It's the DC topic that won't go away: Uranium One. President Trump sees it as a Watergate-level scandal involving Hillary Clinton, while those who disagree—now notably including Shepard Smith of Fox News—think Trump and Republicans are wildly distorting the facts. The controversy came up again Tuesday when GOP lawmakers pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions on why he hasn't appointed a special prosecutor to investigate. A "factual basis" is required, he responded, suggesting it does not currently exist. Some background and developments:
- Uranium One: It's a mining company headquartered in Canada that's one of the world's biggest producers of uranium and owns mining rights in the US. In 2010, the Russian state nuclear agency, Rosatom, bought a controlling interest. At the time, this involved an estimated 20% of US uranium, though the figure is now about 10%, per the Christian Science Monitor.
- The accusation: Trump and Clinton's critics say that key players in the deal gave $145 million to the Clinton Foundation, and that she then approved Rosatom's purchase of the Canadian company as secretary of state. Trump has called it "the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow," and Sean Hannity has been pushing it hard on Fox News.
- The pushback: On Tuesday, Hannity's Fox counterpart, Shep Smith, departed from the network's coverage of the story, calling Trump's accusations "inaccurate." For one thing, the sale was approved by the heads of nine departments, State being one of them, and it's not clear Clinton played any role. "The Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve that transaction," says Smith. See his full takedown here, for which he's taking much flak from Fox viewers, notes the Washington Post.