July 16, 1998
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 16, 1998 PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY The Briefing Room 2:15 P.M. EDT ................ Q Mike, were you able to ascertain whether the White House is aware of new information that Lott mentioned about Chinese efforts to influence the '96 campaign? MR. MCCURRY: I've checked on that, and I'm reasonably confident that we are aware of whatever information Senator Lott is aware of. I can't tell you for certain what we think he was describing as new information, but we're confident that whatever was briefed to the Hill and briefed to the relevant committees has been briefed to the administration. Q Well, does that information indicate that there were efforts by the Chinese to influence the elections? MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to -- whatever the information was, it's obviously classified, so I'm not going to describe it other than to say that it has not altered the approach that we've used diplomatically to address this issue, and I think you all know how we have addressed this issue. Q Is it to fair to characterize it as new information, though, as -- MR. MCCURRY: I don't know that it would be lawful for me to answer how new it may or may not be. Q I'm not asking you to describe the information, simply whether it -- MR. MCCURRY: I think the same problem arises. I'm not sure if I can tell you how current or how new it is. Q The law goes to shelf -- MR. MCCURRY: Sometimes it does, yes. Q Has it been raised with the Chinese, have you approached them about it? MR. MCCURRY: Well, you know the answer to that from President Jiang Zemin. I mean, the issue has certainly been raised and President Jiang Zemin told you. Q Since the arrival, though, of this new information, whatever it may be. MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that we have altered any aspect of our diplomacy based on any briefing since the trip. Q Mike, does that mean then that the President does not consider the information to have crossed the threshold he set when he said that were there substantial indications that the Chinese tried to influence the election, he'd consider that a very serious matter? MR. MCCURRY: The President has already indicated -- well, you already have an indication of how seriously the President takes the issue, because you know from the President of China that the President of the United States raised it very directly and presumably, quite forcefully, when we were in Beijing. Q Well, Lott had a very specific assessment of what the information means. Does the White House disagree with Lott's conclusions? MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to disagree with Senator Lott, but you heard Senator Kerry's views on that subject. ...................
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