Shepard Smith (AP/Richard Drew)

Fox News viewers declare war on Shepard Smith for debunking Uranium One conspiracy

Smith carefully explained to viewers that Uranium One wasn't a real scandal, hours before Sean Hannity played it up


Taylor Link
November 15, 2017 5:05PM (UTC)

Fox News' Shepard Smith expertly poked holes in the Uranium One conspiracy peddled by his own network. And now viewers are calling for his head.

In an awe-inspiring segment Tuesday, Smith defiantly discredited the story alleging then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved the sale of uranium to Russia in exchange for kickbacks to her charity foundation.

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"What is Uranium One? Uranium One is the name of a South African-based mining company," Smith explained Tuesday to his audience. "Back in 2007, it merged with Eurasia Energy, based in Canada. And in 2010, the mining arm of the Russian nuclear agency, Rosatom, bought controlling interests in the company."

Smith described in detail that why the Uranium One story was a non-scandal.

"Now, here's the accusation," Smith said. "Nine people involved in the deal made donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling more than $140 million. In exchange, Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton approved the sale to the Russians, a quid-pro-quo. The accusation 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."

Smith played a clip of Trump saying that Clinton's State Department "approved the transfer of 20 percent of America's uranium holdings to Russia. Well, nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation."

"That statement is inaccurate in a number of ways," Smith said in response to Trump's quote. "First, the Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction. It could do neither." A committee on foreign investment in the U.S., headed by the secretary of treasury and nine other federal department heads, actually had a final say over the deal,

"The nine department heads all approved the sale of Uranium One," Smith told his audience. "It was unanimous, not a Hillary Clinton approval. We don't know definitively whether Secretary Clinton participated at all directly. The then-Secretary of State -- I should say Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernando represented State on CFIUS. He says she did not, reporting that the secretary never intervened."

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What made the conspiracy even more bizarre is the implication that Clinton risked America's national security interest by allowing Russia to get its hands on uranium. But, as Smith explains, Uranium One sells the uranium that it mines to civilian power reactors in the U.S.

As far as the donations to the Clinton Foundation, one of the nine donors Trump mentioned, Frank Giustra, the founder of Eurasia Energy, gave $131 million of the $145 million at issue here. Smith explained that Giustra sold his stake in the company back in 2007 — before the Uranium One deal was made, so his donations could not have been involved with the transaction.

"The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale," Smith said to conclude the segment. "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 for use by the U.S. to Russia. That is Uranium One."

Watch the clip of Smith debunking Uranium One below:

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The segment did not go over well with Fox News viewers, who were hoping that the scandal would distract from the disasters plaguing the Trump administration. Fox's audience took to Twitter to express their disgust in Smith and some even called for his firing.

 

 

Hours later, Smith's colleague, Sean Hannity, would showcase a chart that tried to implicate Clinton in a shady, corrupted deal.


Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Fox News Media Right-wing Media Russia Shepard Smith Uranium One

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