Monday, August 15, 2016

Federalist polemicist repeats conspiracy theories as fact

Mr. Hyde
James H. Hyde should know better. Hyde writes at the Federalist:
The New York Times reports that in the latest release of Clinton documents, billionaire donors to the Clinton Foundation tried to curry favors from a responsive State Department when Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of State. That gambit is known as the “pay-to-play” scandal. Give the foundation a big fat donation, and Hillary will open whatever door you need opened. In fact, as secretary, she approved a now-famous deal that granted the Russians control over 20 percent of uranium production here in the United States.
  • There is not an iota of evidence that anyone at State did anything improper. None. Therefore there is no “play.”
  • There is not an iota of evidence that any Clinton has ever personally benefited from the Clinton Foundation. None. Therefore, there is no “pay.”
Absent the elements, pay and play, there cannot be a “pay-to-play” scheme. Therefore, there is no scandal. I realize that conspiracy theories are more interesting than facts but they lack meaningful substantiation. Mr. Hyde has been a reporter for over 30 years. Perhaps he can find some evidence. Apparently, he cannot.

Furthermore, as I have previously written, a Canadian company controls about a fifth of US uranium production. That company was acquired by Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency. A committee comprised of a number of government agencies had to approve the deal including State. According to the New York Times, in an April 23, 2015 piece, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. And so what? There has been no effort to obfuscate any of this. Unless someone can demonstrate that the Clintons benefit it is irrelevant. Unless someone can also then demonstrate that State swung the committee, it is nonsense. According to the Times:
In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.” He emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary. “To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless,” he added.
The New York Times piece concludes by providing some important context:
When the Uranium One deal was approved, the geopolitical backdrop was far different from today’s. The Obama administration was seeking to “reset” strained relations with Russia. The deal was strategically important to Mr. Putin, who shortly after the Americans gave their blessing sat down for a staged interview with Rosatom’s chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko. “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves,” Mr. Kiriyenko told Mr. Putin.
Mr. Hyde's piece by the way questions whether WikiLeaks has an October surprise for Sec. Clinton. Included is this idiocy:
While many believe the Russians provided Assange the DNC emails, Assange has remained steadfast in refusing to confirm or deny that Russia is his source. However, a hint about the true source can be traced back to July 10 at 4:30 a.m. That’s when Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who managed a database for the committee, was shot in the back and murdered.
Those who believe that Assange is being provided with materials from the Russian government include the FBI. Hyde's implication that Rich was shot because he leaked information is so utterly irresponsible that the Federalist should provide some adult supervision. Rich was a voting rights staffer and not a database manager.

Hyde also claims that Sec. Clinton wants Assange extradited to the United States to face espionage charges. However, there are no charges pending against Assange. As the Washington Post reported, Justice Department officials have what they described as a “New York Times problem.” If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post.

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