Trial memorandum submitted by the House managers
January 11, 1999
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, January 11) -- The House managers, who will prosecute the impeachment case against President Bill Clinton in the Senate trial, submitted their trial memo Monday. The full text is below:
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Sitting as a Court of Impeachment
President William Jefferson Clinton
TRIAL MEMORANDUM OF THE
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Now comes the United States House of Representatives, by and
through its duly authorized Managers, and respectfully submits to the United States Senate its Brief in connection with the Impeachment Trial of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States.
The President is charged in two Articles with: 1) Perjury and false and misleading testimony and statements under oath before a federal grand jury (Article I), and 2) engaging in a course of conduct or scheme to delay and obstruct justice (Article II).
The evidence contained in the record, when viewed as a unified whole, overwhelmingly supports both charges.
Perjury and False Statements Under Oath
President Clinton deliberately and willfully testified falsely under oath when he appeared before a federal grand jury on August 17, 1998. Although what follows is not exhaustive, some of the more overt examples will serve to illustrate.
Obstruction of Justice
The President engaged in an ongoing scheme to obstruct both the Jones civil case and the grand jury. Further, he undertook a continuing and concerted plan to tamper with witnesses and prospective witnesses for the purpose of causing those witnesses to provide false and misleading testimony. Examples abound:
The foregoing are merely accusations of an ongoing pattern of obstruction of justice, and witness tampering extending over a period of several months, and having the effect of seriously compromising the integrity of the entire judicial system.
The effect of the President's misconduct has been devastating in several respects.
1) He violated repeatedly his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
2) He ignored his constitutional duty as chief law enforcement officer to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
3) He deliberately and unlawfully obstructed Paula Jones's rights as a citizen to due process and the equal protection of the laws, though he had sworn to protect those rights.
4) By his pattern of lies under oath, misleading statements and deceit, he has seriously undermined the integrity and credibility of the Office of President and thereby the honor and integrity of the United States.
5) His pattern of perjuries, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering has affected the truth seeking process which is the foundation of our legal system.
6) By mounting an assault in the truth seeking process, he has attacked the entire Judicial Branch of government.
The Articles of Impeachment that the House has preferred state offenses that warrant, if proved, the conviction and removal from office of President William Jefferson Clinton. The Articles charge that the President has committed perjury before a federal grand jury and that he obstructed justice in a federal civil rights action. The Senate's own precedents establish beyond doubt that perjury warrants conviction and removal. During the 1980s, the Senate convicted and removed three federal judges for committing perjury. Obstruction of justice undermines the judicial system in the same fashion that perjury does, and it also warrants conviction and removal.
Under our Constitution, judges are impeached under the same standard as Presidents -- treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Thus, these judicial impeachments for perjury set the standard here. Finally, the Senate's own precedents further establish that the President's crimes need not arise directly out of his official duties. Two of the three judges removed in the 1980s were removed for perjury that had nothing to do with their official duties.
This Brief is intended solely to advise the Senate generally of the evidence that the Managers intend to produce, if permitted, and of the applicable legal principles. It is not intended to discuss exhaustively all of the evidence, nor does it necessarily include each and every witness and document that the Managers would produce in the course of the trial. This Brief, then, is merely an outline for the use of the Senate in reviewing and assessing the evidence as it is set forth at trial - it is not, and is not intended to be a substitute for a trial at which all of the relevant facts will be developed.
H. RES. 611, 105th Cong. 2nd Sess. (1998).
The House Impeachment Resolution charges the President with high crimes and misdemeanors in two Articles. Article One alleges that President Clinton "willfully corrupted and manipulated the judicial process of the United States for his personal gain and exoneration, impeding the administration of justice" in that he willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to a federal grand jury on August 17, 1998. Article Two asserts that the President "has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice and engaged in a course of conduct or scheme designed to delay, impede, cover up, and conceal the existence of evidence and testimony related to a federal civil rights action brought against him." Both Articles are now before the Senate of the United States for trial as provided by the Constitution of the United States.
The Office of President represents to the American people and to the world, the strength, the philosophy and most of all, the honor and integrity that makes us a great nation and an example for the world. Because all eyes are focused upon that high office, the character and credibility of any temporary occupant of the Oval Office is vital to the domestic and foreign welfare of the citizens. Consequently, serious breaches of integrity and duty of necessity adversely influence the reputation of the United States.
This case is not about sex or private conduct. It is about multiple obstructions of justice, perjury, false and misleading statements, and witness tampering - all committed or orchestrated by the President of the United States.
