Politics

Trump Claims Russia Conspiracy Allegations 'A Hoax'

| by Ray Brown

President Donald Trump once again denounced the Democratic Party-led narrative that the Russian government colluded with Trump against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"Why isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech...." Trump tweeted, according to Politico. He continued some minutes later: "...money to Bill, the Hillary Russian 'reset,' praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!"

Trump referenced Hillary's dealings with Russia during her time as secretary of state, donations to the Clinton Foundation made by Russian companies, and the lobbying firm ran by Hillary's campaign chairman, John Podesta, whose clients include Russian companies.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump often talked scandals involving the Clinton Foundation and its well-heeled foreign donors.

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Among those donors was Uranium One, a Russian energy company, whose chairman made four donations to the Clinton Foundation, totaling $2.35 million, reported The New York Times in April 2015.

Those donations were never reported by the Clintons.

Controversy ensued when the Hillary-led State Department approved a deal to sell large amounts of uranium to the Russian energy company, which had close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Politico, Hillary did not have sole discretion over whether to approve or deny the deal because several other federal agencies, in addition to the State Department, had to sign off on the uranium sale.

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In his March 27 tweet, Trump also called out Podesta, whose powerful lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, counts the Russian government-controlled Sberbank as one of its clients.

According to OpenSecrets, Sberbank paid the Podesta Group $170,000 in 2016.

With Podesta's ties to Russian businesses, retired Air Force Col. James Waurishuk, who has worked on the National Security Council, wonders if Podesta was the target of a "Russia influence" campaign designed to change public perception of Russia.

"We haven’t heard very much from Podesta lately, particularly on the subject of Russia’s interference in the elections,” Waurishuk told The Daily Caller. "If the effort is going to be, ‘Get the Democratic Party to stop making Russia out to be the evil villains that they are,’ the influence part could be continuing with Podesta, which is to influence him to get them to stop."

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has further raised suspicion that it colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election after the Justice Department sent a letter to former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who planned to testify to the House Intelligence Committee about alleged Russian ties, that some of her planned testimony might not be open to the public under "presidential communication privilege," according to CNN.

The White House, however, denied it is trying to prevent Yates from testifying.

"I hope she testifies. I look forward to it," said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. "We have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple."

Sources: Politico, The New York Times, The Daily Caller, CNN, OpenSecrets / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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