Schweizer's Anti-Clinton Claims Start Falling Apart

››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

Media outlets are poking holes in the allegations of Clinton Cash, an anti-Hillary Clinton book authored by a Republican activist and strategist whose history of reporting is marked by errors and retractions. Reporters who reviewed portions of the book have undermined Schweizer's claims that foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced Hillary Clinton's decision-making as secretary of state with regard to the Russian purchase of a mining company and a trade agreement, asserting that Schweizer offers "little evidence" for his claims and overlooks key facts.

Serial Misinformer Peter Schweizer Is Releasing A New Anti-Clinton Book

Peter Schweizer's Clinton Cash: The Untold Story Of How And Why Foreign Governments And Businesses Helped Make Bill And Hillary Rich To Be Released May 5. On May 5, HarperCollins Publishers will release Clinton Cash, which the publisher described as "Meticulously researched and scrupulously sourced, filled with headline-making revelations, Clinton Cashraises serious questions of judgment, of possible indebtedness to an array of foreign interests, and ultimately, of fitness for high public office." [HarperCollins.com, accessed 4/9/15]

NY Times: Schweizer Has "Exclusive Agreements" With Media Outlets To Report On The Book. The New York Times reported on April 19 that "major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book." [The New York Times4/19/15]

In Clinton Cash, Schweizer Claims Hillary Clinton Failed To Block Russian Purchase Of American Uranium Mines After Donations To Clinton Foundation

Time: Schweizer Alleges That Hillary Clinton Failed To Block Russian Purchase Of American Uranium Mines After Receiving Donations To Clinton Foundation. After receiving an advanced chapter of Schweizer's book, Time reported that the book claims "Hillary Clinton failed in 2010 to block the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company while people with financial and strategic interests in the sale were making millions of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation, a philanthropy run by her husband, former President Bill Clinton":

One chapter of the book, written by conservative author Peter Schweizer and obtained by TIME, focuses on an obscure deal that had been years in the making. Schweizer says Secretary Clinton failed to block the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency (Rosatom), a Kremlin-controlled nuclear agency, from purchasing a controlling stake in an American Uranium mining concern, Uranium One. The company's chairman, Ian Telfer, was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. Several other Clinton Foundation donors stood to gain from the agreement as well.

Because the proposed sale involved the transfer of potentially strategic U.S. assets, the Uranium One transaction was subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency panel that comprises powerful federal agencies. In prior years, Clinton had urged the committee to take a hawkish view of deals involving U.S. strategic assets, and Schweizer says that should have inclined her against the Rosatom purchase. "Despite a long record of publicly opposing such deals Hillary didn't object," Schweizer writes in the version of the chapter obtained by TIME. "Why the apparent reversal? Could it be because shareholders involved in the transaction had transferred approximately $145 million to the Clinton Foundation or its initiatives? Or because her husband had profited from lucrative speaking deals arranged by companies associated with those who stood to profit from the deal?"  [Time, 4/22/15]

But Schweizer's Claim Is Based On "Little Evidence," And Ignores The "Extensive Bureaucratic Process" Behind The Deal

Time: Schweizer's Claim Is "Based On Little Evidence." Time Magazine explained that Schweizer's allegation of "outside influence over U.S. decisionmaking" is "based on little evidence -- the allegations are presented as questions rather than proof." [Time4/22/15]

Time: Schweizer Offers "No Indication Of Clinton's Personal Involvement In, Or Even Knowledge Of" The Deal's "Extensive Bureaucratic Process." Time reports that Schweizer's book "offers no indication of Hillary Clinton's personal involvement in, or even knowledge of" the "extensive bureaucratic process" that led to the deal. The State Department "has just one vote on the nine-member" Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that approved the deal, which is typically overseen at the staff level and chaired by the Treasury Secretary. And as Time notes, "one official involved in the process said Clinton had nothing to do with the decision in the Uranium One case.":

The State Department's role in approving the deal was part of an extensive bureaucratic process, and the chapter offers no indication of Hillary Clinton's personal involvement in, or even knowledge of, the deliberations. State has just one vote on the nine-member committee, which also includes the departments of Defense, Treasury and Energy. Disagreements are traditionally handled at the staff level, and if they are not resolved, they are escalated to deputies at the relevant agencies. If the deputies can't resolve the dispute, the issues can be elevated to the Cabinet Secretary level and, if needed, to the President for a decision. The official chairman of CFIUS is the Treasury Secretary, not the Secretary of State. [Time4/22/15]

