Evidence linking President Clinton to the conspiracy to subvert campaign finance laws came on videotape when an Indonesian gardener, used as a conduit in illegal foreign-based contributions, told Clinton, "James Riady sent me."
On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, NBC's Tim Russert asked Janet Reno if she intended to ask Clinton what that message meant. She first tried to dodge with "We're going to . . . interview anyone who has information concerning the transactions involved. " But when pressed - "So you could interview the president if you so chose?" - she replied, "Exactly."At last an opening. But at this still-early stage, investigators must seek Clinton's consent to any questioning.
As a service to the president's overloaded counsel, here are a few lines of questioning to prepare for.
1. When you greeted the Indonesian gardener Arief Wiriadinata at a White House coffee, were you aware he was a $425,000 contributor? Did you take his "James Riady sent me" to mean Riady had set it up?
2. With whom have you discussed answers to potential questions about meetings with Riady, Huang, Charlie Trie and Johnny Chung?
3. Did you discuss fund raising with James Riady (now beyond the reach of investigators) in 1992?
4. Here is a list of meetings you held with Riady and with Huang in the White House. Was fund raising discussed? Assuming these were not "social visits," as originally claimed, was trade policy about China also discussed?
5. Did you ever have reason to be aware of Huang's frequent contact with the Riady family's Lippo Group while he served at Commerce and at DNC?
6. In your Sept. 13, 1995, meeting in the Oval Office with Riady, Huang, Giroir and Bruce Lindsey, while Huang was a Commerce official, was fund raising discussed?
That's for openers. After we compare your answers with testimony from others, may we return for more voluntary cooperation?