On Wednesday night’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s Tom Foreman offered a report on the Clinton-Russia-uranium scandal, and then Cooper turned to the pundits for analysis – or, as you might expect, for two Clinton defenders to dismiss it all as irrelevant old news. Foreman cited the new investigative reporting in The Hill newspaper, and Joshua Green just pretended it was never published:
GREEN: This is all old news. I actually wrote about the story and how it came to be in my book published three, four months ago. I mean, all of this stuff came out years ago. There was a front page story in The New York Times. And the element about this that hasn't got any attention. I think it's important is this story was generated by Steve Bannon working under the auspices of the Mercer family, the right-wing billionaires who produced the book Clinton Cash which in return before it was published was given to New York Times reporters who took this, realized there really is a story here and it generated a front page story in The New York Times above the fold just after Clinton announced her candidacy.
Green baldly aped the vast-right-wing conspiracy language Hillary used to first deny the Lewinsky scandal. He said the important story is who backed the journalism, not whether it was true or false. In 1998, Hillary said "The great story here for anyone willing to find it and write about and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."
Dishonest Clintonistas cry "old news" like Donald Trump cries "fake news." It doesn't matter that there's new news. They just pretend it never emerged. Green doesn't acknowledge that the 2015 New York Times story drew only three minutes on the TV newscasts -- which can't compare to the 1,000 minutes these network evening newscasts have given this year on Trump/Russia.
GREEN: The purpose of the story as Bannon tells me in the book was to impugn Clinton's character, which it did, and what's interesting is it's coming up now at the very point at which Russia has become a problem for Donald Trump and by Congressional Republicans surfacing this now, I think it muddies the water and draws attention away from Trump.
How dare the Clinton critics produce journalism that "muddies the water" of CNN's dominant Trump-Russia conspiracy narrative! Like a tag team of Clintonistas, Paul Begala then just took his turn of denying the story meant anything:
BEGALA: The new company that bought this uranium has no license to export.
COOPER: The uranium is not in Russia.
BEGALA: Uranium is not going to Russia. It can't go to Russia. They have no license to export. That's point one.
Point two, those are nine cabinet and some sub cabinet agencies that sit on that, including the Justice Department, of which the FBI is part. So if the FBI had concerns they should have raised it at that level because they had a seat at the table. The Treasury Department chairs that process, by the way, not State or Justice.
And finally, Hillary didn't even vote on it. She didn't attend the meetings on it. She delegated it sensible to somebody who knows more about this stuff, again, in Jose Fernandez, who is the assistant secretary who said, and I'm quoting, he said, "Hillary Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter." So no intervention. She didn't even vote on it.
Hillary is always innocent, and Hillary always has her little denial quotes organized for Begala to recite like a teacher's pet. The only thing that made it funny was Begala turning to PolitiFact -- underlining its partisan usefulness as an "independent fact checker."
GREEN: What it doesn't show was there was any kind of collusion --
BEGALA: -- Politifact, which has done a really good explanation at this one. One thing I point out, the guy that made those donations, he made them 18 months before Hillary was even secretary of state and three years before this deal.