White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Friday rebuked the media for not covering a controversial deal that gave Russia control of more than 20 percent of America's uranium supply when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, arguing the press was "obsessed" with Moscow when the main story concerned potential Russian ties to President Donald Trump.
Conway sparred with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota about U.S. relations with Russia, focusing on the sale of a Canadian uranium mining company, Uranium One, to Russia's Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, that was approved by the Obama administration in 2010.
The White House counselor first said that she wanted to talk about the current opioid epidemic in the United States, which Trump declared a public health crisis on Thursday, before addressing the Uranium One deal.
"Well, first of all, the president is not worried about Uranium One. The people who should be worries about Uranium One are the people who benefited from it," Conway said. "His spouse didn't go make a half-a-million-dollar speech in Russia while he was secretary of state, then turn around and be part of the decision-making process for them to get 20 percent of our rights. He wasn't secretary of state or president at the time when Russian folks were trying to infiltrate the State Department and get an advantage for this particular deal."
Conway was referencing how former President Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and the Clinton Foundation received millions in donations from parties interested in the uranium deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government body that approved the agreement.
Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit the Clinton Foundation, the Hill reported last week, adding that, according to FBI and court documents, "federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings, and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act."
Camerota asked Conway whether Trump wants the former FBI informant to testify, noting, "Clearly he has some interest."
The Justice Department has given the informant the green light to testify before Congress, CNN reported.
"Shouldn't you?" Conway responded. "Shouldn't we all? CNN is so vested in Russia, Russia, Russia, don't you want to hear from everybody now? Or are we just going to drop the word Russia forever morning because it gets a little too close to the woman who ran last time?"
"We have talked about this for the last year so let's at least close the loop, can't we?" Conway added. "And look at what the Clinton campaign and the Democrats did."
Camerota pressed Conway on what about the uranium deal bothered her if the deal should have been struck.
Zero," Conway said. "What bothers me it is that we can't get all of you who have been obsessed about Russia, Russia, Russia to cover it now that the shoe is on the other foot."
"I think it's exactly what people hate about corruption and politicians and the swamp," she added. "I think they look at that and it's not difficult for them to connect the dots that you have one spouse giving a half-a-million-dollar speech, [and] you have another one that's the secretary of state.
"Whole 20 percent of the US. uranium rights go to a Russian interest. That's not difficult for people to understand," she added.