Fox News Anchor Destroys Conspiracy Theory About Hillary Clinton and Uranium One

Hillary Clinton said appointing a special counsel to probe the Uranium One deal would be a “disastrous step into politicizing the Justice Department.” Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Updated | Fox News anchor Shep Smith dismantled a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and the 2009 sale of the company Uranium One that has been promoted by network hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

Fox's opinion show hosts have been echoing President Donald Trump and several Republicans in the hard-right Freedom Caucus urging the Department of Justice to launch a special counsel to investigate Clinton. This week, members of the caucus wrote an opinion piece for Fox News calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Clinton or "step down."

They charge Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, got $145 million in kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation from Uranium One's investors after the Canadian company was sold to the Russian state-owned atomic energy company, Rosatom.

"The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. 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," Smith summed up at the end of a six minute takedown of the conspiracy theory Tuesday. "It was unanimous, not a Hillary Clinton approval."

"Most of those donations were from one man, Frank Giustra, the founder of the company in Canada," said Smith. "He gave $131 million to the Clinton Foundation. But Giustra says he sold his stake in the company back in 2007. That is three years before the uranium/Russia deal and a year and a half before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state."

Shep Smith just took apart the Uranium One conspiracy theory in what amounts to a methodical annihilation of his own network's coverage of the story.

— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) November 14, 2017

The day before Smith's takedown, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee chairman stating the Department of Justice is looking at whether there is merit to investigating Clinton and the deal.

Read more: U.S. risks 'coup' if Mueller investigation continues, Republicans warn

"Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow!" Trump tweeted at the end of October. Days later, Trump said that the approval of the uranium sale is just one reason why Clinton should be investigated and, in a tweet, urged Republicans to "DO SOMETHING!"

Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017

During a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on November 1, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro insisted he should appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, according to The New York Times. "Everything I said to President Trump is exactly what I've vocalized on my show, Justice With Jeanine," Pirro said. Fox News opinion show hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity have also promoted the Uranium One deal as a scandal.

After Smith's segment on the Uranium One conspiracy theory Tuesday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran a piece on his show titled "Real Russia Scandal" with a picture of Clinton. During the segment Carlson argued the sale of Uranium One was a national security threat as it ceded control of American uranium to Russia. Treaties signed by Russia and the U.S. prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and Russia has used the uranium in its nuclear energy reactors.

Late last week, members of the Freedom Caucus argued in congress that the Uranium One deal disqualifies special counsel Robert Mueller from leading the investigation into whether the Trump campaign assisted Russia in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

The group said Mueller has a conflict of interest because during the Uranium One deal he was heading the FBI while it was investigating corruption at a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned atomic energy company Rosatom that bought Uranium One.

"We are at risk of a coup d'etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person, with no oversight, to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States," said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz from the chamber floor.

"It is far past time to thoroughly investigate this [Uranium One] deal, the Obama administration's actions, and the Clinton family's role," said California Rep. Scott Perry.

This article was updated to remove references referring to Shep Smith as a Fox News host. He is an anchor on the network.