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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Transcripts from video deposition of Lewinsky, Jordan, and Blumenthal

Jump to the start of individual depositions: Lewinsky, Jordan, Blumenthal

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In the Senate of the United States Sitting for the Trial of the Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States

excerpts of video deposition of vernon e. jordan, jr. (Tuesday, February 2, 1999, Washington, D.C.)

SENATOR THOMPSON: All right. If there are no further questions from the parties or counsel for the witness, I'll now swear in the witness. Mr. Jordan, will you please raise your right hand?

Do you, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., swear that the evidence you shall give in this case now pending between the United States and William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?


Whereupon, VERNON E. JORDAN, JR., was called as a witness and, after having been first duly sworn by Senator Fred Thompson, was examined and testified as follows:

SENATOR THOMPSON: All right. The House Managers may begin their questioning of the witness.

MR. HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Senator Thompson and Senator Dodd.

examination by house managers


Q. Good morning, Mr. Jordan. For the record, would you state your name, please?

A. Good morning, Congressman. My name is Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Q. And, Mr. Jordan, we have not had the opportunity to meet previously, is that correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. And I do appreciate--I have met your counsel, Mr. Hundley, in his office, and so I've looked forward to this opportunity to meet you. Now, you have--

A. I can't say that the feeling is mutual. [Laughter.]


Q. I certainly understand. You have testified, I believe, five times previously before the Federal grand jury?

A. That is correct.

Q. And so I know that probably about every question that could be asked has been asked, but there are a number of reasons I want to go over additional questions with you, and some of them will be repetitious of what's been asked before.

Prior to coming in today, though, have you had the opportunity to review your prior testimony in those five appearances before the grand jury?

A. I have done some preparation, Congressman.

Q. And let me start with the fact that the oath that you took today is the same as the oath that you took before the Federal grand jury?

A. I believe that's correct.

Q. And, Mr. Jordan, what is your profession?

A. I am a lawyer.

Q. And where do you practice your profession?

A. I am a senior partner at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, here in Washington, D.C., with offices in Texas, California, Pennsylvania and New York, three offices in Europe, London, Brussels and Moscow.

Q. And how long have you been a senior partner?

A. I have been a senior partner--well, I didn't start out as a senior partner. I started out as a partner, and at some point--I don't know when, but not long thereafter I was elevated to this position of senior partner.

Q. And what type of law do you practice?

A. I am a corporate international generalist at Akin, Gump.

Q. And does Akin, Gump have about 800 lawyers?

A. We have about 800 lawyers, yes.

Q. Which is an incredible number for lawyers from someone who practiced law in Arkansas. How do all of those lawyers--

A. We have some members of our law firm who are from Arkansas, so it's not unusual for them.

Q. And how is it that you are able to obtain enough business for 800 lawyers?

A. I don't think that's my entire responsibility. I'm just one of 800 lawyers, and that is what I do in part, but I'm not alone in that process of making rain.

Q. When you say "making rain," that's the terminology of being a rainmaker?

A. I think even in Arkansas, you understand what rainmaking is.

Q. We've read Grisham books. And so, when you say making rain or being a rainmaker, that is to bring in business so that you can keep the lawyers busy practicing law?

A. Well, that is--that is part and parcel of the practice of law.

Q. And do you bill by the hour?

A. I do not.

Q. And I understand you used to, but you do not anymore?

A. I graduated.

Q. A fortunate graduation. And when the--when you did bill by the hour, what was your billable rate the last time you had to do that?

A. I believe my billable rate at the last time was somewhere between 450 and 500 an hour.

Q. Now, would you describe--

A. Not bad for a Georgia boy. I'm from Georgia. You've heard of that State, I'm sure.

Q. It's probably not bad from Washington standards. Would you describe the nature of your relationship with President Clinton?

A. President Clinton has been a friend of mine since approximately 1973, when I came to your State, Arkansas, to make a speech as president of the National Urban League about race and equal opportunity in our Nation, and we met then and there, and our friendship has grown and developed and matured and he is my friend and will continue to be my friend.

Q. And just to further elaborate on that friendship, it's my understanding that he and his--and the First Lady has had Christmas Eve dinner with you and your family for a number of years?

A. Every year since his Presidency, the Jordan family has been privileged to entertain the Clinton family on Christmas Eve.

Q. And has there been any exceptions in recent years to that?

A. Every year that he has been President, he has had, he and his family, Christmas Eve with my family.

Q. And have you vacationed together with the Clinton family?

A. Yes. I think you have seen reels of us playing golf and having fun at Martha's Vineyard.

Q. And so you vacation together, you play golf together on a semi-regular basis?

A. Whenever we can. We've not been doing it recently, for reasons that I think are probably very obvious to you, Counsel.

