Grave incompetence or brazen dishonesty?
Those are the only two conclusions one can reasonably come to after reviewing Hillary Clinton’s stunning Sunday interview on local New Hampshire TV.
When WMUR local TV host Josh McElveen asked Clinton why her State Department greenlit the transfer of 20 percent of all US uranium to the Russian government, Clinton claimed she had no involvement in her own State Department’s decision to approve the sale of Uranium One to Russia.
“I was not personally involved because that wasn’t something the secretary of state did,” said Clinton.
The transfer of 20 percent of US uranium — the stuff used to build nuclear weapons — to Vladimir Putin did not rise to the level of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s time and attention?
Beyond being an admission of extreme executive negligence on an issue of utmost national security, Hillary’s statement strains credulity to the breaking point for at least three other reasons.
First, nine investors who profited from the uranium deal collectively donated $145 million to Hillary’s family foundation, including Clinton Foundation mega-donor and Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra, who pledged $100 million.
Since 2005, Giustra and Bill Clinton have frequently globetrotted together, and there’s even a Clinton Foundation initiative named the Clinton-Giustra initiative.
But Hillary expects Americans to believe she had no knowledge that a man who made a nine-figure donation to her foundation was deeply involved in the deal? Nor eight other mining executives, all of whom also donated to her foundation?
Second, during her Sunday interview, Clinton was asked about the Kremlin-backed bank that paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a single speech delivered in Moscow. Hillary’s response? She dodged the question completely and instead offered this blurry evasion.
“The timing doesn’t work,” said Clinton. “It happened in terms of the support for the foundation before I was secretary of state.”
Hillary added that such “allegations” are being “made by people who are wielding the partisan ax.”
The reason Hillary ignored addressing the $500,000 direct payment from the Kremlin-backed bank to her husband is because that payment occurred, as the Times confirms, “shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One.”
And as for her comment that the timing of the uranium investors’ donations “doesn’t work” as a damning revelation: In fact, the timing works perfectly.
As “Clinton Cash” revealed and others have confirmed, Uranium One’s then-chief Ian Telfer made donations totaling $2.35 million that Hillary Clinton’s foundation kept hidden. Telfer’s donations occurred as Hillary’s State Department was considering the Uranium One deal.
Third, Clinton correctly notes in the interview that “there were nine government agencies who had to sign off on that deal.” What she leaves out, of course, is that her State Department was one of them, and the only agency whose chief received $145 million in donations from shareholders in the deal.
Does she honestly expect Americans to believe she was simply unaware that the deal was even under consideration in her own State Department?
Moreover, is that really the leadership statement she wants front and center heading into a presidential campaign? That in the critical moment of global leadership, with the Russians poised to seize 20 percent of US uranium, she was simply out to lunch?
Perhaps a review of her emails would settle the accuracy of her Sunday claim. But, of course, she erased her emails and wiped clean the secret server housed in her Chappaqua home.
To be sure, like those emails, Hillary Clinton wishes questions about her role in the transfer of US uranium to the Russian government would simply vanish.
But that’s unlikely. A recent polling memo by the Republican National Committee finds that the uranium transfer issue is “the most persuasive message tested” and one that “severely undercuts her perceived strength of resume.”
Hillary’s Sunday comments only served to elevate and amplify the need for serious answers to axial questions.
In the absence of such answers, Americans are left to believe only one of two potentialities regarding her involvement in the transfer of 20 percent of US uranium to Vladimir Putin: She was either dangerously incompetent or remains deeply dishonest.
Peter Schweizer is the author of the bestseller “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” (Harper), and president of the Government Accountability Institute.