Whatever Attorney General Janet Reno has decided about naming a special Prosecutor - yes, yet another special prosecutor - to investigate Democratic Party fund-raising in the last presidential election, and however you may feel about it, there is background and context to consider. And this is it: Republicans are pressing hard on this, and - regardless of what Reno does - they will continue to do so.
Part of the reason is to keep the heat on President Clinton. Republicans have had him on the defensive for a long while now, and continue to have him so. The most recent election results took some of the heat off. But not all of it, not nearly all of it, is off. And Republicans are determined not to let him, get anywhere near the offensive again for the remainder of his presidency---however long that may be.
Another reason is to damage Vice President Al Gore as much as possible. Gore was hip-deep in fund-raising for the last presidential race. He made some mistakes. And Republicans suspect he made more, a lot more, and a lot more serious than is yet fully known.
The core issue Republicans are pressing is this: Did Chinese government intelligence operatives manage to get money into the Democrats presidential campaign in l996. If so, how. And why.
If - mark well the word - if official Chinese operatives did that, it may well have been a crime. And if Mr. Gore or Clinton had anything to do with it, knowingly or unknowingly, that would be serious. It would be most serious for Gore's chances in the 2000 presidential race.
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