Q. Well, explain that to me.

A. Just what I said, for a time, I was going before the grand jury, and under the advice of counsel and I'm sure under advice of the President's counsel, it was thought best that we not play golf together. So, from the time that I first went to the grand jury, I don't think--we have not played golf this year, unfortunately, together.

Q. Since you--I think your first appearance at the grand jury was March 3 of '98. Then you went March 5, and then in May, I believe you were two times before the grand jury and then one in June of '98. Since your last testimony before the grand jury in June of '98, have you been in contact with the President of the United States?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. And are these social occasions or for business purposes?

A. Social occasions. I was invited to the Korean State Dinner. I forget when that was. I think that was the first time I was in the White House since Martin Luther King Day of last year. I saw the President at Martha's Vineyard. I was there when he got off Air Force One to greet him and welcome him to--to the Vineyard, and I was at the White House for one of the performances about music. The Morgan State Choir sang, and so I've been to the White House only for social occasions in the last year since Martin Luther King's birthday, I believe.

Q. Have you had any private conversations with the President?

A. Yes, I have, as a matter of fact.

Q. And has this been on the telephone or in person?

A. I've talked to him on the telephone, and I talked to him at the Vineyard. He was at my house on Christmas Eve. There were a lot of people around, but, yes, I've talked to the President.

Q. And did you discuss your testimony before the grand jury or his testimony before the grand jury?

A. I did not.

Q. There was one reference that he made in his Federal grand jury testimony, and I'll refer counsel, if they would like. It was on page 77 of the President's testimony in his appearance before the grand jury on August 17th. And he referenced discussions with you, and he said, "I think I may have been confused in my memory because I've also talked to him on the phone about what he said, about whether he had talked to her or met with her. That's all I can tell you," and I believe the "her" is a reference to Ms. Lewinsky. And it appeared to me from reading that, that there might have been some conversations with you by the President, perhaps in reference to your grand jury testimony or your knowledge of when and how you talked to Ms. Lewinsky.

A. If I understand your question about whether or not the President of the United States and I talked about my testimony before the grand jury or his testimony before the grand jury, I can say to you unequivocally that the President of the United States and I have not discussed our testimony. I was advised by my counsel, Mr. Hundley, not to discuss that testimony, and I have learned in this process, Mr. Hutchinson, to--to take the advice of counsel.

Q. I would certainly agree that that is good counsel to take, but going back to the question--and I will try to rephrase it because it was a very wordy question that I asked you--and it's clear from your testimony that you have not discussed your grand jury testimony--

A. That is correct.

Q. --but did you, subsequent to your last testimony before the grand jury, talk to the President in which you discussed conversation that you have had with Monica Lewinsky?

A. I have not discussed a conversation that I have had with Monica Lewinsky with the President of the United States.

Q. And have you had any discussions about Monica Lewinsky with the President of the United States since your last testimony before the grand jury?

A. I have not.

Q. Now, going back to your relationship with the President, you have been described as a friend and advisor to the President. Is that a fair terminology?

A. I think that's fair.

Q. And in the advisor capacity, had you served as co- chairman of the Clinton-Gore transition team in 1992?

A. I believe I was chairman.

Q. That is an important distinction. And have you served in any other official or semi-official capacities for this administration?

A. I have not, except that I was asked by the President to lead the American delegation to the inauguration of President Li in Taiwan, and that was about as official as you can get, but beyond that, I have not--not had any official capacity. For a very brief moment, very early in the administration, I was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Committee, and I went to one meeting and stayed half that meeting, went across the street and told Bruce Lindsey that that was not for me.

Q. Now, let's move on. After we've established to a certain degree your relationship with the President, let's move on to January 20th of 1998, and just to put that in clearer terms, this is a Tuesday after the January 17 deposition of President Clinton in the Paula Jones civil rights case. Do you recall that time frame?

A. [Nodding head up and down.]

Q. This is in the afternoon of January 20th, again, after the President's deposition. You contacted Mr. Howard Gittis, who I believe is General Counsel of McAndrews & Forbes Holdings?

A. Howard Gittis is Vice Chairman of McAndrews, Forbes, and he is not the General Counsel. He is a lawyer, but he is not the General Counsel.

Q. And what was the purpose of you contacting Mr. Howard Gittis on January 20th?

A. If I talked to Howard Gittis on the 20th, I don't recall exactly what my conversation with Howard Gittis was about. I think it was a telephone call, maybe.

Q. And that's difficult. Let me see if I can't help you in that regard.

A. Right.

[[Page S1231]]

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Investigating the President


Friday, February 5, 1999

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