In an interview released on the day of his Clinton Cash book launch, Peter Schweizer admitted he overreached in attacking Hillary Clinton's purported role in approving a Russian uranium deal.
Schweizer is a Republican activist and consultant with a long history of errors and retractions. His latest book, Clinton Cash, is being released today and claims the Clintons helped foreign donors through State Department decisions. The book features over 20 errors, fabrications, and distortions.
During an April 26 appearance on Fox News Sunday promoting the book, Schweizer falsely claimed that then-Secretary of State Clinton “had veto power” to stop the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency from purchasing Uranium One. Schweizer has suggested Clinton approved the deal as a favor for Clinton Foundation donors.
Schweizer's “veto” claim is false. As Media Matters and others have noted, the State Department was just one part of a nine-agency review panel that oversees such decisions. And members can only make recommendations to the president, not unilaterally “veto” deals. Furthermore, as TIME reported, there's “no indication of Hillary Clinton's personal involvement in, or even knowledge of, the deliberations.” To the contrary, one official involved in the process said Clinton “had nothing to do with the decision in the Uranium One case.”
During a May 5 Politico podcast interview, Schweizer admitted that “veto is probably not the best word” and “what I meant by veto power was as we explain the process, you know, if somebody objects it kicks in the special investigation.”
Despite his shoddy history and admission of getting a key detail of the uranium decision wrong, Schweizer lashed out at Media Matters for “trying to muddy the water and obscure the facts in a way that's not particularly enlightening.”
Schweizer also defended his 1998 book Disney: The Mouse Betrayed. Media Matters noted that the book attacked The Walt Disney Company for what he deemed its “endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle from a company that had traditionally been family-oriented.” Schweizer told Politico that “I'm very proud of because one of the results of that book -- the book talked about the fact that Disney did not do criminal background checks. They had a problem with pedophiles. The book came out and Disney afterwards changed their policy. And I was proud of the fact that we highlighted that.”
From Politico's podcast interview with Schweizer:
GLENN THRUSH (Politico senior writer): I want to ask you about Media Matters and sort of this, the barrage of attacks that you've gotten from Clinton-aligned groups and the Clinton campaign itself.
THRUSH: As somebody who is taking money from groups with a political interest, do you think Media Matters is legitimate to sort of scrutinize you? Do you think anyone has gone over the line in terms of kind of the public statements they've made about the book?
SCHWEIZER: I don't know -- statements about the book, no. I do think there's some particularly strange and bizarre tweets that Paul Begala and others have put out. Kind of reminds me of middle school, frankly. With, you know, the level of commentary. But no, I don't think that --
THRUSH: Any particular one that Begala did?
SCHWEIZER: I'll just leave it at that.
THRUSH: No, come on. Come on, come on.
SCHWEIZER: People can go through --
THRUSH: I'm not letting you off the hook.
SCHWEIZER: Well, I had written a book on Disney back in 1998, which actually I'm very proud of because one of the results of that book -- the book talked about the fact that Disney did not do criminal background checks. They had a problem with pedophiles. The book came out and Disney afterwards changed their policy. And I was proud of the fact that we highlighted that. But, you know, Begala was putting out tweets about, you know, “Well I went to Disney when I was, you know, 13 years old and I'm still straight.” You know, it was the most ridiculous, boneheaded stuff and you just have to kind of chuckle at it.
But you know, to get to your point, there's no problem with looking at the work that I've done and the research that I've done and have a vigorous conversation.
THRUSH: And they've come across a couple -- you've had to reel a few things back. Less in the way of outright errors, than in sort of a couple of overstatements like for instance on the Uranium One thing you've said that Hillary had veto power on that -- you've modified that a touch.
SCHWEIZER: Yeah, what I meant by veto power was as we explain the process, you know, if somebody objects it kicks in the special investigation -- but veto is probably not the best word.
But no, I mean, my view is that, you know, what David Brock is doing though is obscuring the facts, not really confronting and dealing with them. I have no problem with somebody saying, you know, we disagree with him on the way that CFIUS is characterized. What they are doing though is, I think, trying to muddy the water and obscure the facts in a way that's not particularly enlightening. And look, at the end of the day, you know, my question would be does David Brock have anything negative to say about Hillary Clinton and I think the answer is no because he is basically an extension of the campaign, so, you know, we have to keep that in mind.