Clinton's testimony: As it happens
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 21) -- Here is a summary of President Bill Clinton's August 17 videotaped testimony for the Monica Lewinsky grand jury as it unfolded. The House Judiciary Committee released the videotape Monday.
Clinton's most recent testimony:
A prosecutor tells President Clinton a grand juror wants to know whether Monica Lewinsky performed oral sex on him.
"That's not the first time that question has been asked," Clinton says. He declines to answer, saying only that he had intimate contact with Lewinsky that was inappropriate.
A prosecutor shows Clinton photos of a tie he wore on August 6, 1998, and asks if he was sending some kind of signal to Lewinsky on the day she appeared before the grand jury by wearing a tie she had given him.
"No, sir," Clinton says. "I don't believe she gave me this tie."
Prosecutors question Clinton about when he met ex-White House volunteer Kathleen Willey.
Asked if he made a sexual advance on Willey during an Oval Office meeting, Clinton says, "That's false."
Asked if he grabbed Willey's breast, touched her groin or placed her hand on his genitals, Clinton denies doing any of that.
"I didn't do any of that," Clinton says. He says the prosecutor's questions "betray the bias of this operation."
Of Willey, Clinton says, "She was not telling the truth."
A prosecutor asks Clinton if it's possible or impossible that his semen is on Monica Lewinsky's dress.
"I have nothing to add to my statement," Clinton says.
When the Lewinsky story broke, Clinton says he "was trying to figure out what the facts were."
Clinton said he learned on January 18 of a report by Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge that he had had a sexual relationship with someone at the White House.
Clinton calls Newsweek "almost a sponsoring media outlet for the Paula Jones case," but adds, "I knew this was all going to come out."
Clinton says he saw no problem with his attempts to help Monica Lewinsky find a lawyer or a job.
Clinton says he formed an opinion early in 1996 after he got into the "unfortunate and wrong conduct" with Lewinsky that once he ended it, Lewinsky would tell other people about their relationship.
He says he thought that would happen not because Lewinsky would try to hurt him, but that it was bound to occur.
"She's basically a good girl," Clinton says.
Clinton says he already had put himself at risk because of the relationship, and was not trying to buy Lewinsky's silence by helping her get on with her life.
Clinton says the suggestion he encouraged anyone to lie under oath is "almost ludicrous."
A prosecutor asks Clinton if Lewinsky would be lying if she says Clinton touched her breast in the Oval Office suite.
Clinton tries to make a statement, then says, "That is not my recollection."
Asked if Lewinsky would be lying if she said Clinton kissed her breast, Clinton says, "I'm going to revert to my former statement."
Asked if Lewinsky would be lying if she said Clinton touched her genitalia, Clinton says, "I will revert to my statement."
Asked if Lewinsky would by lying if she said a cigar was used as a sexual aide, Clinton says, "I will revert to my former statement." He reacts visibly to the question, straightening his back.
Clinton says Ken Starr's four-year, $40 million investigation has come down to parsing the definition of sex.
A grand juror asks Clinton whether oral sex performed on him falls within definition of sex as spelled out in Jones case.
"As I understood it, it was not, no," Clinton says.
Asked if the insertion of an object into the genitalia of another person would constitute contact, Clinton says it would not be direct contact under the definition in the Jones case.
"I've not been asked this question before," Clinton says. "This is an unusual question, but it's a slippery slope." He says he does not believe he did anything that constituted sexual relations.
Clinton is questioned about an incident when Monica Lewinsky appears at the White House Northwest gate and is angry when Clinton cannot meet with her.
Clinton resists prosecutors as they continue to press him on how he answered questions in the Jones deposition.
"You seem to be criticizing me because they (Jones' lawyers) didn't ask better questions ... I don't know what's going on here," Clinton says.
Clinton says the Lewinsky relationship and related legal case "was not the most important thing in my life. This was just another thing in my life."
Clinton said he felt that the conduct of Jones' lawyers was "outrageous" and an attempt to hurt him politically.
