The Most Egregious Series of 'Corrupt Acts' Ever

“The evidence points in the direction of the president inviting Ukraine to engage in the corrupt acts of investigating a US political opponent,” House manager Adam Schiff told the U.S. Senate about a thousand times last week.

A master dissembler, Schiff said whatever he had to in his effort to remove President Trump from office. However shameful, that was his job. The media had no excuse for enabling him. Those old enough to remember the Clinton years know what “corrupt acts” by a sitting president really smell like.

In 1997, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs chaired by Sen. Fred Thompson laid out in broad terms the scope of corruption that President Bill Clinton orchestrated:

The president and his aides demeaned the offices of the president and vice president, took advantage of minority groups, pulled down all the barriers that would normally be in place to keep out illegal contributions, pressured policy makers, and left themselves open to strong suspicion that they were selling not only access to high-ranking officials, but policy as well. Millions of dollars were raised in illegal contributions, much of it from foreign sources.

Johnny Chung described the state of affairs a bit more colorfully. “The White House is like a subway,” he told the Thompson committee. “You have to put in coins to open the gates.” Chung admitted to funneling $100,000 from the Chinese Military to the Democratic National Committee.

In the runup to the 1996 election, the Clintons needed every dollar they could extort to rebound from their own scandalous missteps and the Democratic Party’s drubbing in the 1994 midterms.

I could cite a score of specific outrages during that campaign, but I will concentrate on one that, as Schiff was fond of saying, “endangered U.S. national security.” By comparison, anything the U.S. or the Ukraine suffered as a result of the celebrated funding “pause” was a trifling inconvenience.

Here are a few of the other, lesser outrages during that election cycle:

  • In February 1996, Clinton met with with Chinese arms dealer Wang Jun, a meeting greased by a $50,000 donation, a meeting even Clinton would admit was “clearly inappropriate” but only after Wang Jun’s company was caught flooding California’s inner cities with illegal semi-automatic weapons.
  • In April 1996 Clinton sent embattled Commerce Secretary Ron Brown to Croatia to broker a sweetheart deal between the neo-Fascists who ran that country and the Enron Corporation.
  • In April 1996, the Clinton White House sabotaged the investigation into the inexplicable USAF plane crash that killed Brown and 34 others.
  • In July 1996, the White House orchestrated a cover-up of the accidental missile strike on TWA Flight 800 that killed 230.
  • In September 1996 Clinton “unilaterally” declared a new 1.7 million-acre national monument in southern Utah, in the process handing his patrons, the Riady family of Indonesia, a monopoly on the world’s supply of low-sulfur coal.

Now for the bad stuff. In February 1996, a Chinese Long March 3B rocket carrying a Loral-built Intelsat 708 satellite crashed just after liftoff and killed or injured at least sixty people in a nearby village.

The Pentagon welcomed the news. Just a few months earlier, a Chinese military officer had warned American ambassador Chas Freeman, “If you hit us now, we can hit back. So you will not make those threats [about Taiwan].”

American technical advice was making Chinese missile rattling more than an empty threat. And yet in their relentless drive to raise money, the Clintons were fully prepared to broker that advice.

A month after the Long March’s failure, Clinton signed off on a “decision memorandum” that countered the State Department recommendations, voided Pentagon veto power, and awarded authority over satellite-export licensing to the deeply compromised Ron Brown at Commerce. Said an attached memo, ‘‘Industry should like the fact that they will deal with the more ‘user friendly’ Commerce system.’’

Soon after the Long March failure Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz dispatched a review team to China to assess the damage and suggest refinements. Schwartz paid for the privilege. In the 1996 cycle he gave $632,000 to the president’s reelection effort and emerged as the single largest donor to the Democratic Party.

A House Select Committee on National Security would later describe Schwartz’s actions as “an unlicensed defense service for the PRC that resulted in the improvement of the reliability of the PRC’s military rockets and ballistic missiles.”

So serious was the offense that in 1998 the Criminal Division of the Justice Department launched an investigation. Incredibly, while the investigation was in process, Sandy Berger, Clinton fixer and national security advisor, sent a memo to the president urging him to “waive the legislative restriction on the export to China of the communications satellites and related equipment for the Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) Chinasat 8 project.”

This waiver would present a huge problem for the prosecution. Berger admitted as much: “Justice believes that a jury would not convict once it learned that the president had found SS/L’s Chinasat 8 project to be in the national interest.”

But Berger was not about to let that stop him: “We will take the firm position that this waiver does not exonerate or in any way prejudge SS/L with respect to its prior unauthorized transfers to China.” Berger was blowing smoke, and he knew it. A waiver would make prosecution all but impossible.

The president could only issue a waiver, however, if it served America’s “national interest.” Berger made a comically specious case that it did, arguing satellite technology would give remote Chinese villagers access “to people and ideas in democratic societies.”

For its part, Loral had no greater cause than its own bottom line. “If a decision is not forthcoming in the next day or so, we stand to lose the contract,” Loral lobbyist Thomas Ross wrote Berger. “In fact, even if the decision is favorable, we will lose substantial amounts of money with each passing day.”

So much for the national interest. Ross then added the kicker, sure to win the president’s heart. “Bernard Schwartz had intended to raise this issue with you at the Blair dinner, but missed you in the crowd.” Schwartz knew he had a friend in the White House. The president approved the waiver, and the prosecution came to naught.

Democrats like Jerry Nadler and Nancy Pelosi were in Congress for all of this. Schiff was there for the tail end. If they were really concerned about acts that “endangered U.S. national security” they would have moved to impeach the traitor themselves.

Jack Cashill’s new novel, The Hunt, a political thriller co-authored with Mike McMullen, is widely available. Signed first editions can be had at

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