As President Trump meets Thursday with Chinese president Xi Jinping, the hysterical claims by Democrats and the media that the Trump administration colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, are reaching new heights—as are their shrill claims that nothing is more outrageous than having a foreign power trying to influence a presidential election, and having a political party and a president cooperate.
President Xi has to be smiling when he turns on CNN, or has his minions check on Twitter. He knows there is indeed a foreign power that recently spent millions to sway an American presidential election, and a president and vice president who happily held out their hands and let it happen. That power was China, and the president was Bill Clinton.
If you want to learn how the Clintons and Democrats really view the issue of foreign influence on a sitting president, don’t bother with the Clinton Foundation or its millions of dollars from foreign governments looking for quid pro quos. Look at what happened during Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996, which was rocked not by one but two scandals with serious implications for foreign manipulation of our national security.
One involved President Clinton's dalliance with intern Monica Lewinsky, which any foreign intelligent service could have happily used for blackmail. The other, far more consequential, involved agents of Communist China actively supplying money to his campaign.
Today Democrats would like to forget names like Charlie Trie, the Arkansas restauranteur who donated $200,000 dollars to the DNC and $400,000 to Clinton Defense Fund—money that actually came from Macao real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, who had deep connections to the Communist Chinese government. Or Maria Hsai, the fund-raiser for Vice President Al Gore whom the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee later identified as a Chinese intelligence agent, and who set up the notorious event at a Buddhist temple in California where Gore personally took in $100,000 in illegal donations.
Gore’s reaction when he was caught with his hand in the Chinese till, became classic. “There’s no controlling legal authority,” he said with a shrug, “that says this was in violation of law."
Just imagine what the reaction from the mainstream media would be if Michael Flynn or Donald Trump had said something similar for simply having a phone call with the Russian ambassador—let alone accepting money that was being laundered by a KGB agent.
The most egregious “Chinagate” case was Johnny Chung, another Democratic Party fundraiser who funneled thousands of dollars to the Clinton campaign that turned out to be supplied by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army through Liu Chaoying, a Chinese lieutenant colonel and aerospace executive whose father was a key figure in Chinese military intelligence. Chung later told federal investigators that some of the money Liu gave him actuallycame from Chinese military intelligence accounts, and that it was specifically earmarked to influence U.S. political campaigns.
In the end, ninety-four people involved in “Chinagate” either refused questioning, pled the Fifth Amendment, or fled the country.
Eventually Clinton and the Democrats returned the tainted money, but they fought tooth and nail to hamper Congressional and other investigations, including by the FBI.
Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno resolutely refused to appoint a special prosecutor, even though FBI director Louis Freeh said he never saw a case that warranted one more.
Was there any quid pro quo? Hard to say. It is a fact that after the election the Clinton administration worked overtime to overrule national security officials in order get licenses for Loral Space to export important missile technology to Communist China in 1999—technology that has enabled China to revolutionize its space program, as well as its ballistic missile program, giving them capabilities and platforms for attacking our own space satellites which would be tested out over the next decade.
The Clinton official who led the campaign to get those Loral licenses is now the sitting governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe (at the same time Loral’s CEO became the DNC’s single biggest contributor).
So in the midst of the liberal hysteria over a supposed Trump-Putin nexus, it’s worth remembering how Democrats really behave, when a foreign power tries to influence a presidential election—and who really benefits when a Clinton sits in the White House.
Historian Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He is author of several books. His latest "Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior", was published by Random House on June 14, 2016. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurLHerman.