Sen. Lieberman Says Clinton's Behavior 'Immoral'
Sources: President admits he tried to find Lewinsky a job
|Sen. Joseph Lieberman|
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 3) -- In a significant break with his president, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman took to the Senate floor Thursday to condemn President Bill Clinton's marital infidelity
as immoral, disgraceful and damaging to the country.
Lieberman of Connecticut said he was angered and disappointed in Clinton's behavior, and what he called Clinton's "premeditated" deception.
Lieberman said Clinton "apparently had extramarital
relations with an employee half his age and did so in the
workplace in the vicinity of the Oval Office. Such behavior is
not just inappropriate. It is immoral."
Said Lieberman: "I was disappointed
because the president of the United States had just confessed to
engaging in an extramarital affair with a young woman in his
employ and to willfully deceiving the nation about his conduct."
"I was personally angry because President Clinton had, by his
disgraceful behavior, jeopardized his administration's historic
record of accomplishment, much of which grew out of the
principles and programs that he and I and many others had worked
on together in the new Democratic movement," Lieberman said.
Lieberman, a longtime Clinton friend, stopped short of suggesting censure, impeachment or resignation, saying that was premature before Congress receives a report from Independent Counsel Ken Starr.
The White House issued a statement later in the day, saying Clinton respects Lieberman and would review his comments with the same care that Lieberman delivered them.
In another development in the seventh-month-old scandal, sources have told CNN that the president testified under oath he tried twice to help Monica Lewinsky find a job,
including one time after she had been subpoenaed to testify in
Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against him.
Clinton's admission came during his Aug. 17 testimony at
the White House, under questioning from Starr.
The job-related incidents occurred after the former White House intern had left the White House for a job at the Pentagon. Clinton testified that he acted on both occasions at the request of Lewinsky, and he did so because he was concerned she had been treated unfairly when she was
transferred to the Pentagon, the sources told CNN.
Clinton testified that in the summer of 1997, he asked White House Deputy Personnel Director Marsha Scott to try to find Lewinsky a new position back in the White House. He said in January 1998 he asked aides to help Lewinsky obtain a good recommendation as she sought a job in New York City, the sources said.
The first incident would have occurred before Lewinsky was subpoenaed to testify in the Jones case; the second came after the subpoena. Clinton testified that he did not tell Scott or other aides that he was involved in a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, the sources said.
When subpoenaed by Jones' lawyers to answer questions about an alleged relationship with the president, Lewinsky signed a sworn affidavit denying they had an affair. She has now reportedly admitted to the affair before Starr's grand jury. Clinton has admitted that he and Lewinsky had a relationship that was "not appropriate" and "wrong."
Allegations that Clinton or others acting on his behalf may
have helped Lewinsky obtain a job as part of a wider effort
to conceal their relationship from Jones' attorneys is
believed to be part of Starr's investigation into possible
obstruction of justice.
According to a legal source familiar with Scott's testimony
before Starr's grand jury, she said she had no "specific
recollection" of such a request from the president but could
not rule it out. She did recall that Clinton's private
secretary, Betty Currie, had asked her to help Lewinsky.
Scott also testified that she met with Lewinsky twice during
the spring and summer of 1997, according to the source.
During the first session, they spoke for about half an hour,
but nothing came of the meeting.
During the second meeting, according to this source, Lewinsky
became agitated after Scott told her it was not "a good
career move" for her to come back to the White House, given
the criticism of her earlier behavior by some White House
officials who had accused her of "stalking" the president.
A source close to Lewinsky told CNN that the young woman only
briefly wanted to return to the White House, but abandoned
the idea in favor of pursuing a job in New York. The source
said Lewinsky talked to the president about "a lot of
things," and that she admits she talked to Currie and others
about getting help in finding a job.
Meanwhile, CNN has learned new details of how the president's
advisers are planning to defend him once Starr submits
his report to Congress. Several sources familiar with the investigation say they expect the report to be sent this month.
Among the key issues: Did Clinton lie during his Jan. 17 deposition in the Paula Jones case? Clinton told the nation on Aug. 17, following his grand jury testimony, that his deposition was "legally accurate."
But legal sources familiar with the investigation say Starr's prosecutors don't buy that. Even the judge in the Jones case, who eventually tossed out the case, is now weighing whether to cite the president for contempt for providing misleading information during that deposition.
In his deposition, the president flatly denied having an "affair" with Lewinsky. But in his grand jury testimony, he acknowledged an
inappropriate physical relationship with the former intern. Does that mean he lied in January?
No, according to several of the president's advisers who say the Jones
lawyers never provided the president with a definition of "affair." In
Clinton's mind, they say, an "affair" means "sexual intercourse," something both he and Lewinsky have denied they engaged in.
As previously reported, Clinton also denied engaging in "sexual
relations" with Lewinsky. Clinton's advisers, as well as the president
during his testimony last month, insist that the kind of sex that he and
Lewinsky engaged in -- oral sex -- did not fit the definition of "sexual
relations" provided by Jones' lawyers.
In the January deposition, the president said he had no "specific
recollection" of ever being alone with Lewinsky but left open the possibility. Yet now, his advisers say, he has testified that he and Lewinsky were intimate on approximately half-a-dozen occasions. Wouldn't he remember those encounters, Starr's prosecutors ask. And does that mean he lied in January?
No, according to his advisers who say the Jones lawyers did not follow up with specific questions "to pin him down." As a result, they say, there was no perjury. In contrast, during Clinton's testimony before the grand jury, Starr's prosecutors did follow up with specific questions and did pin him down.
According to sources familiar with the president's testimony, Clinton said his "physical" relationship with Lewinsky began in either December
1995 or January 1996 and continued until the time she left the White House for the Pentagon in April 1996, with one exception. The president testified he had only one additional sexual encounter with Lewinsky in early February 1997.
Lewinsky's recollection, according to sources familiar with the testimony, is somewhat different. She has testified that their sexual relationship actually began in November 1995 during the government shutdown and continued for some 18 months, through mid-1997. She also remembered more than a dozen sexual encounters.
Clinton recalls that all of his sexual encounters with Lewinsky occurred in his private study next to the Oval Office.
Sources familiar with Lewinsky's account say she cited one sexual encounter with the president on Easter Sunday, April 7, 1996. The sources say she remembers having sex with the president that day after he and the first family returned from church services where they honored the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who was killed in a plane crash. The president's advisers are not disputing her account.
At that time, Lewinsky still worked in the White House and had a so-called "hard pass," allowing her free access to the White House. That means there is no record of whether she had entered the White House that day.
She began working at the Pentagon on April 17, 1996.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Bob Franken contributed to