Shepard Smith, a Fox News anchor, went against his own network’s position and debunked many of the claims associated with the Hillary Clinton uranium “scandal,” a move that infuriated many Fox viewers. During the piece, which was spawned after Republicans began pressing for a special counsel to investigate Clinton, Smith stated President Donald Trump’s assertions about Clinton were “inaccurate.”
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As reported by The Washington Post, Fox News, along with the president and his allies, have been implying there is a link between certain donations to the Clinton Foundation and an Obama-era State Department deal that allowed for the purchase of a Canada-based mining group that operations within the US by a Russian company.
Trump has referred to the deal as “Watergate, modern-age,” and Sebastian Gorka, a former White House adviser, has described it as being “equivalent to” the 1950s spying case involving Julius and Ethel Rosenberg where the couple was charged with providing information about US secrets to the Soviet Union. Gorka noted that the Rosenbergs “got the chair” for their actions.
While multiple fact-checkers associated with various news organizations have debunked much of the core of the accusations, Smith coming forward to do the same was unexpected due to his association with Fox News.
During the broadcast, Smith relayed many of the same points fact-checkers have shared.
Smith began by outlining the claims, saying, “Now, here’s the accusation. Nine people involved in the deal made donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling more than $140 million. In exchange, Secretary of State Clinton approved the sale to the Russians, a quid pro quo.”
He continued, “The accusation [was] first made by Peter Schweizer, the senior editor-at-large of the website Breitbart, in his 2015 book ‘Clinton Cash.’ The next year, candidate Donald Trump cited the accusation as an example of Clinton corruption.”
Smith then shared a video clip of Trump’s version of the “scandal,” where Trump claimed, “Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia. Well, nine investors in the deal funneled $145 to the Clinton Foundation.”
After the clip, Smith asserted the statement made by Trump was “inaccurate in a number of ways,” including the point that “the Clinton State Department had no power to veto or approve the transaction.” Instead, such purchases must be approved by an interagency government committee that includes nine department heads, only one of which is the secretary of state.
Smith also pointed out that the majority of the Clinton Foundation donations were made by Frank Giustra, the founder of the uranium company involved in the deal who had “sold his stake in the company back in 2007,” which was three years before the deal took place and “a year and a half before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state.”
He continued, “The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not. A committee of nine evaluated the sale, the president approved the sale, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and others had to offer permits, and none of the uranium was exported for use by the US to Russia.”
Smith’s statement fell so far away from Fox News’ usual stance that Sean Hannity, who has a show on Fox, accused Smith of being “anti-Trump.”
Many viewers supported Hannity’s assessment, calling for Smith to be removed from the Fox network, and some suggesting Smith should head over to CNN.
Multiple hashtags, including #FireShep and #FireShepSmith, have since been used by many who believe Smith should no longer be a part of Fox News.