'Tis the season politic' so in this edition of EXPOSED! let's dive into a two-parter featuring a couple with which America has a real love-hate relationship...
As the current battle between Trump and Biden intensifies and a tax scandal looks like it could engulf the President, let's take a look at the Clintons who have certainly been involved in a scandal or two in their time! Who could forget these classics:
Chinagate: Due to their low standing in the polls, Hillary created a scheme wherein the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign of 1996 took funding from the communist Chinese government and their banks to bankroll the President's and the Democratic Party's re-election efforts.
China's alleged role in the affair first gained public attention when Bob Woodward and Brian Duffy of the Washington Post published a story stating that a United States Department of Justice investigation into the fund raising activities had uncovered evidence that agents of China sought to direct contributions from foreign sources to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 Presidential campaign.
Then the Democrats found out about some illegal fundraising also being conducted by the Republicans. Both sides realized that they would be badly damaged if investigations continued into these shenanigans and this caused the congressional hearings to be cancelled.
Then along came Monica Lewinsky and, as it turned out, lurid stories about sex were more exciting that those about foreign espionage so the whole thing took a back seat as the scandal about the White House intern grew.
Travelgate: This was a controversy within the White House Travel Office and it was the first major ethics controversy of the Clinton administration. In May 1993, seven members of the Travel Office were fired due to supposed financial irregularities. However, critics suggested this was done to allow friends of the Clintons to take over the business. This group of friends included Catherine Cornelius, a third cousin of President Bill Clinton. Several investigations took place and the Travel Office Director Billy Dale was charged with embezzlement but found not guilty in 1995. Bill Clinton was exonerated but Hillary came under scrutiny for her role in the firings and making false statements about her involvement. In 1996 the New York Times wrote that:
"A memorandum by a former Presidential aide depicts Hillary Rodham Clinton as the central figure in the 1993 Travel Office dismissals, a politically damaging episode that the aide said had resulted from a climate of fear in which officials did not dare question Mrs Clinton's wishes."
Whilst there was no crime committed, Representative William F. Clinger, the Pennsylvania Republican who headed up the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, said at a news conference:
"There was a cover-up here, there seems to be a convenient lapse of memory by Mrs Clinton and White House aides."
Filegate began on June 5, 1996, when Congressman Clinger announced that the Committee had found, during their ongoing Travelgate investigations, that FBI background reports on Travelgate figure Billy Dale had been delivered to the White House. The following day the White House delivered to the Committee hundreds of other such files related to White House employees of the Reagan Administration and the George H.W. Bush Administration. Craig Livingston, the director of the White House's office of Personnel Security had improperly requested and received background reports from the FBI with estimates ranging from 400 to 900 unauthorized file disclosures. Hillary Clinton hired Livingston and is alleged to have looked at the files and requested this move. She was accused by Republicans of violating privacy rights of individuals she viewed as political adversaries. She herself called it a:
"completely honest bureaucratic snafu".
The issue of an Administration obtaining confidential information from the FBI is a serious one that has proved embarrassing for more than one president. President Richard Nixon committed such an abuse during Watergate.
The Whitewatergate scandal involved the Whitewater Development Corporation which was set up in 1979 to develop vacation properties on land along the White River in Arkansas. The Clintons, then Governor and First Lady of Arkansas, had invested money into it but the venture subsequently failed. After a series of lengthy investigations, famously led by Independent Council Kenneth Starr, the Clintons were never formally charged with a crime but the Clintons' friends and majority owners, James and Susan McDougal were jailed for fraud. Bill Clinton's successor, Governor Jim Tucker, was jailed for fraud along with municipal judges David Hale and Eugene Fitzhugh who worked with James McDougal.
Benghazigate: On September 11 2012, the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia led a coordinated attack against two United States Government facilities in Benghazi, Libya. This led to the deaths of four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens. President Obama said on September 18 that:
"extremists and terrorists used (an anti-Muslim YouTube video) as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies."
As then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was required under US Law to ensure that all US Government personnel assigned at a diplomatic post abroad be located at one site. If not, the secretary - and only the secretary - with the concurrence of the agency head whose personnel will be located at a different location, must issue a waiver. The law, which states that the waiver decision cannot be delegated, was passed after the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in Africa, when deficient security was blamed for that debacle under Bill Clinton's presidency. The Benghazi Committee report about Hillary Clinton's failures stated that:
"there were no surplus security agents"
to travel to Benghazi with Ambassador Stevens
"without leaving the embassy in Tripoli at severe risk."
Had Ambassador Steven's July 2012 request for 13 additional American security personnel been approved rather than rejected by Clinton appointee Under Secretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy, they would have traveled to Benghazi with the Ambassador and the September 11 attack might have been thwarted.
When asked about security at Benghazi, Mrs Clinton stated:
"It was not my ball to carry."
New evidence has since come to light based upon a Freedom of Information Act request. Whilst on September 11th Mrs Clinton's State Department press release blamed the anti-Muslim video for the attack, the transcript of her conversation with the then Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil the following day makes interesting reading:
"We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack - not a protest. You're not kidding. Based on the information we saw today we believe that the group that claimed responsibility for this is affiliated with al-Qaeda."