The Uranium Follies Continue

A few hours ago:

Now:

I guess this is better? We’ve gone from “acquire much of the United States’ uranium,” which is flatly wrong, to “approve the sale of uranium,” which is slightly less wrong.

In fact, what happened is this: the Obama administration allowed a Russian company to acquire a Canadian company called Uranium One, which owned about 10 percent of our uranium production capacity, not 10 percent of our uranium.¹ The actual amount of uranium it produces is about 5 percent of total US uranium production. What’s more, the Russian company has no license to export this uranium, so it’s going to stay in the United States no matter who owns the mines.

So why not just say “uranium mining capacity” and qualify it with “a modest amount”? And why not add a brief sentence saying that no actual uranium has been approved for export outside the US? Even in a quick summary graf neither one takes up a lot of room, and omitting them leaves readers with an extremely distorted view of what happened.

Everyone knows this is all that happened, and everyone knows that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong when the State Department joined eight other agencies in approving the deal. But this is no longer about Clinton anyway. The whole thing is a last-ditch attempt to smear special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who headed the FBI when the Uranium One deal went through and is now causing Republicans a lot of heartburn over his investigation of Trump-Russia ties.² Blow enough smoke over this, and maybe he’ll be forced to resign—and a new, less aggressive special prosecutor can be appointed. It’s all pretty transparent, and every reporter writing about this knows exactly what’s going on.

¹It was originally estimated that Uranium One owned 20 percent of US uranium mining capacity, but that was later revised to 10 percent.

²The theory here is that both the Uranium One deal and Mueller’s investigation are Russia-related. The FBI was allegedly investigating some kind of bribery related to Uranium One back in 2010, when Mueller was director, so….

Critics question whether Mueller’s own ties to the bureau as well as fired FBI director James Comey now render him compromised as he investigates allegations of Russian meddling and collusion with Trump officials in the 2016 race.

Got it? There’s more at the link if you’re interested in the long version of the Mueller conspiracy theory.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.