Before addressing the President's lies and obstruction, it is important to place the events in the proper context. If this were only about private sex we would not now be before the Senate. But the manner in which the Lewinsky relationship arose and continued is important because it is illustrative of the character of the President and the decisions he made.BACKGROUND
Monica Lewinsky, a 22 year old intern, (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 8; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 728) was working at the White House during the government shutdown in 1995. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 10; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 730) Prior to their first intimate encounter, she had never even spoken with the President. Sometime on November 15, 1995, Ms. Lewinsky and President Clinton flirted with each other. (Id.) The President of the United States of America then invited this unknown young intern into a private area off the Oval Office where he kissed her. He then invited her back later and when she returned, the two engaged in the first of many acts of inappropriate contact. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 12; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 732)
Thereafter, the two concocted a cover story. If Ms. Lewinsky were seen, she was bringing papers to the President. That story was totally false. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 54; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 774; 8/26/98 Dep., p. 34; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1314) The only papers she brought were personal messages having nothing to do with her duties or those of the President. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 54-55; H.Doc. 105-311, pp 774-775) After Ms. Lewinsky moved from the White House to the Pentagon, her frequent visits to the President were disguised as visits to Betty Currie. (Id.) Those cover stories are important, because they play a vital role in the later perjuries and obstructions.
Over the term of their relationship the following significant matters occurred:
1. Monica Lewinsky and the President were alone on at least twenty-one occasions;
2. They had at least eleven personal sexual encounters, excluding phone sex:
Three in 1995
Five in 1996 and
Three in 1997;
3. They had at least 55 telephone conversations, at least seventeen of which involved phone sex;
4. The President gave Ms. Lewinsky twenty presents; and,
5. Ms. Lewinsky gave the President forty presents. (O.I.C. Referral, App., Tab E; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 104-111)
These are the essential facts which form the backdrop for all of the events that followed.
The sexual details of the President's encounters with Ms. Lewinsky, though relevant, need not be detailed either in this document or through witness testimony. It is necessary, though, briefly to outline that evidence, because it will demonstrate that the President repeatedly lied about that sexual relationship in his deposition, before the grand jury, and in his responses to the Judiciary Committee's questions. He has consistently maintained that Ms. Lewinsky merely performed acts on him, while he never touched her in a sexual manner. This characterization not only directly contradicts Ms. Lewinsky's testimony, but it also contradicts the sworn grand jury testimony of three of her friends and the statements by two professional counselors with whom she contemporaneously shared the details of her relationship. (O.I.C. Referral, H.Doc. 105-310, pgs. 138-140)
While his treatment of Ms. Lewinsky was offensive, it is much more offensive for the President to expect the Senate to believe that in 1995, 1996, and 1997, his intimate contact with Ms. Lewinsky was so limited that it did not fall within his narrow interpretation of a definition of "sexual relations". As later demonstrated, he did not even conceive his interpretation until 1998, while preparing for his grand jury appearance.
HOW TO VIEW THE EVIDENCE
We respectfully submit that the evidence and testimony must be viewed as a whole; it cannot be compartmentalized. It is essential to avoid considering each event in isolation, and then treating it separately. Events and words that may seem innocent or even exculpatory in a vacuum may well take on a sinister, or even criminal connotation when observed in the context of the whole plot. For example, everyone agrees that Monica Lewinsky testified "No one ever told me to lie; nobody ever promised me a job." (ML 8/20/98 GJ, p. 105; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1161)
When considered alone this would seem exculpatory. However, in the context of the other evidence, another picture emerges. Of course no one said, "Now, Monica, you go in there and lie." They didn't have to. Ms. Lewinsky knew what was expected of her. Similarly, nobody promised her a job, but once she signed the false affidavit, she got one.
The ultimate issue is whether the President's course of conduct is such as to affect adversely the Office of the President and also upon the administration of justice, and whether he has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive to the Rule of Law and Constitutional government.
The events that form the basis of these charges actually began in late 1995. They reached a critical stage in the winter of 1997 and the first month of 1998. The event culminated when the President of the United States appeared before a federal grand jury, raised his right hand to God and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
December 5-6, 1997
On Friday, December 5, 1997, Monica Lewinsky asked Betty Currie if the President could see her the next day, Saturday, but Ms. Currie said that the President was scheduled to meet with his lawyers all day. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 107-108; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 827-828) Later that Friday, Ms. Lewinsky spoke briefly to the President at a Christmas party. (ML 7/31/98 Int., p. 1; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1451; ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 108; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 828)
THE WITNESS LIST IS RECEIVED
That evening, Paula Jones's attorneys faxed a list of potential witnesses to the President's attorneys. (849-DC-00000128; 849-DC-00000121-37; Referral, H.Doc. 105-311, p. 88) The list included Monica Lewinsky. However, Ms. Lewinsky did not find out that her name was on the list until the President told her ten days later, on December 17. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 121-123; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 841-843) That delay is significant.
