Lewinsky Prepares To Take Center Stage Thursday
Ickes finishes another day of testimony
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 5) -- Monica Lewinsky, the former intern at the center of the sex-and-perjury allegations rocking the White House, is due to give sworn testimony about her relationship with President Bill Clinton on Thursday.
After months of waiting, Independent Counsel Ken Starr's Washington grand jury will finally meet the woman they have been hearing about from dozens of witnesses.
Sources tell CNN that lawyers on both sides are operating on the assumption Lewinsky, who won full immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony, will appear Thursday.
Added security is already being instituted at the federal courthouse, with some parts of the building designated as off limits.
A source close to the Lewinsky legal team says there is no way to guess whether Lewinsky's testimony before the grand jury will take more than one day. The source also says her team has made a conscious decision not to reveal the location where Lewinsky is being prepared for her testimony or allow her to be photographed as she prepares to testify.
"She wants to get it over with," says one source familiar with her thinking.
The source says she will tell the truth but she feels torn because she knows it is going to hurt the president, someone she says she once loved.
White House puts on a brave public face
The White House professes not to be worried.
When CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Barry Toiv, Clinton's deputy press secretary, if the president was nervous about what Lewinsky might say before the grand jury, Toiv answered, "We have no view on that."
ABC's Sam Donaldson prodded him: "You have no view? Surely the president has a view if someone is accusing him of crimes?"
Toiv responded, "Well, you must know more than I do."
Privately aides are nervous. They are even calling reporters asking for details about what Lewinsky might say.
Even though Lewinsky has changed her story in exchange for immunity, Clinton's advisers fear Starr's prosecutors have thoroughly prepared her to deliver the president a major setback.
"They have interviewed Monica Lewinsky at great length," says Henry Hudson, a former U.S. attorney. "Ken Starr knows exactly what she is going to say. So this will be a much more tightly controlled interview than you have with a witness who perhaps wasn't cooperating with the government."
Meanwhile, Clinton's advisers tell CNN the president has not been informed of test results on Lewinsky's dark blue cocktail dress, which she claims has a stain proving a sexual relationship. Advisers also say the president has not yet been asked to give a DNA sample.
Sources familiar with the investigation say the dress has now completed preliminary tests at the FBI crime lab in Washington. The result of those tests remain a tightly held secret.
Still, his advisers privately concede what others say openly: no matter what the results, Clinton knows whether a stain is even possible.
"If there is a link, the president knows there's a link. And it just underscores that he cannot go to the grand jury and not tell the truth," former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alskne says. "He must be prepared to explain, in detail, about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky."
That relationship, the president's advisers concede, was complicated. How complicated and embarrassing, the world may soon find out.
Meanwhile, Harold Ickes, the former deputy White House chief of staff
and current unpaid adviser to Clinton, finished another day of testimony at the federal courthouse Wednesday afternoon.
According to sources, a Secret Service officer has described a 1996 incident in which Ickes went into a room off the Oval Office. As Ickes opened the door, the officer spotted Lewinsky and the president, sources say.
Ickes denies the incident ever took place.
While Ickes was testifying, several other Secret Service officers were appearing before a second grand jury.
White House counsel Lanny Breuer also returned to the courthouse for another hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Norma Holloway Johnson. There was no word on the outcome of that secret hearing, but Breuer and his attorneys left soon after they arrived. Breuer went before the grand jury Tuesday after Chief Justice William Rehnquist refused to block his testimony.
However, Breuer ended the day before Judge Johnson along with his personal attorney and aides for Starr in an apparent dispute over the scope of his testimony.
Clinton is due to give his version of events Aug. 17. White House officials say many details of the president's testimony are closely guarded secrets that even they don't know.
David Kendall and the president's other lawyers are saying very little about the arrangements.
It is known that the grand jurors will see and hear the president live. But Clinton won't be able to see or hear them. The transmission will be a one-way audio and video feed.
The signal leaving the White House will be scrambled, so there can be no electronic eavesdropping.
The president is expected to be questioned by several prosecutors in the White House, including Starr himself.
If any of the 23 grand jurors has a question, they can ask a prosecutor at their secret location to pass it along to a prosecutor at the White House via a secure phone line.
The questioning will most likely focus on whether Clinton sought to cover up a relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, by asking her to lie in a deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Clinton has denied he had sexual relations with Lewinsky, or asked anyone to lie.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Bob Franken and Frank Sesno contributed to this report.