Hillary Clinton on Wednesday slammed what she described as the “politicization of the Justice Department” after reports that the Trump administration was considering a special counsel to probe the Uranium One deal and alleged conflicts with the Clinton Foundation.
President Trump has criticized the uranium deal and suggested that Clinton, who served as U.S. secretary of state in the Obama administration, may be implicated in wrongdoing.
But in an interview with Mother Jones, Clinton claimed that the Uranium One story has been “debunked” a number of times and that the Trump administration was merely using the story as a distraction.
“And if they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, some authoritarian regime where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated -- that rips at the fabric of the contract we have that we can trust our justice system,” she said.
Trump and his supporters have accused Clinton of overseeing the sale of 20 percent of America's uranium supply to Russia. They see her alleged role as a scandal, particularly amid charges the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
Allegations also have been made that the approval of the sale of Uranium One benefited major donors to the Clinton Foundation, raising conflict-of-interest questions.
Fox News reported exclusively Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” requested by congressional Republicans, involving the sale of Uranium One and alleged unlawful dealings related to the Clinton Foundation, leaving the door open for an appointment of another special counsel.
The alleged relationship between the approval of the sale and the Clinton Foundation was first raised in 2015 by conservative author Peter Schweizer. He and others have pointed to some of the investors in the deal and their ties to former President Bill Clinton and his foundation.
In April 2015, The New York Times published an article echoing much of the Schweizer book, including one sensational contention that not long after the Russians said they wanted to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. The speech was paid for by a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin as it promoted Uranium One stock.
Canadian financier Frank Giustra, a top Clinton Foundation donor, sold his company, UrAsia, to Uranium One, which was chaired by Ian Telfer, also a Clinton Foundation donor. Giustra has said he sold his stake in the deal in 2007, while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were vying for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
PolitiFact found that the majority of the donations from individuals related to Uranium One and UrAsia were made before and during Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign — but before she became secretary of state in 2009.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.