Farrakhan tells Congress: Its time for a showdown

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) introduced a resolution this week condemning Farrakhan's trip and urging President Bill Clinton to determine if he violated any laws.

"Farrakhan can do what he wants to do to raise funds for his operations, but when he cozies up to terrorist thugs like Moammar Khadafy, Saddam Hussein and the Iranian ayatollahs, we must clearly and unequivocally censure him," Lantos said.

Lantos said reports of Libya pledging $1 million to Farrakhan's Nation of Islam "raise fundamental questions" whether such a gift would violate U.S. bans on trade with Libya.

The International Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights is set to begin hearings on Farrakhan's trip March 19.

Farrakhan's itinerary included Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Libya. During his stopovers, Farrakhan publicly railed against U.S. policy toward those countries.

The House subcommittee will be "looking at the issue of Farrakhan's world tour of terror," said King spokesman Dan Michaelis.

"The first round of the investigation will be into the lack of action by the administration," he added, saying there is "reason to believe" that the administration had a copy of Farrakhan's tour schedule.

"Nothing was done to check his passport upon his return," Michaelis said. U.S. citizens are prohibited from visiting certain countries without special permission from the State Department.

But this week, the White House denounced Farrakhan's trip as a "thugfest tour." Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is investigating whether Farrakhan broke U.S. law by spending American currency in Iran, Iraq and Libya.

The Justice Department said Farrakhan would have to register as a foreign agent if he was paid by Libya.

Farrakhan defended his world tour and the heads of state he met.

"Khadafy is a revolutionary. He's my friend. He's my brother," Farrakhan said. "Khadafy is hated because he's the leader of a small country that is rich. But he uses his money to finance liberation struggles."

If Congress calls him to testify, he would "call the roll of members of Congress who are honorary members of the Israeli Knesset." Jews, he said, "had wrapped their tentacles around the U.S. government."

He also attacked U.S. foreign aid to Israel.

"Every year, you give Israel $4 [billion] to $6 billion of the taxpayer money and you haven't asked the people nothing," Farrakhan said. "Who are you an agent of?"

These comments were "typical of Farrakhan's routine, anti-Semitic bile," Michaelis said

But, Farrakhan maintained that the purpose of his tour, like that of the last October's Million Man March, was to spread the message of "atonement and reconciliation."