Fox News' Shepard Smith debunks Uranium One lie peddled by his own network

Fox News' Shepard Smith debunks Uranium One lie peddled by his own network

Smith: "The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not."

Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

From the November 14 edition of Fox News' Shepard Smith Reporting:

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SHEPARD SMITH (HOST): What is Uranium One? Uranium One is the name of a South African-based mining company. Back in 2007, it merged with Eurasia Energy, based in Canada. And in 2010, the mining arm of the Russian nuclear agency, Rosatom, bought controlling interests in the company. Among other places, that mining company had operations in Wyoming that amounted to what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or the NRC, said was at the time about 20 percent of uranium production capacity in the U.S. Today the NRC says it's about 10 percent. 

Now, here's the accusation. Nine people involved in the deal made donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling more than $140 million. In exchange, Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton approved the sale to the Russians, a quid-pro-quo. The accusation first made by Peter Schweizer, the senior editor-at-large of the website Breitbart in his 2015 book Clinton Cash. The next year, candidate Donald Trump cited the accusation as an example of Clinton corruption. 

(BEGIN VIDEO)

DONALD TRUMP: Hillary Clinton's State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of America's uranium holdings to Russia. Well, nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. 

(END VIDEO)

SMITH: That statement is inaccurate in a number of ways. First, the Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction. It could do neither. Here's how it does work. By law, when a foreign company wants to buy anything with potential national security implications, an interagency committee of the federal government must approve it. The committee was given a broad mandate under President Reagan to advise the president on foreign investment transactions. That committee is called CFIUS, or the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. It includes nine department heads. The secretary of the treasury is the chairperson. The rest are the heads of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, State, and Energy, plus the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. That's CFIUS. The nine department heads all approved the sale of Uranium One. It was unanimous, not a Hillary Clinton approval. We don't know definitively whether Secretary Clinton participated at all directly. The then-Secretary of State -- I should say Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernando represented State on CFIUS.  He says she did not, reporting that the secretary never intervened. 

Further, neither Secretary Clinton nor the committee as a whole could stop any deal of this kind. The committee members evaluate a sale of anything potentially related to national security. By law, if one member objects, the president and only the president can veto such a transaction. No committee member of the nine objected. Federal approvals were also needed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the sale on November the 24th of 2010 and in doing so, stipulated that no uranium produced may be exported. 

So where does the uranium go? Well, the Energy Information Administration or EIA reports that unless special permission is granted by the Department of Energy or other governmental agencies, Uranium One sells the uranium that it mines in the United States to civilian power reactors in the United States. But operators of those reactors have many other sources for their uranium. Last year, 89 percent of uranium used by power plants in the U.S. came from foreign producers, according to the EIA. 

Regarding the donations to the Clinton Foundation, again, the accusation is that Hillary Clinton's State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of America's uranium holdings to Russia while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. Here, the timing is inaccurate. Most of those donations were from one man, Frank Giustra, the founder of the company in Canada. He gave $131 million to the Clinton Foundation. But Giustra says he sold his stake in the company back in 2007. That is three years before the uranium/Russia deal and a year and a half before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state. We can’t independently verify his statement, but if true, the donation to the Clinton Foundation from confirmed Uranium One investors drops from more than $145 million to $4 million. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose those donations. After a New York Times story exposed them, the foundation reported it made mistakes, saying it had disclosed donations from a Canadian charity but did not specify the names of the donors to that charity who had associations to the uranium company. 

Even so, the accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not. A committee of nine evaluated the sale, the president approved the sale, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and others had to offer permits, and none of the uranium was exported for use by the U.S. to Russia. That is Uranium One.

Previously:

How Steve Bannon and Sean Hannity's ginned-up Hillary Clinton uranium story became a congressional investigation

Sean Hannity boasts that he helped launch the Uranium One lie with Peter Schweizer

Study: Fox spent nearly 12 hours pushing the Uranium One pseudoscandal over the last three weeks

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Shepard Smith, Peter Schweizer
Show/Publication
Shepard Smith Reporting
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