MS. LEWINSKY'S FIRST VISIT
After her conversation with Ms. Currie and seeing the President at the Christmas party, Ms. Lewinsky drafted a letter to the President terminating their relationship. (ML-55-DC-0177; ML 7/31/98 Int., p. 2; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1452) The next morning, Saturday, December 6, Ms. Lewinsky went to the White House to deliver the letter and some gifts for the President to Ms. Currie. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 108-109; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 828-829) When she arrived at the White House, Ms. Lewinsky spoke to several Secret Service officers, and one of them told her that the President was not with his lawyers, as she thought, but rather, he was meeting with Eleanor Mondale. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 111; H.Doc 105-311, p. 831; Mondale 7/16/98 Int., p. 1; H.Doc 105-316, pgs. 2907-2908; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 2654) Ms. Lewinsky called Ms. Currie from a pay phone, angrily exchanged words with her, and went home. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 112-13; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 832-833; Currie 1/27/98 GJ, p. 37; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 553) After that phone call, Ms. Currie told the Secret Service watch commander that the President was so upset about the disclosure of his meeting with Ms. Mondale that he wanted somebody fired. (Purdie 7/23/98 GJ, pgs. 13, 18-19; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 3356-3357)
THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS
At 12:05 p.m., records demonstrate that Ms. Currie paged Bruce Lindsey with the message: "Call Betty ASAP." (964-DC-00000862; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 2722) Around that same time, according to Ms. Lewinsky, while she was back at her apartment, Ms. Lewinsky and the President spoke by phone. The President was very angry; he told Ms. Lewinsky that no one had ever treated him as poorly as she had. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 113-14; H.Doc 105-311, pgs. 833-834) The President acknowledged to the grand jury that he was upset about Ms. Lewinsky's behavior and considered it inappropriate. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 85; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 537) Nevertheless, in a sudden change of mood, he invited her to visit him at the White House that afternoon. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 114; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 834) MS. LEWINSKY'S SECOND VISIT
Monica Lewinsky arrived at the White House for the second time that day and was cleared to enter at 12:52 p.m. (WAVES: 827-DC-00000018) Although, in Ms. Lewinsky's words, the President was "very angry" with her during their recent telephone conversation, he was "sweet" and "very affectionate" during this visit. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 113-15; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 833-835) He also told her that he would talk to Vernon Jordan about her job situation. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 115-16; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 835-836)
THE DISCUSSIONS WITH THE SECRET SERVICEThe President also suddenly changed his attitude toward the Secret Service. Ms. Currie informed some officers that if they kept quiet about the Lewinsky incident, there would be no disciplinary action. (Williams 7/23/98 GJ, pgs. 25, 27-28; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 4539; Chinery 7/23/98 GJ, p. 22-23; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 456) According to the Secret Service watch commander, Captain Jeffrey Purdie, the President personally told him, "I hope you use your discretion" or "I hope I can count on your discretion." (Purdie 7/23/98 GJ, p. 32; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3360; Purdie 7/17/98 GJ, p. 3; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3353) Deputy Chief Charles O'Malley, Captain Purdie's supervisor, testified that he knew of no other time in his fourteen years of service at the White House where the President raised a performance issue with a member of the Secret Service uniformed division. (O'Malley 9/8/98 Dep., pgs. 40-41; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 3168-3171) After his conversation with the President, Captain Purdie told a number of officers that they should not discuss the Lewinsky incident. (Porter 8/13/98 GJ, p. 12; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3343; Niedzwiecki 7/30/98 GJ, pgs. 30-31; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3114)
When the President was before the grand jury and questioned about his statements to the Secret Service regarding this incident, the President testified, "I don't remember what I said and I don't remember to whom I said it." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 86; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 534) When confronted with Captain Purdie's testimony, the President testified, "I don't remember anything I said to him in that regard. I have no recollection of that whatever." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 91; H.Doc. 105-311 p. 543) THE PRESIDENT'S KNOWLEDGE OF THE WITNESS LIST
President Clinton testified before the grand jury that he learned that Ms. Lewinsky was on the Jones witness list that evening, Saturday, December 6, during a meeting with his lawyers.(WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 83-84; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 535-536) He stood by this answer in response to Request Number 16 submitted by the Judiciary Committee. (Exhibit 18) The meeting occurred around 5 p.m., after Ms. Lewinsky had left the White House.(WAVES: 1407-DC-00000005; Lindsey 3/12/98 GJ, pgs. 64-66; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 2418-19) According to Bruce Lindsey, at the meeting, Bob Bennett had a copy of the Jones witness list faxed to Mr. Bennett the previous night. (Lindsey 3/12/98 GJ, pgs. 65-67; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 2419)(Exhibit 15)
