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Listening to some of the Democratic senators investigating campaign financing abuses is reminiscent of interviews given by the O.J. Simpson jurors.

Don’t bother them with the evidence. Their minds are made up.

It’s a tragedy that the establishment media have failed to elevate the hearings of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to the prominence they deserve. You simply can’t appreciate the substance, persuasiveness and drama of the testimony by reading about it in the papers the next day. You also can’t begin to appreciate the lengths to which some on the committee will go to ignore the obvious truth — that their party and their president willingly and knowingly solicited and accepted illegal campaign contributions from foreign sources.

Instead, every Democratic senator on the committee, with the exception of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-CT, chooses to obscure the issues — to downplay the testimony of key witnesses, to put the best face on every bit of evidence that suggests laws were broken.

When FBI agent Jerry Campane testified that Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, a long-time friend of President Clinton, laundered foreign money that may have come from the Communist Chinese government, Sen. John Glenn was almost speechless. Instead of asking Campane about the details of what he had found, Glenn and his colleagues asked the investigator his opinion about the need for stricter campaign finance laws.

Campane explained that his expertise was in investigating violators of current laws, not writing new ones. Nevertheless, other Democratic senators continued to solicit his opinion about the need for new laws. Their agenda became more transparent than ever before. Let’s forget about all the laws that have already been broken and let’s write some new ones.

Yue Chu, whose husband worked for Trie’s business partner, Ng Lap Seng in Beijing, testified under oath that she wrote checks to the Democratic National Committee and immediately got reimbursed by her husband’s boss who wanted “to come visit the White House … to buy a ticket to pass the gate.”

Was the White House for sale? Ng, also known as Mr. Wu, sure thought so. So did Charlie Trie and those around him. Wonder where they got that impression?

But none of the see-no-evil Democrats on the committee had their suspicions raised. Uh-uh. They insisted on proof that Wu’s money transfers to Trie actually came from the government of China. Of course, without the testimony of Wu (hiding in China), Trie (hiding in China), his assistant (hiding in China) or the government in Beijing (not likely), hard, documentable proof could be elusive.

However, the money did come from the Bank of China. Wu is a member of an organization that provides economic advice to the Communist Party and the central government in Beijing. He’s also a business associate of Wang Jun, chairman of CITIC, a large Chinese company actually owned by the government and a major weapons manufacturer.

You connect the dots. Does it take a super-sleuth to figure this out?

Who was the beneficiary of all this largesse and foreign money? It was Bill Clinton, of course. It wasn’t just the Democratic National Committee. Charlie Trie also gave $664,000 to the trust fund collecting money for Clinton’s legal expenses. That money was ultimately returned and attempts were made to hide the fact that it was ever donated.

And what did this money buy? It seems to have purchased the access to the president that was intended from the start. Mr. Wu did get his ticket to the White House. In fact, he got to visit the White House at least 10 times between 1994 and 1996. And Trie has visited the White House at least 23 times since Clinton moved in. In addition, he got an executive order naming him to the Commission on United States-Pacific Trade and managed to arrange a secret coffee between Clinton and Wang Jun, China’s most important and well-known arms dealer.

This is a scandal so ripe, I can’t believe it is not dominating the front pages of every newspaper in the country. I can’t believe CBS and ABC and NBC are dwelling exclusively on the tepid news about the budget deal. We’re not just talking about some bad decisions made during the heat of a campaign, as some yellow-dog Democrats suggest. There is overwhelming evidence that White House access was sold to a hostile foreign power in exchange for money.

But then, again, what do I know? I thought O.J. Simpson murdered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

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