Serial misinformer Peter Schweizer falsely claimed on Fox News Sunday that Hillary Clinton had unilateral power to veto the Uranium One deal as part of the nine-agency review panel that oversees such proposals. But members of the review panel only have power to make recommendations to the president, not unilaterally veto them.
Serial Misinformer Peter Schweizer Will Release Anti-Clinton Book Featuring Allegations That Hillary Clinton Failed To Block Russian Purchase Of American Uranium Mines After Donations To Clinton Foundation
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]
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." The piece continued:
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]
Schweizer Claims Hillary Clinton Had Veto Power Over Russian Uranium Deal
Schweizer: Hillary Clinton "Had Veto Power ... She Could Have Stopped The Deal" As A Member Of The Nine-Agency Review Panel. On the April 26 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Schweizer claimed that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had the power to unilaterally veto the Uranium One deal as a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the nine-agency committee in charge of approving the purchase (emphasis added):
SCHWEIZER: The question becomes, when CFIUS approved this transfer in October, what role did Hillary Clinton play?
WALLACE: Okay, and CFIUS is that committee that approves, in October of 2010, the sale to Russia, or to a Russian company with close ties to Vladimir Putin. This is precisely the point that the Clinton campaign has hit back on hard because CFIUS is a committee of nine agencies -- not just the State Department, it's nine separate agencies.
WALLACE: And they point out that there is no hard evidence, and you don't cite any in the book, that Hillary Clinton took direct action -- was involved in any way in approving, as one of nine agencies, the sale of the company.
SCHWEIZER: Well, here is what's important to keep in mind. It was one of nine agencies, but any one of those agencies had veto power, so she could have stopped the deal. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 4/26/15]
But Only The President -- Not CFIUS Members -- Has The Power To Make a Final Decision On Transactions
U.S. Treasury: Only The President May "Decide Whether A Transaction Should Be Suspended Or Prohibited." According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the only person with the power to make a final decision on a proposal requiring CFIUS oversight is the president -- not members of the CFIUS assembly (emphasis added):
Presidential Decisions: Provides mechanism for CFIUS to request that the President decide whether a transaction should be suspended or prohibited - which only he may do - where a transaction threatens to impair the national security of the United States and other laws, besides Section 721 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, are inadequate or inappropriate to address that threat. [US Department Of The Treasury, 1/23/08]
And Media Have Already Poked Holes In Schweizer's Claim, Explaining It Ignores The "Extensive Bureaucratic Process" Behind The Deal
Time: Schweizer's Claim Is "Based On Little Evidence." Time explained that Schweizer's allegation of "outside influence over U.S. decisionmaking" is "based on little evidence" because "the allegations are presented as questions rather than proof." [Time, 4/22/15]
Time: Schweizer Offers "No Indication Of Hillary Clinton's Personal Involvement In, Or Even Knowledge Of" The Deal's "Extensive Bureaucratic Process." Time reported 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 magazine further noted that the State Department "has just one vote on the nine-member" CFIUS that approved the deal, which is typically overseen at the staff level and chaired by the Treasury Secretary. And as Time pointed out, "[o]ne 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. [Time, 4/22/15]
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]