If former FBI Director James Comey believes he’s the first official to liken a president’s actions to that of the mafia, he would be sorely wrong. In Comey’s new book he says President Donald Trump worked for months to secure his loyalty through a series of meetings and phone calls during the transition period and compared the president to a mob boss, according to ABC News, which received an early copy of the book scheduled for release next week. The same happened to former President Bill Clinton. In fact, there was insurmountable evidence that came to light in the final weeks of Clinton’s 1996 campaign involving a Chinese fundraising scandal that plagued Clinton’s election and involved an FBI investigation, as well as Congressional hearings.
“Former FBI Director Louis Freeh likened the Clinton campaign during a hearing in 1997 to the mafia…”
The Los Angeles Times was the first to break the story involving a Chinese fundraising scandal and the DNC finance vice chairman John Huang. Huang, who was a former Commerce Department official, was a fundraiser who was suspected of getting loads of cash for the Clinton campaign. After the story broke, Congress began its own investigation into the matter.
In 1998 the Senate Government Affairs Committee report on the Clinton scandal found “strong circumstantial evidence” that millions of foreign dollars had been funneled illegally from China to influence the 1996 election. In the end, the Democratic National Committee was required to return more than $2.8 million in illegal or improper donations from foreign nationals, according to Congress.
According to the investigation, Johnny Chung, who worked for an Asian billionaire confessed that at least $35,000 of his donations to the Clinton campaign and the DNC had come from a Chinese aerospace executive, as reported. In fact, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Chinese military and Chung said had arranged to meet three times with General Ji Shengde, the head of Chinese military intelligence.
Chung stated in his testimony that Chinese Gen. Shengde had told him: “We really like your president. We hope he will be reelected. I will give you $300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to . . . your president and the Democratic Party.”
But let’s get back to Comey’s claims that Trump operates like a mafia boss. According to experts from Comey’s book and interviews with the former director he compares his experience with Trump to that of the actions of a mob boss. Those apparently are his feelings regarding the few meetings and phone calls he had with the president.
But the investigations into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign with Russia have not delivered. There is still no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians and witnesses, for the most part, have been cooperating with Congress and Robert Mueller’s Office of Special Counsel.
It wasn’t so with the Clinton investigation. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh likened the Clinton campaign and failure of witnesses to respond to congressional inquiries to the mafia during a 1997 hearing on the matter.
In fact, by the time the congressional hearings had concluded roughly 120 people connected to the Clinton campaign had either fled the country or invoked the 5th Amendment to avoid answering questions.
As of yet, only four people have pled the 5th in current congressional investigations involving the FBI’s handling of the Trump campaign and investigations involving the alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. None so far have fled the country, Congressional investigators said.
Below is the transcript of the above clip of the hearing between Burton and Freeh. Burton, who was investigating the Clinton’s since the information on the foreign campaign donations was revealed, accused the Clinton’s of leaking information on his personal life in retaliation for the investigation, according to reports.
“Mr. Freeh over 65 people have invoked the 5th Amendment or fled the country in the course of the committee’s investigation, have you ever experienced so many unavailable witnesses in any matter in which you’ve prosecuted or in which you’ve been involved,” then-House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-IN, asked former FBI Director Louis Freeh during the hearing. Burton served in Congress until 2013.
“Actually I have,” answered Freeh.
“You have, give me a rundown on that real quick,” Burton said.
“I spent about 16 years in organized crime cases in New York City and many people were frequently unavailable,” Freeh answered.
By the time the hearings ended roughly 120 witnesses avoided answering questions. It certainly makes one wonder.
This story has been updated with more information.