an NRC export license, so no uranium produced at either facility may be exported,” the NRC said.
Numerous members of the CFIUS reported that Secretary of State Clinton had nothing to do with the deal, that it was not significant enough to reach that high a level at State, particularly because “no uranium produced at either facility may be exported.” While Trump and Fox (and now Republican Congressional Committees) are claiming Clinton “handed over” 20% of U.S. uranium rights to Russia the facts clearly prove otherwise.
But, as we well know at this point, facts have never gotten in the way of Trump and Fox News. The latest Tweet storms over UraniumOne and “the Dossier” are simply aimed at distracting the “base” from the reality that the Muellar investigation’s rubber is about to hit the road and, as he looks at his family and friends, he knows they --- and he --- may soon be roadkill.