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Friday, October 27, 2017

Busting the Big Lie: NO URANIUM WAS SOLD TO THE RUSSIANS!!!

For more than a year, the Republicans -- desperate to divert attention away from the Trump/Russia scandal -- have been pushing an insane story that Hillary Clinton approved a sale of American uranium to Russia in exchange for a massive donation to the Clinton Foundation.

This tale is a huge lie. The best, most measured, most detailed response I've seen so far was by Paul Rosenzweig, formerly of the Department of Homeland Security. Since that piece is long and filled with detail, I shall summarize. I shall also draw from FactCheck.Org and from Crooked.Com.

1. Uranium One was a Canadian firm. As you might have guessed, they were -- and are -- in the business of mining uranium, and they operate in many different countries. Subsidiaries own mines in the U.S. -- specifically, in Wyoming, which produces a very small amount of the world's uranium. 

2. ARMZ, a subsidiary of a Russian firm called Rosatom (an arm of the government), bought 51% of Uranium One in 2010.

3. The deal required approval from all countries in which Uranium One did business. Incidentally, most of that business was done outside the U.S., because this country does not produce a lot of uranium.

4. CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States) is the inter-agency body that had to approve the deal; the purpose of this group is to protect our national security interests. CFUIS includes representatives from the State Department, Treasury, DHS, Justice, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community. For obvious reasons, this particular deal also went to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for approval.

5. Civil servants from each department study these deals and hash out the details. The "big cheeses" who head up these departments rarely deal with this stuff. Ultimately, the president signs off on their work. The vast majority of these deals go through.

6. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission "took point" on the Uranium One deal. They didn't have a problem with it. The other departments followed the NRC's lead.

7. Why didn't the NRC have a problem with it?
Simple: All mining licenses in the United States were held by U.S. subsidiary companies controlled by United States citizens.

Here is the key sentence from the NRC's review:
Neither Uranium One nor ARMZ holds an NRC export license, so no uranium produced at either facility may be exported.
Repeat: NO AMERICAN URANIUM WAS SOLD TO RUSSIA. No uranium scooped out of Wyoming's earth ever left our borders. (Added note: The uranium from Wyoming is NOT weapons grade.)

The Republicans keep saying that American uranium was sold to Russia. The Republicans are filthy liars.

Has Trump changed the situation in Wyoming? No. He has done nothing to force Uranium One to divest, because he is not interested in Uranium One except insofar as it can be used to slam Hillary. Trump knows full well that no uranium ever went to Russia. He knows that this entire tale is a Big Lie.

8. Hillary had no part in this. As per usual, a lower-level functionary in the State Department (his name was Jose Fernandez) signed off on the deal after the NRC gave its blessing. Same goes for the other departments. By the way: Nobody in the intelligence community had a problem with the deal.

9. What about that big donation to the Clinton Foundation? Almost all of that money came from one man who used to be a partial owner of Uranium One. He parted ways from that company years before Rosatom decided to buy in. Need I add that the Clinton Foundation is not a slush fund?  It is a charity -- one of the most transparent, open, hyper-scrutinized, honest, efficient and beneficial charities in the history of the world.

10. Disgraced "reporter" John Solomon brought the story back into the news. Solomon formerly worked for Reverend Moon's propaganda sheet, the Washington Times. He has a history of pushing GOP-friendly tripe, and although his stories may look like real journalism at first, they tend to crash and crumble. Back in 2007, the Columbia Journalism Review compiled a hilarious review of Solomon's humiliating record.

And that's it.

The whole thing is just another Big Lie -- a lie designed to hornswoggle Disgruntled Loser Boys who, unable to take responsibility for their own failures in life, seek solace in spewing hate at the Clintons, America's scapegoats. Did they repossess your car, Loser Boy? Blame Hillary. Evicted from your apartment? Blame Hillary. Wife left you? Definitely blame Hillary!

Wake up, Disgruntled Loser Boys. Aren't you sick of being lied to by Republican propagandists? They've been doing this shit for decades: Travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster, the Clinton "death list," Benghazi, the email server, on and on and on. These smears never survive examination from sites like FactCheck. Don't you ever get sick of being played for fools?
Comments:
Thanks for that hilarious CJR review. Not quite Twain-level (what is?) but reminiscent of it.
 
URNANIUM? Is there some Internet tradition that you cannot correct typos?
 
To the contrary, stickler: The main reason I welcome comments is my hope that readers will correct typos.

That particular typo was more embarrassing than usual, because it was in the headline. I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

In my defense: My error rate isn't so very high when you consider how much I write, and how rapidly I must write it.
 
Happy accidents. I read urnanium as a Tripartite Portmanteau response to the inane whizz-dumb of Solomon.
 
Yay, Wallt! I call them archetypos. And I like where you went with it.
 
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