Trump blasts Obama-era uranium sale as 'Watergate, modern-age'

President Trump has said he considers the Obama-era approval of a uranium deal involving a Russia-linked entity to be a modern version of Watergate.

“I think the uranium sale to Russia and the way that it was done—so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed—I actually think that’s Watergate, modern-age," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

The comparison comes a day after Republican representatives announced the launch of an investigation into the 2010 deal, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Looking back at the Watergate scandal
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Looking back at the Watergate scandal
View of the Watergate Hotel in Washington on June 17, the 25th anniversary of the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.The ensuing Watergate scandal toppled Ricard M. Nixon from the presidency in 1972. WATERGATE
UNITED STATES - JUNE 17: AFTER BREAK IN-Police and telephone men check out the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington Saturday after five men were arrested during a break-in attempt. Authorities called it an elaborate plot to bug the office and said the men had photographic equipment and electronic listening devices. Watergate break-in. (Photo by Ken Feil/Washington Post/Getty Images)
A United States marshal escorts Frank Sturgis from a courthouse after his arraignment. He was involved in the burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
United States marshals escort James McCord and Eugenio Martinez from a courthouse after their arraignment. They were involved in the burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
A United States marshal escorts Eugenio Martinez from a courthouse after his arraignment. He was involved in the burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
A United States marshal escorts Bernard Barker from a courthouse after his arraignment. He was involved in the burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Marking the 30th anniversary of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, 17 June 1972, the US National Archives opened up and displayed some of the police evidence 13 June 2002 that has been sealed in archival warehouses for almost 30 years. The personal phonebook belonging to burgular Bernard Barker containing the entry HH for Howard Hunt (top right), which established the direct connection to Hunt and the Nixon White House, is seen here. AFP Photo/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Marking the 30th anniversary of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, 17 June 1972, the US National Archives opened up and displayed some of the police evidence 13 June 2002 that has been sealed in archival warehouses for almost 30 years. To the rear are arrest photo enlargements of the 4 Cubans from Miami, Valdez Martinez(L),Virgilio Gonzalez(2L), Bernard Barker, and Frank Sturgis(R) who committed the crime and in the forground are lights, film, a toolbag , a trenchcoat, and bugging equipment used in one of the most famous burglaries in political history. AFP Photo/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A witness indicates H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff, on a diagram as he testifies before the Senate Watergate Committee during the Watergate Hearings. The nationally televised hearings began in mid-May 1973 and resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) This sketch shows White House Watergate Attorney James St. Claire arguing before the Supreme Court over whether President Nixon could assert executive privilege in withholding evidence demanded by Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworksi in the Watergate cover-up trial. The Justices are (L to R), Chief Justice Warren Burger; William Brennan; Byron White; Henry Blackmun; and at right is the chair normally occupied by William Rehnquist, who withdrew from this case.
President Richard Nixon delivers one of his periodic Watergate speeches. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee Sam Ervin listens to a witness during the Watergate Hearings. The nationally televised hearings began in mid-May 1973 and resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
The Senate Watergate Committee sits with key staff during the Watergate Hearings. The nationally televised hearings began in mid-May 1973 and resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
U.S. President Richard Nixon during Press Conference Regarding Middle East Crisis and Watergate, 1973. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Birmingham Evening Mail Front Page Published Friday 27th April 1973. Headlines. Bugging : Nixon aide resigns. (Photo by Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) President Richard Nixon, claiming he was misled by his staff, has assumes 'full responsibility' for the Watergate bugging and indicated a special prosecutor may be named to investigate the worst crisis of his presidency. Six top administration officials have resigned as a consequence of the case. Attorney General Richard G.Kleindienst and top White House aides H.R.Haldeman, John D.Ehrlichman and John W.Dean III all resigned April 30. Last week, L.Patrick Gray III, acting director of the F.B.I., and Jeb Stuart Magruder, a former Haldeman aide, also resigned.
Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee Sam Ervin sits with Chief Counsel Sam Dash, Senator Howard Baker, Staffer Rufus Edmiston and others as they listen to a witness during the Watergate Hearings. The nationally televised hearings began in mid-May 1973 and resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 8, 1974. (Photo by � Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Atlanta: George Bush, national chairman of the Republican Party, called on the Watergate committee to quickly wrap up its hearings and 'end the speculation' as to whether President Nixon was involved in the bugging and coverup. Bush spoke at a noon news conference prior to addressing the National Young Republican Federation in convention in Atlanta.
(Original Caption) John Ehrlichman, former Presidential counsel, testifies before the Senate Watergate Committee. He said that President Nixon gave no hint on March 22 he knew about a Watergate coverup. Ehrlichman will continue his testimony before the committee July 30th.
A demonstration outside the Whitehouse in support of the impeachment of President Nixon (1913 - 1994) following the watergate revelations. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
Colour photograph of President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) 37th President of the United States. Dated 1974. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
8th August 1974: View of the cover of an Extra edition of the New York Post from the day US president Richard Nixon resigned, with the headline, 'NIXON QUITS TONIGHT'. (Photo by Blank Archives/Getty Images)
8th August 1974: American president Richard Nixon (1913 - 1994) announces his resignation on national television, following the Watergate scandal. (Photo by Pierre Manevy/Express/Getty Images)
Richard Nixon (1913 - 1994) gives the thumbs up after his resignation as 37th President of the United States. His son-in-law David Eisenhower is with him as he says goodbye to his staff at the White House, Washington DC. (Photo by Gene Forte/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)
The Watergate hotel and condominium complex pictured on the Potomac River in Washington, June 17, 2002. Thirty years ago, on June 17, 1972 a break-in into an office in Washington's elegant Watergate building ended more than two years later with the resignation of the 37th president, Richard Nixon. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang HK/ME
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The recent attention may have been sparked, at least in part, by a report from The Hill last week which stated “the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.” 

“Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years…during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions," the piece further notes.

According to The Hill, one of these decisions included “the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.” 

Hillary Clinton has also been drawn into the controversy, with the New York Times reporting in 2015 that some of the people who had helped build Uranium One had contributed more than $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. 

The alleged transfer of money occurred during a time when Mrs. Clinton was head of the U.S. State Department, one of several agencies that had to weigh in on the sale.

Despite allegations of potential wrongdoing by Trump during the campaign, a PolitiFact investigation concluded, “While the connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Russian deal may appear fishy, there was simply no proof of any quid pro quo.” 

Plus, media outlets have pointed out that the sale required the approval of eight other agencies, and Clinton herself has called the allegations against her “baloney.”  

Critics have also accused the Trump administration of bringing up the uranium sale as a way to divert attention from the investigation into the president’s own alleged involvement with Russia. 

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