The Giustra File, Part Two: Sketchy Friends of Bill
In the Clinton Foundation scandal—we await a suitable “gate” appellation—Frank Giustra is rapidly emerging as the newest poster boy for Bill’s bad behavior. The billionaire Canadian mining magnate is at the center of controversies over the Clintons’ involvement in Kazakh uranium deals and Colombian oil and timber plays.
We’ve come a long way from that fateful land deal in Arkansas. Or maybe not. Whitewater in fact sets the pattern for Foundation-gate. The past is prologue.
The Clintons have succeeded in creating the impression that their crooked real-estate dealings in Arkansas were much ado about nothing, the weird obsession of a creepy Javert-like independent counsel named Kenneth Starr. But in fact, the probe—initiated by a non-partisan Justice Department professional—resulted in at least fifteen convictions, including the sitting governor of Arkansas and the associate attorney general of the United States. In a Herculean effort, the Clintons beat the rap. But we got to know a cast of seamy characters, Friends of Bill, including Whitewater financier James McDougal and Arkansas party boys Dan Lasater and David Edwards. With the Clintons in the White House, other friends emerged, with other sketchy deals, including James Riady, Charlie Trie and Bernard Schwartz. Post-presidency, there were others, including Ron Burkle and Jeffrey Epstein.
The “greater threat” to Mrs. Clinton’s presidential ambitions, notes Joshua Green in a piece for Bloomberg Politics, is that Frank Giustra “is the first of what may be a procession of similar figures who will be in the spotlight between now and Election Day.” You can put your money on that.
Editor’s note: to see previous reporting on Giustra, click here.