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E-mail From Washington

From: Brooks Jackson/CNN
In: Washington
Posted 7-31-97

Subject: Senate Committee issues first subpoena for White House documents

Sen. Fred Thompson, chairman of the Senate committee investigating campaign finance abuses, has announced that the panel has unanimously agreed to issue its first subpeona for White House documents.

This comes a day after an angry Thompson accused the White House of playing games by delaying the turnover of documents the committee had requested until after witnesses had testified.

Thompson said there had been no opposition from anyone on the committee, Democrat or Republican.

White House Special Associate Counsel Lanny Davis maintains that the White House has complied with every request for documents from the Thompson committee and never blocked a request. He says many requested documents are difficult to find. "We're doing our best," Davis said.

Until now, the committee had a "gentlemen's agreement" with the White House over the production of the documents.

What prompted this confrontation was the White House turnover of documents at 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon concerning visits to the White House by Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng, also known as "Mr. Wu."

The Thompson committee had asked for all information concerning any visits back in May. The revelation that Wu, a business partner of Clinton friend and Democratic National Committee fund-raiser Charlie Trie, had been to the White House at least 10 times (including for dinner with the president) did not come out until just a few minutes after witnesses had testified extensively about apparently illegal donations that Trie arranged using Wu's money.

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