MediaWatch: November 1997

Vol. Eleven No. 11

Where's Charlie Trie?

The leader of the country implicated in funneling money into U.S. elections comes to America. Several figures in the fundraising scandal, including Charlie Trie, flee to China in order to evade subpoenas.

But other than one 15-second item on Good Morning America on how Clinton had asked China’s Jiang Zemin about funneling money into the U.S., the morning and evening shows skipped the subject. Today’s Matt Lauer interviewed National Security Adviser Sandy Berger on October 30, but didn’t say a thing about fundraising. The night before, however, Ted Koppel did press Berger.

When Berger deflected Koppel’s question about what Clinton asked Zemin, by saying the Chinese deny the allegations, Koppel pushed: "No, I understand that. My question was did the President raise it and how forcefully?" Berger claimed Zemin said "he would cooperate." Koppel interjected: "Including sending Charlie Trie back to the United States or anyone else who may be sitting over there with information?" That led to this exchange:

Berger: "I have no idea whether they have control or know where Charlie Trie is or not."

Koppel: "Oh, I’ll bet you they could find him if they wanted to and I think you know that, too."

Berger: "No, I think this is an investigation being conducted by the Justice Department, being conducted by congressional committees, not the..."

Koppel: "I’m simply asking did the President or anyone in his behalf ask the Chinese would they send Charlie Trie back?"

Berger: "The President said will you cooperate with investigations and the Chinese said yes."

Koppel: "But is it your understanding that when that sort of broad question is raised that that includes within it, I mean would Chinese cooperation include returning to the United States people who are being sought here under subpoena for questioning by Congress?"

Berger: "Well, if that is something that is part of the investigation."

Koppel: "Well, I think it is. Don’t you?"