Mainstream media lauded Fox News host Shepard Smith for what one commentator called “a methodical annihilation of his own network’s coverage of the story.”
But a closer look at Smith’s claims reveals he has trouble sticking to the facts.
“The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale,” Smith said on Fox on Tuesday. “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 by the U.S. to Russia. That was Uranium One.”
Most of what he says correct. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – made up of seven members of the Cabinet whose portfolios include related issues and two people from the White House, including the national science advisor and the U.S. Trade Representative – did sign off on the sale. Obama did approve it. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose members rubber-stamp White House intentions, did provide permits. And the uranium so far has not been exported.
But as Guy Benson at Townhall and others have pointed out, there is much more to it than that.
For one, Smith says the uranium mined in Wyoming was reported then to have represented 20 percent of the nation’s uranium; now it says it’s about 10 percent. The mine still holds 20 percent, but for now, only 11 percent is being produced. A willful and key deception.
He mentions the accusations sprang from the book “Clinton Cash,” and identifies the author as Peter Schweizer, a “senior editor at large at Breitbart,” an attempt to impugn his credibility by mentioning but one of Schweizer’s many associations.
But Schweizer wrote the book in his capacity as head of the Government Accountability Institute, and he entered into agreements with both the New York Times and Washington Post to share his reporting and invite them to expand on it, which they did. His credibility as a journalist is virtually unchallenged – unlike Smith’s.
Smith also overstates his case when defending Clinton in the deal. He played a clip of Trump explaining that Clinton approved the deal and received more than $140 million in the aftermath.
“This statement is inaccurate in a number of ways,” Smith said. “First, the Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction.”
He also makes a point of telling us the vote of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States was both necessary for the deal and unanimous. So yes, she did have to vote to approve the transaction.
Smith also makes a big deal out of the fact she sent her deputy to the meeting at which the deal was approved – as if the deputy determined on his own whether the State Department should approve it. He claims the deputy said Clinton did not interfere in the decision making when she made the decision.
Smith emphasizes that the Russian firm that purchased the uranium mine in Wyoming can’t export it, per the agreement. But he seems not to understand the Russians’ goal is to control the world’s uranium and that this moved them significantly closer to that goal and the big strategic advantage that comes with it.
He also says most of the more than $140 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation came from or through Frank Guistra, a longtime Clinton friend and that Guistra had been part of the ownership of Uranium One but claims he had sold his stake before the donations to the Clintons began.
Smith said the timing can’t be verified, and it’s hard to imagine why else Guistra would become so overcome with charity, particularly since the Clintons were forced to admit they had violated an agreement with Obama by failing to disclose the donations.
It’s also a fair question why such an agreement would’ve been deemed necessary by Obama and whether this had to do with Bill Clinton having helped Giustra with another uranium deal when he was president.