Here’s a prediction: Kenneth Starr’s long-awaited report on impeachable offenses by the president is going to be completely overshadowed by the latest revelations of a direct connection between Chinese military intelligence and illegal Democratic Party campaign contributions.
And that’s good, because, as I have said many times, Starr’s independent counsel investigation has been, until now, either a comedy of errors or itself a scandalous political cover-up in the making.
What do I mean? Well, of course, the day Starr fired Miquel Rodriguez, his own top prosecutor charged with investigating the death of Vincent Foster, those of us familiar with his probe understood he would never get to the bottom of the most serious crimes of the Clinton administration. The fix was in. This was a political investigation by a political animal, not a criminal probe by a serious law enforcement officer. For whatever reason, and I have speculated on them in the past, Starr and his top lieutenants were not interested in rocking the boat too much.
The Monica Lewinsky/Kathleen Willey phase of the investigation was never going to bring down the presidency. Not only did it not resonate with the American people, it was like trying to nail an organized crime figure on a charge of soliciting call girls or talking dirty to his mob molls.
A good illustration of how Starr wasn’t willing to play hardball is the recent story related by former White House associate counsel Jane Sherburne in New York Magazine. Sherburne whined about how degrading it was that she was asked to search the White House looking for incriminating documents in the aftermath of the Hillary Clinton billing records scandal.
Apparently, Starr’s office and the White House were locked in negotiations over the best way to search the living quarters where the records had mysteriously turned up after a long hiatus. Instead of seeking a court order permitting his own investigators to search the White House, Starr yielded to a compromise plan in which Sherburne would be trusted to conduct the hunt.
Of course, she turned up nothing. Not surprising to those of us who know Sherburne as one of the architects of White House cover-up. In December 1994, Sherburne authored the now-infamous memo detailing 39 scandals consuming the attention of the administration at that time. She assigned attorneys to each one, not to seek the truth about the possible high crimes and misdemeanors being perpetrated, but to do damage-control, to defuse politically, to malign those (including me and my organization) responsible for raising the charges, to expend whatever political capital was necessary to undermine the probes and to use taxpayer resources to cover up each and every offense.
Is this the person you would trust to search through the White House living quarters to determine if any other incriminating records are squirreled away there? Hardly. It was a bad call, but not the first or last by Starr.
But now, thanks, not to the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” but to The New York Times, a much bigger scandal has emerged — one that ties together other offenses, yet stands on its own as a historical monument to abuse of power. When the dust settles, Teapot Dome and Watergate will pale in comparison to the treasonous escapades of Chinagate.
Imagine, for instance, if during the Watergate scandal we learned that the Committee to Re-Elect the President had not only taken campaign contributions from Howard Hughes through Bebe Rebozo, but had accepted illegal funds from, say, the Pinochet regime’s secret police in Chile or the dreaded Savak in the shah’s Iran.
That would have been bad enough, of course, to fast-track the impeachment process. Yet even this comparison is weak, because Chile and Iran did not have nuclear weapons targeted on the United States. China does — at least 13 of them to be exact. Yet, the Clinton campaign took money from Chinese military intelligence. He did this at the very moment his administration was making a dramatic policy change to allow China access to high technology that would make their nuclear targeting more accurate.
In the entire history of the world, I would defy anyone to come up with a more overtly treasonous action by any national leader. There is no parallel. There is no comparison. Even Neville Chamberlain’s shameful and tragic appeasement of Nazi Germany leading to World War II was not an action of raw greed and hunger for power.
No, my friends, this crime is in a class by itself. This will be the Clinton legacy. It’s time to clean up this mess and take America back.