Sources: Trie Came Back With No Deal
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 4) -- Controversial Democratic fund-raiser Charlie Trie returned to Washington Tuesday with no firm plea arrangement or deal for leniency in hand, Justice Department sources told CNN.
Federal investigators said they were hopeful that Trie's willingness to return was symbolic of a willingness to cooperate. At least one source said there are indications of a desire to negotiate, but the source also warned against dramatic expectations. Another source said it may take a couple of weeks to see if there will be a deal of any sort.
Trie has thus far proferred no specifics of what he might say should a deal be worked out, according to one source familiar with the deal to bring Trie home.
There is also some indication Trie simply did not like being in China, under constant surveillance by that government. There was also the threat of an FBI arrest if he moved to a country with which the U.S. had an extradition treaty.
Sources also point out that Trie's attorneys put out a statement last night saying when his case got to court he would be fully vindicated. The sources say that does not sound like a man who has decided to admit to anything.
Still, Justice Department sources privately admit Trie's arrest could be a breakthrough in their more than year-long campaign finance investigation. Trie has ties to controversial Democratic fund-raiser John Huang and is a longtime friend to President Bill Clinton and others at the White House.
Sources with the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee say they "... are exploring avenues to speak to Charlie Trie," contending that one of their hearings contributed to the indictment of Trie.
On Oct. 9, the committee headed by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), held an open hearing in which Trie's sister Manlin Foung and her friend Joseph Landon
testified. Burton presented them as evidence Trie laundered campaign donations.
Meanwhile, Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday that prosecutors "should handle [Trie] like anyone else."
As chairman of the Senate committee looking into the alleged campaign finance scandal, Thompson said he would "take on the Independent Counsel Act later this year."
CNN's Janet Moore contributed to this report.