My Picnic Wil Bill:How Reporter Gave Clinton Heartburn Over Chinagate : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Now THIS is fun reading! Link below:

'My picnic with Bill' How reporter gave Clinton heartburn over Chinagate

Editor's note: This report, a first-person account of what may be the single most extraordinary and revealing encounter between President Bill Clinton and a member of the press, is excerpted from the March cover story in WorldNet magazine.

By Paul Sperry ) 2000,

WASHINGTON - There's probably no finer place to throw a party than the South Lawn of the White House, and no better time to do it than on a mild and breezy day in early fall. And there's probably no guest more grateful for such a free fete than the Washington press corps.

My colleagues will climb over each other to get to a table full of rubbery hoagies, soggy chips and stale Budweiser. Doesn't matter what it is, really, so long as it's free. But this. This was hog's heaven for the cheap scribes who filed onto the White House grounds that Friday night in September for a Cajun party in their honor. What a spread. On red-checkered picnic tables spanning the length of the plush green lawn, beckoned trays of jambalaya, boudin and boiled shrimp.

And the bars, under colorful tents, were stocked full of liquor. No kegs here. Black-tie-clad help poured your favorite libation from bottles. Forget Budweiser, they had Guinness Stout and other imported brews. Fine reds and whites, too, and highballs. All free.

Zydeco tunes skipped across the crowd of giddy guests. As the sunny day faded to dusk, the soft lights of the White House portico glowed behind us. Intoxicating. What a night. But for me, there was still something wrong with this party -- namely, the host.

President Clinton, the function's main attraction, was due to make a cameo appearance at any moment. Despite having to wade through 40-plus scandals over the previous seven years, my cohorts in the press were all atwitter at the prospect of pumping Clinton's arm and snapping shots of him with their spouses and kids.

Just 48 hours earlier, four FBI agents had testified before the Senate that Justice Department lawyers had stopped them from pursuing leads back to Clinton in the ongoing campaign-finance investigation.

Not only that, agents swore that lawyers for months had blocked their request to ask a judge for a warrant to search the Little Rock, Ark., office of Clinton fund-raiser Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie. Agents sifting through his trash found that key records subpoenaed by the Senate had been shredded.

Among the torn-up documents: Checks from Asian donors to Clinton's legal defense fund, Democratic National Committee donor lists, travel records for Chinese money men and statements from Chinese bank accounts. There was also a FedEx slip showing Trie had sent two pounds of documents to the White House just two months before a 1997 Senate probe of Chinagate kicked off. What's more, one agent said 27 pages of notes detailing her struggles with Justice over the Trie case were ripped out of spiral notebooks after she turned them over to her superiors.

The explosive testimony was ignored by most of the media. But I couldn't shake it from my mind, no matter the occasion. Was Clinton's attorney general covering for him in one of the gravest probes in U.S. history, one with national security implications? Did Clinton have any knowledge of it?

Sometime after 6 p.m., the president emerged from the Oval Office. Dressed in a suit, he strolled down the walkway, only to disappear through a doorway. His aide Sidney Blumenthal strolled on and joined the crowd. At his side was Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. (I ran into Markey later in the evening inside the White House. He was giving his wife and father a tour. Markey's now all over the TV talk shows flacking for Vice President Al Gore's campaign.)

The suspense built as the guests closed in around a loose rope line that stretched from the edges of the Oval Office area to the stage where the band played. Then at last, Clinton came out of the White House, wearing what can only be described as a get-up -- tight black pullover shirt, tight black pants with a big silver-buckle black belt, and black cowboy boots.

Strutting past me, he looked like a bad imitation of Johnny Cash. Or was it an over-the-hill Elvis? Tom Jones? Whatever, the silver-haired devil made a bee-line for the stage, climbed up on it and drawled on about how great it was for all of us to be there with him on such a wonderful night listening to such great music. At that, a guest tried to hand a tenor saxophone up to him. Several painted-up women pushed their way to the stage. By the way, Clinton remarked, "Hillary wanted to be here with y'all, but she's up in New York tonight." Wink-wink.

Little did he know that in just a few minutes a rude guest would give him a Maalox moment to remember and probably spoil any entertainment plans he had for the evening.

As Clinton worked the rope line on his way back toward the White House, it was hard not to be taken up in the electricity of the moment. Everyone was having such a good time. And a buoyant Clinton was working the crowd, yucking it up like no one can. At one point, he was even wearing baubles around his neck. Husbands were offering up their wives and children for grip-and-grin shots. Photojournalists were camped out like paparazzi. Why not? A notorious celebrity was in their midst. Even one of my reporters was snapping shots with his instamatic -- for his wife.

