A few hours ago:
Goog lord. Did the Times cut and paste this paragraph from a Breitbart piece? pic.twitter.com/wT7Qj9rK7Q
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 14, 2017
NYT changes 2nd graf of its Sessions investigation story. pic.twitter.com/uQLvXrzNpq
— Kevin Drum (@kdrum) November 14, 2017
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.