Fact Check: Bad news, Trump – The FBI is coming for you and your campaign team, not Hillary

by Ezinne Ajoku

Since becoming the 45th president of the United States if America, there’s been a cloud hanging over Trump’s administration due to Russia’s alleged involvement in the election that handed him the keys to the White House.

On the 20th of March, Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) Director, James Comey, confirmed that the agency had been investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia.


Regardless of this, on the 28th of March, Trump tweeted that the Trump/Russia story is a hoax. And, in fact, the spotlight should actually be on Hilary’s connections to Russia because of some Uranium deal she voted on when she was Secretary of State.

He repeated his alternative facts about the Russian connection again yesterday.

We know that Trump is an expert at sleight of hand and deflections, except that the evidence is contrary to his make-believe stories.

So let’s clear the air.

1 There is nothing like the “Bill and Hillary deal”
A little background. In the run-up to the presidential elections in May 2015, a book was published titled Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, an exposé of alleged Clinton Foundation corruption. It was authored by Peter Schweizer, a former Hoover Institution fellow and editor-at-large at the right-wing media company Breitbart.

The book claimed that “Clinton family and Russia each may have benefited from a “pay-for-play” scheme while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, involving the transfer of U.S. uranium reserves to the new Russian owners of an international mining operation in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation”.

That’s a whole lot of money. But does this allegation really bear out when passed through the crucible of evidence?

Uranium One, the Russian-controlled company in question, is an international mining company which originally was based in South Africa. But in 2007, it merged with Canada-based UrAsia Energy. Shareholders there retained a controlling interest until 2010, when Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, bought off a 51% stake in the company.

Hillary Clinton came into the picture because Uranium falls into the category of national security assets and for a deal that would involve a transfer of one-fifth of US reserves, it had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to which the Secretary of State belongs.

However, this was a regular process. Also, Hillary Clinton’s agency was only one of nine federal agencies to sign off on the deal. Lastly, the Uranium One deal was not Clinton’s to veto or approve. By law, that power lay solely with Obama.

Trump, the accuser

Now, this is not the first time Trump is accusing the Clintons of corruption. In a June 2016, during a speech in New York City, Trump accused the Clinton Foundation of  accepting “contributions from nine individuals associated with Uranium One totaling more than $100 million.” This claim had earlier been made by Schweizer claims in his book,  Clinton Cash.

According to Snopes, while the Clintons had indirect business connections with at least two investors who were involved with Uranium One, one of them, Frank Giustra, the company’s founder, sold off his investment with Uranium One in 2007, three years before the deal was made in 2010. He had given the Clinton Foundation a whopping $131.3 million.

As for Ian Telfer- the company’s chairman who actually donated to the Clintons foundation at the time the Uranium One deal went through (He gave the foundation $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control), he said that he only wanted to support Frank Giustra’s charitable endeavours.

When you consider the fact that both Ian and Guistra had been supporting the Clinton foundation long before Hillary knew she would even become Secretary of State side by side her utter lack of veto power on the CFIUS Committee that approved the Uranium One deal, these allegations fall flat.

As for every other accusation in Trump’s tweets, Politifact has rendered them null and void.

2 The Russian investigations are no hoax; the FBI means business.

Donald Trump must be living in an alternate universe to believe that the Trump-Russian story is “fake” or a “hoax”. Trump may not be feeding the Russians intel on the US to help his ratings but in recent times, some members of Trump’s team have had to resign because of ties to Russia- ties they had while working in Trump’s campaign team, and for some, ties they neglected to disclose. These ties have prompted an FBI investigation into the whole mess. The House Intelligence Committee is also looking into it.

First, there was Paul Manofort, Trump’s campaign manager who had to step down in August when it came to light that he’d had some fishy financial dealings with the Russia-aligned Ukrainian leaders. Shortly after James Comey confirmed ongoing investigations into the administration’s ties with Russia,  a Ukrainian lawmaker released documents allegedly showing that Manafort funnelled money through offshore accounts in Belize and Kyrgyzstan to hide money that he received from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Manafort even had a $10 million annual contract with a Russian oligarch in Putin’s inner circle in which he agreed to promote the Kremlin’s interest in Washington, Associated Press revealed.

As for Trump’s former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, VOX reports that Flynn registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent.  Flynn was actually a lobbyist for the Turkish government while he was a campaign operative. Documents from a congressional oversight committee revealed that Flynn had received tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of payments from Russian companies in 2015 that had never been previously disclosed.

Just yesterday, Flynn sought an immunity deal,  should he testify before Congress as to Russia meddling in the US elections.  Apparently, this Russian ties thing is a can of worms.

Trump really needs to start facing up to it instead of dragging Hillary into a subject matter that is not her concern. Afterall, the FBI confirmed that Russia wanted to hurt Hillary and help Donald Trump.


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