Out anchor Shepard Smith, one of the few voices of reason on Fox News Channel, has debunked one of the stories his network loves to promote — the claim that as secretary of State, Hillary Clinton approve the sale of a uranium mining company to a Russian firm in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation.
The story has already been refuted by several other sources, including The Washington Post, the Post notes. But Smith’s joining in is notable because Fox News has largely backed the assertions of Donald Trump and his supporters that the sale was a “scandal” of Watergate proportions, and just as bad as, if not worse than, Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.
Smith did his debunking Tuesday, in response to demands from congressional Republicans for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Clinton. “Now, here’s the accusation,” he said. “Nine people involved in the deal made donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling more than $140 million. In exchange, Secretary of State Clinton approved the sale to the Russians, a quid pro quo. The accusation [was] 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.”
The deal involved a Canadian company, Uranium One, which has operations in the U.S. In 2010, Uranium One executives agreed to sell a majority stake in the company to JSC Atomredmetzoloto, the mining division of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy agency. Because the sale raised concerns about national security, it was subject to approval by the U.S. government. The nine-member Committee on Foreign Investments reviewed it; the committee consists of the secretaries of the Treasury, State, Defense, Homeland Security, the attorney general, and representatives from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Only the president has the power to stop a sale, if any member of the committee objects to it. Clinton, who was secretary of State at the time, was represented on the committee by an assistant secretary, who said she never intervened in the deliberations, reports FactCheck.org.
“The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not,” Smith said. “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.”
Also, he pointed out, most of the donations to the Clinton Foundation came from Uranium One founder Frank Giustra, who sold his share of the company in 2007, three years before the deal with the Russian company and “a year and a half before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state.” That effectively undermines any argument that the sale was a quid pro quo.
Smith has been getting some criticism for his comments, though, with angry viewers tweeting that he’s part of a left-wing conspiracy, the Post reports. “Get Shepard Smith off Fox,” said one. “He’s arrogant and doing his own spin.” Another called him “a lover of CNN especially Don Lemon,” another out gay journalist.
Watch Smith's report below, courtesy of the Post.