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Smerconish Helps Sen. Barrasso Push Lie That Clinton Personally Approved Uranium Deal

Who needs Fox when you've got CNN and The New York Times doing their work for them?
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Who needs Fox when you've got CNN and The New York Times doing their work for them? From this Saturday's Smerconish on CNN, host Michael Smerconish helps Sen. John Barrasso pretend that Hillary Clinton had control over not just the State Department, but at least nine different officials and government agencies -- because that's what it would have taken for her to be solely responsible for approving this nuclear deal that Barrasso is claiming he sounded the alarm bells on back in 2010.

SMERCONISH: When you wrote the letter, you were expressing concerns, given the approval of the nuclear regulatory commission. Were you aware of the fact that the State Department was also signing off on this deal?

BARRASSO: I wasn't aware of any of that component of it. I wanted to go right to the President with my concerns and the response I got was from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission three months after I wrote to the President. Now we hear all of these other issues and what the State Department has done, what contributions may have been made to both former President Clinton as well as the Clinton Foundation, which is now raising so much additional interest and concern. And on those issues we're still trying to connect the dots.

SMERCONISH: Given your knowledge of the way government functions, do you believe this sort of approval, if necessary from the State Department is the kind of thing that would have gotten to the desk of Sec. Clinton?

BARRASSO: Well, I would have expected that the Secretary of State would have approved such an arrangement where we can see that Russia would control twenty percent of the uranium in the United States, a product that we have to import significantly, when twenty percent of all of our electricity, or energy comes from nuclear power, so yeah, I would have thought that this would have raised it to that level, but my concern primarily was for national security and energy security for our country, especially when we see the way Russia uses energy as an instrument, a weapon, of power in international activities. So I was very concerned about Russia getting U.S. uranium, especially knowing that they send that product to people who are not our friends and especially Iran.


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Media Matters already debunked this lie following Bret Baier's interview with Clinton smear book author Peter Schweizer: Fox News Baselessly Blames Hillary Clinton For Uranium Deal:

Fox News baselessly suggested that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally approved a deal that eventually gave the Russian government ownership of U.S. uranium mines to benefit a Clinton Foundation donor. But Clinton reportedly had no personal involvement in the deal, which was approved by representatives of nine U.S. agencies after a rigorous review process.

On the April 4 edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier previewed his upcoming hour-long special on discredited conservative author Peter Schweizer's forthcoming book Clinton Cash, in which he accuses Bill and Hillary Clinton of influence peddling with foreign governments in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees. The segment focused on Schweizer's allegations regarding Clinton's purported role in approving the sale of the uranium mining company Uranium One to the Russian government.

New York Times reporter Jo Becker, whose own reporting on the Uranium One story has been criticized by the Clinton campaign for burying "original reporting that debunks the allegation that then-Secretary Clinton played any role in the review of the sale," also appeared in the segment. Both the Times and Fox reportedly "made arrangements for exclusive access" to the book. [...]

But Baier's preview omitted important context to misleadingly suggest that Clinton personally approved the Russian purchase. According to Time, which received this chapter of Schweizer's book in advance, the State Department's role in approving the deal was part of an extensive bureaucratic process, and Schweizer's chapter offers no indication of Hillary Clinton's personal involvement in, or even knowledge of, the deliberations. In fact, Time quotes Jose Hernandez, who as former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs was involved the deliberations on behalf of the State Department, denying that Clinton was involved in the matter at all.

Moreover, Time pointed out that the "deal's approval was the result of an extensive interagency process that required the assent of at least nine different officials and agencies" through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. According to the report, "State has just one vote on the nine-member committee, which also includes the departments of Defense, Treasury and Energy. Disagreements are traditionally handled at the staff level, and if they are not resolved, they are escalated to deputies at the relevant agencies. If the deputies can't resolve the dispute, the issues can be elevated to the Cabinet Secretary level and, if needed, to the President for a decision. The official chairman of CFIUS is the Treasury Secretary, not the Secretary of State."

Furthermore, the Uranium One deal also had to receive approval from "the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency outside of the State Department's purview, as well as Utah's nuclear regulator. The deal also received approval from Canada's foreign investment review agency." Read on...

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