Mitt Romney says Clinton Foundation's link to uranium deal 'looks like bribery'

Mitt Romney held nothing back when he was asked about a recent wave of allegations that hit Hillary Clinton’s family foundation on Thursday.

In an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Romney said one of reports about the Clinton family’s charitable organisation details something that “looks like bribery.”

“You know, I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it. I mean, it looks like bribery,” Romney said. 

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee was referring to a New York Times Story published Thursday morning that detailed links between a wealthy donor who gave millions to the Clinton Foundation and a series of uranium deals. The donor, Frank Giustra, gave over $US30 million to the Clinton Foundation ollowing a 2005 trip he took to Kazakhstan with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. The visit included a sitdown with the autocratic Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Days after the meeting with Nazarbayev, one of Giustra’s companies inked a deal to buy into uranium deposits owned by Kazakhstan’s state-owned nuclear company Kazatomprom. The company later became known as Uranium One and acquired several US uranium mines. During Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department, that agency gave its approval when Russia’s state nuclear corporation purchased a stake in Uranium One. The company has since been acquired by the Russian corporation, Rosatom. 

Romney pointed to this situation and a New York Times reporter who has claimed President Clinton and Giustra falsely denied attending a meeting with a Kazakh nuclear executive. He also referred to the questions about emails Clinton deleted from her time as secretary of state. Romney suggested these situations exacerbated the problems with the Clinton family’s donations from Uranium One investors. 

“”I mean, there is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20% of America’s uranium production to Russia, and then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails. And you know, I presume we might know for sure whether there was or was not bribery if she hadn’t’t wiped out thousands of emails,” Romney said, adding, “But this is a very, very serious series of facts, and it looks like bribery.” 

The Times story is one of several published Thursday based on information found in Peter Schweizer’s upcoming book “Clinton Cash.” Though it isn’t out until next month, Schweizer gave previews to several media outlets, which published reports based on the book. The stories have generated negative headlines for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, which she officially launched earlier this month. 

Clinton’s campaign team has pointed to Schweizer’s ties to conservative groups and argued the book is a partisan smear. Brian Fallon, a spokesperson for Clinton also published a post on Medium on Thursday that specifically addressed the Times report on Uranium One. In addition to criticising the paper for working with Schweizer, Fallon argued Giustra was no longer with the company when the State Department approved the Rostaom deal. Fallon also claimed Clinton was not involved in approving that transaction. 

“The essential fact is that Hillary Clinton was not involved in the State Department’s review of the sale to the Russians,” Fallon wrote. “While it is true that the State Department sits on the multi-agency, inter-governmental panel that reviews deals like this one, Hillary Clinton herself did not participate in the review or direct the Department to take any position on the sale of Uranium One.”

Giustra also issued a statement on Thursday disputing the Times report. He criticised it as an attempt to “tear down” Hillary Clinton’s White House bid. 

“A book that has not yet been published has caused the New York Times to publish a wildly speculative, innuendo-laced article about the Clinton Foundation and my role in contributing money to it,” Giustra said. “There is not one shred of evidence to back up the Times’ conclusions. This is not about me, but rather an attempt to tear down Secretary Clinton and her presidential campaign. If this is what passes for investigative journalism in the United States, it is very sad.” 

Listen to Romney’s comments below. 

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