Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Zirpoli: Even Fox News anchors debunk Clinton uranium 'scandal'

When a serious charge against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is debunked by a Fox News anchor, you can be sure the charge is fake news, even if the charge is promoted by a second Fox News anchor named Sean Hannity. Thank you, Shepard Smith, for demonstrating that facts are still facts, even on Fox News.

The charge was started in 2015 by Peter Schweizer of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon’s organization. He wrote that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved the sale of a mining company, Uranium One, and “gave away 20 percent of America’s uranium to Russia in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.” In the words of Paul Waldman, investigative reporter for The Week, “every bit of the previous sentence is false.”


Schweizer’s charge, repeated by President Trump and Hannity, has been debunked by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Also, the FBI investigated the Clinton Foundation and its relationship with Uranium One in 2015. They found “no evidence to move forward with a case.”

Uranium One was a South African company with mines in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the United States (two mines in Wyoming). It became a Canadian company in 2007 when Frank Giustra sold his Canadian mining company, UrAsia, to Uranium One, for $3.1 billion, according to The New York Times. Uranium One moved its headquarters to Toronto and Giustra sold his interest in the company.


After several business and philanthropy trips with former president Bill Clinton, Giustra started donating to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, three years before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009. In 2007, Giustra pledged $100 million to establish the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative to fight world poverty. According to Rick Cohen, national correspondent for Nonprofit Quarterly, Giustra is a well-known Canadian philanthropist. He received the Dalai Lama Humanitarian Award in 2014 for his work with the Radcliffe Foundation, The Boys Club Network, and for his work with the Clinton Foundation.

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Russian investors did not start buying Uranium One stock until 2009, two years after Guistra sold his holdings and started donating to the Clinton Foundation. Russian investors secured 51 percent of the company in 2010 and 100 percent by 2013. Since Uranium One had mining rights in America and Canada, the sale had to be approved by both countries.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not have the authority to approve the sale of Uranium One shares to Russian investors. On the American side, that recommendation belonged to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), made up of representatives from nine U.S. departments (The U.S. Trade Representative; Office of Science & Technology; Office of the Attorney General; and the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, State and Treasury). The vote to approve was unanimous. The sale then had to be approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the president. The Canadian government had their own approval process.

Secretary Clinton did not sit on the CFIUS committee. That job belonged to Jose Fernandez, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. Fernandez has stated to The New York Times that Clinton “never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter.”

Importantly, the sale was approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission contingent upon Russia never receiving a license to export American-mined uranium to Russia or any place else because the U.S. needs its uranium, and more, for its nuclear power plants. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only about 8 percent of the uranium needed by the U.S. comes from American mines. Twenty-three percent is imported from — wait for it — Russia, 22 percent from Canada, 15 percent from Australia and 32 percent from other sources. Thus, American-mined uranium stays in America, while a lot of Russian-mined uranium is sold to the United States.

In summary, Secretary Clinton did not approve the sale of a Canadian mining company Uranium One to Russia. She did not give up “20 percent of America’s uranium supply to Russia,” as stated by President Trump recently. Nor did she exchange American uranium for donations to the Clinton Foundation as suggested by Schweizer, President Trump and Hannity.

Readers should check Charity Navigator, an independent charity monitor, where the Clinton Foundation receives a four-star rating out of four stars. According to Politifact, tax documents show that “Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton receive no compensation from their work on the foundation.” Charity Navigator is unable to rate the Donald J. Trump Foundation because Trump has not provided financial documents, including tax records. If Schweizer and Hannity are looking for a scandal, perhaps they should look there.