Administration

Trump: Obama-era uranium deal is 'real Russia story'

President Trump said Thursday that an Obama-era uranium deal with Moscow is "the real Russia story," and again dismissed allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia as "a hoax."

Sitting beside Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossell at the White House, Trump said that the media should be focusing on the uranium deal, as opposed to ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination between his campaign and Moscow.

"That's your story. That's your real Russia story. The real story is uranium," Trump told reporters. "Not a story where they talk about collusion and there was none. It was a hoax. Your real Russia story is uranium and how they got all of that uranium - the vast percentage of what we have. That, to me, is one of the big stories of the decade. Not just now. The decade."

The comments came hours after Trump tweeted Thursday morning that the so-called "Fake Media" did not want to cover news about the 2010 uranium sale, which gave Moscow control of more than 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply.

"The problem is mainstream media does not want to cover that story because that affects people they protect," Trump claimed. "So they don't like covering that story. But the big story is uranium and how Russia got 20 percent of our uranium and, frankly, it's a disgrace and it's a disgrace that the fake news won't cover. It's so sad."

The Hill reported Wednesday that the FBI uncovered evidence that Russian nuclear officials were involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering before the Obama administration approved the deal.

It wasn't the first time Trump has mentioned the uranium sale, however. He frequently referenced the deal during his presidential campaign as an attack on his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of State when the sale took place.

Trump has also pointed to Russian donations made to the Clinton Global Initiative to suggest that Clinton approved the deal in exchange for contributions.

The State Department had a presence on the panel that approved the deal, though a spokesman for Clinton said the former top diplomat was not involved in the review process.

The question of whether members of Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia to help disrupt and influence the 2016 presidential election is being scrutinized by a special counsel and two congressional committees.

Trump has repeatedly denied that he or anyone else on his campaign had any improper contact with Russian operatives, and has called the investigations a "witch hunt."

-Updated 1:26 p.m.

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