White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest punted questions about a New York Times story regarding the Clintons’ involvement with Russian state-owned energy agency Rosatom’s takeover of Uranium One during Thursday’s White House Press Briefing.
Earnest was asked by ABC’s Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl if it was a mistake allow a Russian country to gain such a large stake in the US’ uranium market, he responded that he wasn’t familiar with the transaction.
He was then asked about the memorandum regarding the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s speaking fees and whether it could be made public, Earnest stated “this is a memorandum of understanding that resides at the State Department. So, you can ask them about their policy for disclosing it.”
After Karl said, “we’ve asked for that…this was supposed to be all about transparency. Can we see that memorandum?” Earnest told him, “I think the goal of the memorandum was to ensure that even the appearance of a conflict of interest was avoided by ensuring that there was greater transparency and greater knowledge about the contributions that were being accepted by the Clinton Foundation for the charitable work that they do. That was the goal of the memorandum.”
When questioned on whether it had now become clear that Clinton did not follow her own memorandum of understanding, Earnest stated, “I’m not sure that that’s clear, but you should go ask Secretary Clinton’s team about that.”
After Karl followed-up on whether Clinton violated the memorandum of understanding, Earnest again said, “for the details of this transaction, I’d refer you to either State Department or Secretary Clinton’s team. Obviously, that’s not something that was reviewed at this level.”
Earnest also referred Karl to Clinton’s team on whether donations made to the Clinton Foundation made by Algeria’s government violated her memorandum of understanding.
Karl then asked, “one thing Secretary Clinton’s team has referred us back to the White House on is whether or not any agency objected to that Uranium One deal, again, that allowed the Russians to take steps towards cornering the uranium market which seems pretty significant…[were there] any objections made by agency in the United States government for the Russians making such a bold move…toward a significant section of the uranium market?”
Earnest responded that he would look into it, and added, “the other thing that has also been pointed out here, is that this is a decision that other countries had the opportunity to weigh in on as well, and that seems like a relevant fact.”
Earnest concluded, in response to another question, “I haven’t been presented any evidence to indicate that somehow there’s been insufficient information provided to the administration.”
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