I stood there slack-jawed, watching one powerful journalist after another clamor like so many fawning teen rock-idol fans to grasp the hand of the most corrupt president in U.S. history.

So many scandals, so many unanswered questions -- so many unasked questions. National security at stake. That little boy there, that little girl over there ... your sons, your daughters. Don't you care what this president has or hasn't done with our military secrets?

Maybe I just cared too much. Relax. Yes, have a good time; it is a party after all. Don't be so serious. Loosen up. But just as I was about to give in to the perverse euphoria, suspending disbelief about the harmlessness of old Slick like everyone else around me, I recalled a Proverb I'd read that morning -- "Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company" -- and I closed my eyes for strength.

It was my turn to meet the celebrity president. As he approached me, I politely, if coolly, asked him when he would hold his next formal press conference. It had been several months since his last, and he's had fewer than any recent president. I admit I was trying to agitate the proper forum for questions about the FBI agents' charges. But to me, this was still a rather innocuous question, even within the supposedly neutral zone of a party. A relevant question, too, given the gathering. Other hard-nosed reporters surely were wondering when they'd get another crack at Clinton.

Or so I thought. My simple question was rewarded with boos and hisses from the adoring Clinton groupies around me. So much for the adversarial press.

But that was nothing compared with Clinton's reaction to my inquiry about his next press confab. In an instant, his 100-watt charm shut off, replaced by a taunting belligerence. "Why?" he barked.

"Because the American people have a lot of unanswered questions," I replied, struggling to hold my bladder. At that point, he moved back down the rope, pulling up square in front of me, and demanded, "Like what?"

"Well, like illegal money from China and the campaign-finance scandal. ..."

What happened over the next 10 minutes was nothing short of a "scene." The party-goers collapsed in around us. I watched the blood rush to Clinton's gargantuan face as he launched into a tirade against ex-Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour, the FBI, Bob Dole and Republicans in general. All the while, he tried to belittle me by making faces (to get a rise out of his fans) and intimidate me by getting in my face.

And now I can see how he can do that to people. Clinton's not just intellectually intimidating, he's physically imposing. He's tall (6-2) and big-boned. Luckily, I'm the same height and was able to stand toe-to-toe and eye-to-eye with him. I'll never forget the maniacal look in his bloodshot eyes. There was a moment, fleeting, where I sensed he wanted to try to take a swipe at me. I was getting full frontal Clinton. His volcanic temper, hidden so well from the public by his handlers, erupted less than 12 inches from my eyes.

Clinton always is game for a debate. That I asked him hard questions at a party wasn't what ticked him off. It's what I asked him about. He clearly doesn't want to talk about the mother of all scandals -- Chinagate.

He also may have been thrown by my grasp of the facts. I'd been tracking the Beijing-tied Lippo Group's influence in the Clinton White House since 1996, and have been suspicious of the probity of Attorney General Janet Reno's special task force since she let John Keeney Sr. set it up -- a month after the election -- to look into Lippo's influence.

Keeney's son is none other than a defense attorney for John Huang, the former Lippo executive and convicted Clinton-Gore fund-raiser. Junior, who's also a long-time Democratic National Committee lawyer, cut Huang a deal with daddy's old task force that got him no jail time and immunity from prosecution for espionage.

Clinton also was unprepared for my tenacity. Other reporters may back down after he singes their eyebrows with a verbal fusillade. Dummy me, I hung in there for more abuse, challenging his answers, following up with more questions. Which only made him madder.

The preceding excerpt is actually the first third of an in-depth 4,400-word expose, with photos, by WND's Washington Bureau Chief Paul Sperry in the March edition of WorldNet Magazine. The exchange between Sperry and Clinton continues to heat up, spanning a total of 10 questions and answers, in this remarkable and revealing "in-your-face" encounter.

-- Alice (, March 02, 2000


His volcanic temper

This is why he bombed Serbia and ordered all those murders of his ex supporters.

-- Sir Richard (richard,, March 02, 2000.

Clinton's not just intellectually intimidating

how can anyone descibe Clinton as being intellectual!!!

intimidating or otherwise

-- Sir Richard (, March 02, 2000.

Sir Richard said~ "How can anyone think of Clinton as intellectual?"

I don't know Sir Richard.....But then I never slept with him...(big grin) Seems he changes lots of minds after folks "get in bed" with him so to speak.....

-- Alice (, March 02, 2000.

"But then I never slept with him"

I'm glad you're one of the few grins asides

what charm he must exude

-- Sir Richard (, March 02, 2000.

"exude"....what a wonderful definition of the man...for that and other salient reasons he acquired the nickname of "slick" Willy......apt...

-- Alice (, March 02, 2000.

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