Time: Deal Also Needed Approval From Other Federal And State Agencies. According to Time, "Before purchasing a controlling stake in Uranium One, the Russian conglomerate also had to get approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency outside of the State Department's purview, as well as Utah's nuclear regulator. It also received the sign-off of Canada's foreign investment review agency." [Time, 4/22/15]

Time: State Department's Point Person On Deal Denies Clinton's Involvement. Time reported:

One official involved in the process said Clinton had nothing to do with the decision in the Uranium One case. Jose Hernandez, who as former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs was the State Department's principal representative on the committee, rejected the notion that Clinton's foundation ties had any bearing on the deal. "Secretary Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter," he told TIME. [Time, 4/22/15]

Wall Street Journal: Donations To Clinton Foundation "Started Before There Was Any Idea" Of The Russian Purchase Of The American Uranium Company. The Wall Street Journal reported April 22 that Ian Telfer, chairman of Uranium One, the American uranium mine purchased in the deal, and head of the Fernwood Foundation charity that donated to the Clinton Foundation, explained that the donations "Started before there was any idea of this takeover," and that they were "not for the sake of the Clintons," but "to spur development in poor countries." From the article:

Between 2008 and 2012, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project of the Clinton Foundation, received $2.35 million from the Fernwood Foundation, a family charity run by Ian Telfer, chairman of Uranium One before its sale, according to Canada Revenue Agency records.

[..]

'Mr. Telfer, in an interview Wednesday, said he made the contributions not for the sake of the Clintons, but to support his longtime business partner, Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining executive and longtime Clinton friend who co-founded the program to spur development in poor countries.

"The donations started before there was any idea of this takeover," Mr. Telfer said. "And I can't imagine Hillary Clinton would have been aware of this donation to this growth initiative," he added. [The Wall Street Journal4/22/15]

In Clinton Cash, Schweizer Claims Clinton Foundation Donor Bought Favor At State Department For Colombian Free Trade Agreement

PoliticoClinton Cash Suggests Donations Influenced Sec. Clinton's Stance On Colombian Free Trade Agreement. After receiving an advanced chapter of Clinton CashPolitico reported April 22 that Schweizer's book implies "a blurred line between Bill Clinton's charity work and Hillary Clinton's work at the State Department," alleging that Clinton's personal ties to Canadian financier and long-time Clinton Foundation donor Frank Giustra, who founded one of Colombia's largest oil companies, inappropriately influenced Clinton's 2010 support for a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. [Politico4/22/15]

But Schweizer "Presents Little Evidence" For His Claim, And Clinton Had Been A Critic Of Agreement In Spite Of Foundation Donations

Politico: Schweizer "Presents Little Evidence That Clinton's Support Of The Trade Deal" Was Linked To Foundation DonorPolitico explained that in his book, Schweizer "presents little evidence that Clinton's support of the trade deal was directly linked to Guistra's contributions or to his close relationship with Bill Clinton." [Politico4/22/15]

Hillary Clinton Was Critical Of Colombian Trade Agreement For Many Years, Despite Foundation Donations. According to an April 9, 2008, Los Angeles Times article, then-Senator Hillary Clinton "pledged" to oppose the free-trade agreement with Colombia. This was long after Giustra had already pledged more than $130 million to the Clintons' charitable works over the previous three years, according to The Wall Street Journal. [Los Angeles Times4/9/08The Wall Street Journal2/14/08]

Clinton Change In Position Coincided With That Of President Obama. As Politico noted:

During the Democratic primary, Clinton and Obama both said they opposed the deal.

The Obama administration said it changed its position only after Colombia made additional commitments about labor rights. And that push was not led by Hillary Clinton, but by then-U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, a campaign aide said.

Clinton's support for the free trade agreement was in line with that of the White House. [Politico4/22/15]

For more on Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer's long track record of shoddy journalism, click here.

Posted In
Elections, Ethics
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2016 Elections
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