Trustgate, Presidential Legal Expense Trust established by private trustees on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Illegal scheme unlawfully soliciting and/or receiving something of value in violation of US anti-bribery laws, December 1998

Trustgate, Presidential Legal Expense Trust established by private trustees on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Illegal scheme unlawfully soliciting and/or receiving something of value in violation of US anti-bribery laws, December 1998


                       "IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT
                        WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON


                         THE EVIDENTIARY RECORD
                         PURSUANT TO S. RES. 16
                               VOLUME VII

Transcript of October 5, 1998 presentations of David Schippers and Abbe 
 Lowell, and debate on H. Res. 581, beginning an impeachment inquiry. 
               Committee Print, Ser. No. 8, December 1998"

"Mr. Barr. Mr. Chairman, I also ask unanimous consent to 
insert the Judicial Watch Interim Report dated September 28, 
    Mr. Hyde. Without objection."
"Judicial Watch Interim Report on Crimes and Other Offenses Committed by 
 President Bill Clinton Warranting His Impeachment and Removal from 
 Elected Office"

"part iv

 Crimes and Other Offenses Relating to The Presidential Legal Expense 
 Trust that Warrant Impeachment and Removal from Office of President 
 Bill Clinton

 The Presidential Legal Expense Trust (the ``Trust'') was 
established by private trustees on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton 
in June 1994.(404) It was allegedly established to pay the 
President's legal fees incurred in defending against the numerous 
scandals of his Administration, as well as the private litigation 
brought against him, i.e., the Paula Jones lawsuit. In fact, the Trust 
was an illegal scheme, unlawfully soliciting and/or receiving something 
of value for the President, which violated the anti-bribery laws of the 
United States. Indeed, members of Congress have recognized the ``grave 
legal and ethical questions'' raised by the President's 
Trust.(405) In so doing, they pointed to the sweeping 
prohibition in 5 U.S.C. Sec. 7353(a), which states that:

 [N]o Member of Congress or officer or employee of the 
 executive, legislative, or judicial branch shall solicit or 
 accept anything of value. . . .(406)

 They also noted that the implementing regulations carrying this 
prohibition into effect make the point even clearer.(407) 
Those regulations address the standards of ethical conduct for 
employees of the Executive Branch, and state that ``an employee shall 
not, directly or indirectly, solicit or accept a gift.'' 
(408) According to Congressman Cox and Congresswoman Pryce, 
``[i]t would be difficult to draft a clearer prohibition.'' 
 It was also quite clear to most commentators at the time, including 
Paul Gigot, that influence peddlers would use the opportunity to 
effectively bribe the President and Mrs. Clinton:

 Now that President and Mrs. Clinton have established their 
 Legal Expense Trust, I'm thinking about writing a check for 
 $500. Since Mr. Clinton we will be informed of my gift, maybe 
 I'll get that interview he's somehow always resisted. Come to 
 think of it, if I doubled by gift to $1,000, maybe I'll get 
 Hillary too.
 * * * * *
 Indeed, that's why Congress passed a law (5 U.S. Code 7363) 
 that says executive branch officials can't ``solicit or 
 accept'' gifts from people whose interests they might affect. 
 In view of this ban, I asked a senior White House official for 
 the defense fund's legal rationale.
 * * * * *
 All of this goes beyond law to the power and conduct of the 
 presidency. By so blithely ignoring the law, the Clinton White 
 House has again shown how easily it will cut ethical corners. 
 And by begging for money, it undermines the president's 
 credibility and demeans his office. Which is why someone else 
 should try to restore presidential dignity. First someone could 
 sue to test the legality of the defense fund.(410)

 On August 4, 1994, Judicial Watch brought suit challenging the 
Trust, creatively alleging that the actions of the trustees, in 
providing advice to the President and Mrs. Clinton on the workings of 
the Trust, were tantamount to a federal advisory committee, and thus 
either needed to be completely open to public scrutiny, or shut 
 Because the trustees chose not to make the Trust's operations 
public, Judicial Watch pressed its case to a conclusion. While finding 
that the Trust was not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act 
(412) because it was a private, not governmental, activity, 
the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the 
District of Columbia ruled that it nevertheless raised ``major public 
policy, legal and ethical questions,'' which he could not reach under 
his jurisdiction.(413)
 Ironically, by finding the Trust to be a private activity, the 
Court effectively ``indicted'' it, as his ruling thrust it into the 
realm of criminal activity. Consequently, Judicial Watch requested that 
Attorney General Reno investigate the matter and appoint an independent 
counsel. She refused to do so.(414)
 It was later discovered, as predicted, that the Trust was indeed a 
convenient conduit for attempted bribery. It eventually became known to 
the public that hundreds of thousands of dollars were being laundered 
into its accounts by Charlie Trie, money which came from foreign, 
possibly Communist Chinese sources.(415) As a result, the 
Trust was closed as of January 1, 1998.(416)
 However, a few weeks later on February 17, 1998, a new Trust was 
established, which is even more illegal than the first.(417) 
The Office of Government Ethics (an office that serves at the pleasure 
of the White House) found that the first Trust could receive but not 
solicit; the second Trust now solicits as well.(418) Indeed, 
a number of fat-cat donors, including Hollywood moguls such as Steven 
Spielberg and Barbara Streisand, have pumped huge amounts of cash into 
the operation.(419) It is undoubtedly only a matter of time 
until it is again revealed that influence peddlers, such as Charlie 
Trie and his Chinese benefactors, have found a new way to infiltrate 
the second Trust. Indeed, at the time that Charlie Trie was laundering 
Chinese money into the first Trust, he was also seeking and obtaining 
confidential communications from the President, undoubtedly for his 
Chinese benefactors, about American intentions over the then-brewing 
international crisis in the Straits of Taiwan.(420)
 That these defense funds were simply an illegal means to raise 
money through influence peddlers, and not a genuine attempt to pay the 
President's legal bills, was even conceded by presidential adviser Dick 
Morris, who correctly questioned why Bill and Hillary Clinton could not 
simply take out bank loans at market rates, and pay the loans back 
after they left office. Then, they will obviously benefit from 
multimillion dollar book deals, speaking engagements, and others 
sources of income, which will make them wealthy beyond expectations.
 Last Sunday, The Washington Post reported Clinton's chief 
fundraiser, Terrence McAuliffe (who also participated, according to 
Nolanda Hill, in the illegal sale of seats on Commerce Department trade 
missions) has been enlisted to raise more illegal funds to pay a 
possible settlement in the Paula Jones lawsuit.(421) The 
President's ``chutzpah'' and penchant for being bought by illegal 
influence peddlers apparently knows no limits.
 The legal defense funds of the Clintons are tantamount to a 
violation of the bribery provision of Section 4, Article 2 of the U.S. 
Constitution, which states:
 Section 4_All civil offices forfeited for certain crimes
 The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the 
 United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, 
 and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and 

 ``Bribery'' is:

 The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any thing of 
 value to influence action as official or in discharge of legal 
 or public duty.

 Black's Law Dictionary 239 (rev. 4th ed. 1968). The President has 
unlawfully solicited and received enormous sums of money and other 
things of value from persons who obviously want something in return. 
This is simply illegal."

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