Transcripts from video deposition of Lewinsky, Jordan, and Blumenthal
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 sidney blumenthal (Wednesday, February 3, 1999, Washington, D.C.)
SENATOR SPECTER: If none, I will swear the witness.
Mr. Blumenthal, will you please stand up and raise your right hand?
You, Sidney Blumenthal, do 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?
MR. BLUMENTHAL: I do.
Whereupon, SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL was called as a witness and, after having been first duly sworn by Senator Specter, was examined and testified as follows:
SENATOR SPECTER: Thank you.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
SENATOR SPECTER: The House Managers may begin their questioning.
MR. ROGAN: Thank you, Senator.
EXAMINATION BY HOUSE MANAGERS
BY MR. ROGAN:
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, first, good morning.
A. Good morning to you.
Q. My name is Jim Rogan. As you know, I am one of the House Managers and will be conducting this deposition pursuant to authority from the United States Senate.
First, as a preliminary matter, we have never had the pleasure of meeting or speaking until this morning, correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. If any question I ask is unclear or is in any way ambiguous, if you would please call that to my attention, I will be happy to try to restate it or rephrase the question.
A. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, where are you currently employed?
A. At the White House.
Q. Is that in the Executive Office of the President?
A. It is.
Q. What is your current title?
A. My title is Assistant to the President.
Q. Was that your title on January 21st, 1998?
A. It was.
Q. For the record, that is the date that The Washington Post story appeared that essentially broke the Monica Lewinsky story?
Q. On that date, were you the Assistant to the President as to any specific subject matter?
A. I dealt with a variety of areas.
Q. Did your duties entail any specific matter, or were you essentially a jack-of-all-trades at the White House for the President?
A. Well, I was hired to help the President develop his ideas and themes about the new consensus for the country, and I was hired to deal with problems like the impact of globalization, democracy internationally and domestically, the future of civil society, and the Anglo-American Project; and I also was hired to work on major speeches.
Q. You testified previously that your duties are such as the President and Chief of Staff shall decide. Would that be a fair characterization?
A. Oh, yes.
Q. How long have you been employed in this capacity?
A. Since August 11th, 1997.
Q. And in the course of your duties, do you personally advise the President as to the matters that you just shared with us?
Q. How often do you meet with the President personally to advise him?
A. It varies. Sometimes several times a week; sometimes I go without seeing him for a number of weeks at a time.
Q. Is dealing with the media part of your--your job?
A. Yes. It's part of my job and part of the job of most people in the White House.
Q. Was that also one of your responsibilities on January 21st, 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky story broke?
Q. You previously testified that you had a role in the Monica Lewinsky matter after the story broke in The Washington Post on that date, at least in reference to your White House duties; is that correct?
A. I'm unclear on what you mean by "a role."
Q. Specifically, you testified that you attended meetings in the White House in the Office of Legal Counsel in the morning and in the evening almost every day once the story broke?
Q. And what times did those meetings occur after the story broke, these regular meetings?
A. The morning meetings occurred around 8:30, after the morning message meeting, and the evening meetings occurred around 6:45.
Q. Are those meetings still ongoing?
Q. Can you tell me when those meetings ended?
A. Oh, I'd say about the time that the impeachment trial started.
Q. That would be about a month or--about a month ago?
A. Yeah, something like that.
Q. Thank you.
A. I don't recall exactly.
Q. Sure. But up until that point, were these essentially regularly scheduled meetings, twice a day, 8:30 in the morning and 6:45 in the evening?
Q. Did you generally attend those meetings?
Q. Now, initially, when you testified before the grand jury on February 26th, 1998, your first grand jury appearance, you stated that these twice-daily meetings dealt exclusively with the Monica Lewinsky matter, correct?
A. They dealt with our press reaction, how we would respond to press reports dealing with it. This was a huge story, and we were being inundated with hundreds of calls.
Q. What I'm--what I'm trying to decipher is that at least initially, at the time of your first grand jury appearance, which was about a month after the story broke--
Q. --the meetings were exclusively related to Monica Lewinsky. Is that correct?
A. Pretty much.
Q. And then, 4 months later, when you testified before the grand jury in June, you said these meetings were still ongoing, and you referenced them at that time as discussing the policy, political, legal and media impact of scandals and how to deal with them. Do you remember that testimony?
A. If I could see it.
Q. Certainly. I'm happy to invite your attention to your grand jury testimony of June 4th, 1998, page 25, lines 1 through 5.
MR. ROGAN: And that would be, for the Senators' and counsel's benefit--I believe that's in Tab 4 of the materials provided.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: Right. I see it.
BY MR. ROGAN:
Q. You've had a chance to review that, Mr. Blumenthal?
A. I have.
Q. And that--that's correct testimony?
Q. Thank you. At the time you spoke of--you used the word "scandals" in the plural, and you were asked on June 4th what other scandals were discussed and you said they range from the Paula Jones trial to our China policy. Is that a fair statement?
A. Oh, yes, yes. I do.
Q. Who typically attended those meetings?
A. As I recall, there were about a dozen or so people, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Q. Do you remember the names of the people?
A. I'll try to.
Q. Would it be helpful if I directed your attention to a couple of passages in the grand jury testimony?
A. Sure, if you'd like.
MR. ROGAN: Inviting the Senate and counsel's attention to the February 26th grand jury testimony, page 11, lines 2 through 16.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: Sure. Yeah.
BY MR. ROGAN:
Q. That would be Tab Number 1.
A. Right, I see that. What it says here is that the names listed are Charles Ruff, Lanny Breuer, who is right over here, Cheryl Mills, Bruce Lindsey, John Podesta, Rahm Emanuel, Paul Begala, Jim Kennedy, Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart, Ann Lewis, Adam Goldberg, Don Goldberg, and that's--those are the names that I--that I recall.
Q. Thank you.
And just for my benefit, Mr. Ruff, Mr. Breuer, Ms. Mills, and Mr. Lindsey, those are all White House counsel?
Q. Could you just briefly identify for the record the other individuals that are--that are listed in your testimony?
A. Sure. John Podesta was Deputy Chief of Staff. Rahm Emanuel was a Senior Advisor. Paul Begala had the title of Counselor. Jim Kennedy was in the Legal Counsel Office. Mike McCurry was Press Secretary. Joe Lockhart at that time was Deputy Press Secretary. Ann Lewis was Director of Communications, still is. Adam Goldberg worked as a--as an Assistant in the Legal Counsel Office, and Don Goldberg worked in Legislative Affairs.
Q. Thank you.
Mr. Blumenthal, specifically inviting your attention to January 21st, 1998, you testified before the grand jury that on that date, you personally spoke to the President regarding the Monica Lewinsky matter, correct?
Q. When you spoke to the President, did you discuss The Washington Post story about Ms. Lewinsky that appeared that morning?
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