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Video, documents contain new details embarrassing to Clinton

From White House Correspondent John King

WASHINGTON (Sept. 20) -- President Bill Clinton's videotaped testimony and reams of supplemental Starr report material are expected to prove highly embarrassing to the president, as new details begin to emerge in advance of their Monday morning release.

As the House Judiciary Committee prepares to release the tape and 2,800 pages of additional material as early as 9 a.m. EDT Monday, two attorneys familiar with Clinton's Aug. 17 testimony told CNN that Clinton repeatedly referred to a lengthy prepared statement during the questioning.

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Sources tell CNN that one of the more dramatic exchanges during the president's four-plus hours of videotaped testimony has the White House particularly worried.

In it, an exasperated grand juror asks the president for a "yes" or "no" answer to this question: Did Monica Lewinsky perform oral sex on you?

But the president doesn't answer that question -- or other sexually explicit ones -- directly. Instead, sources say, he refers back to a statement in which he acknowledges "inappropriate intimate contact" with the young intern but refuses to be more specific.

Such evasive answers and moments of palpable anger worry the White House as Congress prepares to release the dramatic video of a president under oath.

Several sources who have viewed the tape and reviewed the documents say they also provide new insights into the star witness.

At one point the president says: "I'd give anything in the world to not admit to what I had to testify to today."

Lewinsky embarrassed during her graphic testimony

Clinton wasn't the only uncomfortable witness. Lewinsky time and again says how embarrassed she is and how she can't believe she is detailing her sexual liaisons with the president, sources say.

But she does, detailing sexual contact that directly contradicts the president's sworn testimony about the scope of their relationship. She also gives graphic accounts of phone sex conversations with the president.

The documents also include a spiral notebook kept by Lewinsky that sources say is sort of a diary.

Also included in the 2,800 pages of supporting material is a detailed FBI analysis of Lewinsky's dress.

Clinton's opening statement

According to the sources, the president's statement, to which he refers repeatedly during his testimony, was as follows:

"When I was alone with Ms. Lewinsky on certain occasions in early 1996 and once in early 1997 I engaged in conduct that was wrong. These encounters did not consist of sexual intercourse, they did not constitute sexual relations as I understood that term to be defined at my January 17, 1998 deposition. But they did involve inappropriate intimate contact.

"These inappropriate encounters ended at my insistence, in early 1997. I also had occasional telephone conversations with Ms. Lewinsky that included inappropriate sexual banter. I regret that what began as friendship came to include this conduct and I take full responsibility for my actions. While I will provide the grand jury whatever other information I can, because of privacy considerations affecting my family, myself and others and in an effort to preserve the dignity of the office I hold, this is all I will say about the specifics of these particular matters."

Portions of the president's opening statement are quoted in the Starr report.

The sources said the president also denied any improper sexual advances toward White House volunteer Kathleen Willey, saying on one occasion he hugged her and may have kissed her forehead while trying to console her after she told him of a family hardship. Willey told the grand jury the president fondled her breasts and tried to force her hand onto his genitals, according to sources.

Supporting documentation traces Clinton-Lewinsky relationship

The 2,800 pages of supporting evidence to be released comprise seven volumes in all, meticulously tracing Clinton's efforts to fight the Paula Jones lawsuit and the independent counsel's eight-month investigation.

With Lewinsky as his only eyewitness, Starr uses White House records and other documents to make his case in painstaking detail.

The supporting documentation can be broken down in the following categories:

  • Lewinsky's visits to the White House, and documentation of the gifts she and the president exchanged and the phone calls they made to one another.

  • Transcripts of Lewinsky's two appearances before the grand jury; the negotiations between Starr's staff and Lewinsky's attorneys over what she would say if given immunity from prosecution, and transcripts from her roughly 20 interviews with the FBI. It also includes transcripts of phone messages that Clinton left at Lewinsky's home answering machine.

  • The president's grand jury testimony -- a transcript of what is on the tape.

  • A focus on Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton and efforts by the president's legal team to resist litigation in that case.

  • Diagrams of the layout of the White House, such as which rooms connect. This is important because Lewinsky's testimony is detailed as to where she was in the White House with the president.

  • Newspaper clippings and quotes of anything Clinton and his staff ever said in public about the Lewinsky matter. This volume includes seven months of private correspondence between Starr prosecutors and the president's lawyers, detailing the deep animosity between the two camps as well as letters that Lewinsky sent to the president, and the results of the test that identified the president's semen on Lewinsky's dress. Also included is the schedule of Vernon Jordan, the president's friend who tried to find Lewinsky a job.

  • A spiral notebook kept by Lewinsky. It's described as a sort of diary -- although not as detailed about sex as her grand jury testimony. The documents also include Lewinsky's description of what she calls phone sex with the president.

Staff at the Government Printing Office have been working throughout the weekend to prepare the documents for distribution, and the four-hour videotape will be made public simultaneously.

CNN plans to air the tape as soon as it available. In addition, CNN.com plans to make the material -- both video and printed documents -- available on its Web site.

The documents also were to be posted on the same House Web sites used last week for Starr's report to Congress.

Investigating the President


Sunday, September 20, 1998

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