When Republicans find themselves in hot water, they dredge up an old Clinton scandal. For months we heard nothing but Benghazi. Since it was determined that Hillary Clinton couldn’t have prevented the Benghazi tragedy and the Republicans won the 2016 election, Benghazi became a dead issue.
As the Trump-Russia scandal gains momentum and indictments (also arrests) have been issued by the Mueller Investigation, the Republicans have turned to an old Clinton “scandal” that really isn’t a scandal at all I’m talking about the Uranium One deal, which we’ll be hearing about ad nauseam in the coming months.
On Nov. 14, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions “raised the possibility that a special counsel may be appointed to investigate potential wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation, specifically suggestions that a U.S. government panel approved the sale of a large uranium firm to Russian interests in exchange for donations to the foundation.”
This is the issue.
Recently, as the Mueller investigation gains momentum, conservative media and President Donald Trump have focused on the Uranium One deal to divert attention.
Briefly, the deal concerns the sale of a Canadian company, Uranium One, which has uranium holdings int he U.S., to Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom. The transaction took place in several states “beginning in 2009 when Rosatom purchased a minority stake in Uranium One” (remember it’s a Canadian company). Then, in 2010, Rosatom obtained 51 percent share of the company, and in 2013, a third purchase gave full ownership of Uranium One to Rosatom.
The controversy revolves around the State Department signing off on Rosatom’s purchase and the fact that several of Uranium One’s owners were donors to the Clinton Foundation–to the tune of $145 million. Critics are alleging Clinton “greenlighted the sale to appease donors to her family’s charity.”
According to Politico, “there is no direct evidence of a quid pro quo among Clinton, the State Department, Rosatom and the Clinton Foundation donors with ties to Uranium One.” Clinton insists that “such approval was granted at lower levels of the department and would not have crossed the secretary’s desk.”
Keep in mind that the sales involved required “approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an intergovernmental agency that includes input from the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Energy, Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security, as well as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,” Politico reported.
“Jose Fernandez, who was the assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs when the Uranium One deal was approved, told the Times that Clinton ‘never intervened with me on any (Committee on Foreign Investment int he United States) matter.'”
According to Snopes, “Allegations of a ‘quid pro quo‘ deal giving Russia ownership of one-fifth of U.S. uranium deposits in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation are unsubstantiated.”
As far as I have been able to ascertain, Fernandez says Clinton “never intervened in committee matters. Clinton herself has said she wasn’t personally involved.”
“This ‘scandal’ is not real. It’s a distraction.”
As Joe Conason has said, “You can’t go broke going after the Clintons.”
[Milt Hankins is a columnist for the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch. He is the author of three books and is the publisher and editor of Columnist With a View (columnistwithaview.com). He lives in Ashland, Kentucky with his wife Deborah.]