During an interview with the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, pushed back on claims that his investment in a small energy company, Joule Energy, was backed by the Russian government.
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Podesta sparked a heated debate with Bartiromo after she stated that he was “given 75,000 shares in a Russian company.”
Podesta had a different take. “I did not have any stock in any Russian company so go back and get your facts straight Maria,” he said.
Bartiromo pressed Podesta. “That’s not true John, we know that you own 5,000 shares, you were on the board of [Joule]."
“I didn’t have any shares in any Russian company," Podesta said. "I was on the board of an American company that did business here and only here. The Russian company had a small investment in that company,” Podesta replied.
The back-and-forth continued, with Bartiromo asserting that "it’s been widely reported that that company has been backed by the Kremlin and they gave you 75,000 shares that you had to disclose when you went into the Obama Administration."
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Podesta insisted the reporting was wrong.
“Maria you can keep leveling this charge. It is not true. They didn’t give me anything," he said. "They had a small investment in a company I was on the board of. It was a clean energy company that was trying to deal with the issue of trying to produce energy liquid fuel from a biotechnology process. It was based in Boston and the Russian company had a very small investment in it.” Podesta suggested that Bartiromo may have been looking at information from InfoWars.
“No I’m not. This is Politico… The New York Times… The Wall Street Journal—that’s what I’m looking at John,” Bartiromo replied, turning the focus to Podesta's meeting with the Senate House Intelligence panel probing Russia’s interference with the 2016 election.
Suggesting that Democrats have much deeper ties to Russia than Republicans, Podesta responded by saying he was surprised she wasn’t more ”concerned” about Vladimir Putin interfering in the U.S. election.
“Actually I am concerned about it John,” Bartiromo said. “Everybody knows that Russia’s trying to undermine the U.S.—has been for years. That’s not a new story. The story that the Democrats have been riding and this Trump collusion is simply not true and we have no evidence of it.”
“Well look you’re talking to the wrong guy,” Podesta answered, “you should be talking to his people about whether they colluded.”