"Did I want this (the Lewinsky affair) to come out. No," Clinton says.
"Was I embarrassed about it? Yes."
"Did I ask her (Lewinsky) to lie about it? No," he says.
Clinton said his goal in the Jones deposition "was to be truthful, but not particularly helpful."
Clinton says he deplored illegal leaks, but he was determined to walk through the minefield of the deposition without violating the law and believes he did.
Clinton's earlier testimony:
Clinton is sworn in; he says "I do," when asked if he swears to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
One of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's prosecutors outlines the agreement under which Clinton has agreed to testify voluntarily. Clinton appears solemn and nervous.
Asked if he understands he will get questions, too, from grand jury witnesses, Clinton says he does.
He says he understands that his testimony is under oath.
"I will answer each question as accurately and fully as I can," Clinton says.
Clinton reads a statement, saying when he was alone with Miss Lewinsky in 1996 and one time in 1997, he "engaged in conduct that was wrong ..."
"That did not constitute sexual relations as I understood that term to be defined..." Clinton says. He says he also on occasion engaged in "inappropriate sexual banter" with Lewinsky.
"I regret what began as a friendship came to include this conduct," Clinton says.
Asked if his relationship with Lewinsky involved sexual contact "in any way, shape or form," Clinton says, "I have said what it did not include. It did not include sexual intercourse ... I would like to stay with that characterization."
Clinton is asked about his "inappropriate intimate contact" with Lewinsky.
"I did what people do when they do the wrong thing," Clinton says -- that is, do it when no one is looking and not tell anyone.
Clinton and Starr's prosecutors joust over the definition of sexual relations as defined in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
Clinton, pressed about the deposition in the Jones case, launches into a description of Jones lawyers' strategy.
"They knew they had a lousy case on the facts," Clinton says. He says they pursued a "drag net of discovery" to gather damaging information about him.
"I've been subject to quite a lot of illegal leaking," Clinton says. "Their real goal was to hurt me. Maybe they thought I would settle.
"They just thought they would take a wrecking ball to me and see if they could do some damage," Clinton says. "I was not trying to be particularly helpful to them."
Under questioning, Clinton says he knew Lewinsky had received a subpoena and was slated to testify in the Jones case.
Asked if he understood that Lewinsky's subpoena in the Jones case called for the production of gifts, Clinton says, "I'm not sure, and I understand that this is an important question."
Clinton says he told Lewinsky she would have to produce any gifts he gave her that were subpoenaed in the Jones case.
"It didn't bother me," Clinton says.
He says he told her, "You have to give them whatever the subpoena asks for."
Asked why he was comfortable giving Lewinsky gifts during discovery, Clinton says, "There was no existing improper relationship at that time."
Clinton says there is nothing wrong with men and women exchanging gifts.
"I wasn't worried about it," Clinton says. "I thought it was an alright thing to do."
Clinton says Lewinsky had accepted his decision to stop intimate contact between them.
"She knew from the very beginning of our relationship that I was apprehensive about it," he says.
Asked if Lewinsky continued to profess her love for him, Clinton says she may have. "Love can mean different things," he says.
"I remember telling her she should be careful what she wrote," Clinton says.
Clinton says there was "a disconnect between what she was saying and the plain facts of our relationship."
Asked if he had asked his secretary, Betty Currie, to pick up gifts he had given Lewinsky, Clinton says, "No sir, I didn't do that. I did not do that."
Clinton grows angry with prosecutors pressing him about when he first learned of Lewinsky's subpoena in the Jones case.
"I'm not going to answer your trick questions," Clinton says. "You have made this the most important issue in America."
Clinton is asked about a conversation with Vernon Jordan, Clinton's longtime friend.
A prosecutor says Jordan has testified he had a disturbing conversation with Lewinsky, who Jordan described as fixated on Clinton and had thoughts that Hillary Clinton might leave her husband so Clinton and Lewinsky could be together.
"I don't remember him ever saying that," Clinton says.
Monday, September 21, 1998
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