However, during his deposition, the President testified that he had heard about the witness list before he saw it. (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 70) In other words, if the President testified truthfully in his deposition, then he knew about the witness list before the 5 p.m. meeting. It is valid to infer that hearing Ms. Lewinsky's name on a witness list prompted the President's sudden and otherwise unexplained change from "very angry" to "very affectionate" that Saturday afternoon. It is also reasonable to infer that it prompted him to give the unique instruction to a Secret Service watch commander to use "discretion" regarding Ms. Lewinsky's visit to the White House, which the watch commander interpreted as an instruction to refrain from discussing the incident. (Purdie 7/17/98 GJ, pgs. 20-21; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 3351-3352; Purdie 7/23/98 GJ, pgs. 32-33; H.Doc. 105-315, pgs. 3360-3361)
THE JOB SEARCH FOR MS. LEWINSKY
Monica Lewinsky had been looking for a good paying and high profile job in New York since the previous July. She was not having much success despite the President's promise to help. In early November, Betty Currie arranged a meeting with Vernon Jordan who was supposed to help. (BC 5/6/98 GJ, p. 176; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 592)
On November 5, Ms. Lewinsky met for twenty minutes with Mr. Jordan. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 104; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 824) No action followed; no job interviews were arranged and there were no further contacts with Mr. Jordan. It was obvious that he made no effort to find a job for Ms. Lewinsky. Indeed, it was so unimportant to him that he "had no recollection of an early November meeting" (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, p. 50; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1799) and that finding a job for Ms. Lewinsky was not a priority (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 76; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1804)(Chart R) Nothing happened throughout the month of November, because Mr. Jordan was either gone or would not return Monica's calls. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 105-106; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 825-826)
During the December 6 meeting with the President, she mentioned that she had not been able to get in touch with Mr. Jordan and that it did not seem he had done anything to help her. The President responded by stating, "Oh, I'll talk to him. I'll get on it," or something to that effect. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 115-116; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 836) There was obviously still no urgency to help Ms. Lewinsky. Mr. Jordan met the President the next day, December 7, but the meeting was unrelated to Ms. Lewinsky. (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, pgs. 83, 116; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 1805, 1810)
THE DECEMBER 11, 1997 ACTIVITY
The first activity calculated to help Ms. Lewinsky actually procure employment took place on December 11. Mr. Jordan met with Ms. Lewinsky and gave her a list of contact names. The two also discussed the President. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 119, 120; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 839-840) That meeting Mr. Jordan remembered. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 41; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1798) Vernon Jordan immediately placed calls to two prospective employers. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, pgs. 54, 62-63; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 1800-1802) Later in the afternoon, he even called the President to give him a report on his job search efforts. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, pgs. 64-66; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1802) Clearly, Mr. Jordan and the President were now very interested in helping Monica find a good job in New York. (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 95; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1807)
SIGNIFICANCE OF DECEMBER 11, 1997
This sudden interest was inspired by a court order entered on December 11, 1997. On that date, Judge Susan Webber Wright ordered that Paula Jones was entitled to information regarding any state or federal employee with whom the President had sexual relations, proposed sexual relations, or sought to have sexual relations.
The President knew that it would be politically and legally expedient to maintain an amicable relationship with Monica Lewinsky. And the President knew that that relationship would be fostered by finding Ms. Lewinsky a job. This was accomplished through enlisting the help of Vernon Jordan.
December 17, 1997
MS. LEWINSKY LEARNS OF WITNESS LIST
On December 17, 1997, between 2:00 and 2:30 in the morning, Monica Lewinsky's phone rang unexpectedly. It was the President of the United States. The President said that he wanted to tell Ms. Lewinsky two things: one was that Betty Currie's brother had been killed in a car accident; secondly, the President said that he "had some more bad news," that he had seen the witness list for the Paula Jones case and her name was on it. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 123; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 843) The President told Ms. Lewinsky that seeing her name on the list "broke his heart." He then told her that "if [she] were to be subpoenaed, [she] should contact Betty and let Betty know that [she] had received the subpoena." (Id.) Ms. Lewinsky asked what she should do if subpoenaed. The President responded: "Well, maybe you can sign an affidavit." (Id.) Both parties knew that the Affidavit would need to be false and misleading to accomplish the desired result.
THE PRESIDENT'S "SUGGESTION"
Then, the President had a very pointed suggestion for Monica Lewinsky, a suggestion that left little room for compromise. He did not specifically tell her to lie. What he did say is "you know, you can always say you were coming to see Betty or that you were bringing me letters." (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 123; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 843)
In order to understand the significance of this statement, it is necessary to recall the "cover stories" that the President and Ms. Lewinsky had previously structured in order to deceive those who protected and worked with the President.
Ms. Lewinsky said she would carry papers when she visited the President. When she saw him, she would say: "Oh, gee, 'here are your letters,' wink, wink, wink and he would answer, 'Okay that's good.'" (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 54; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 774) After Ms. Lewinsky left White House employment, she would return to the Oval Office under the guise of visiting Betty Currie, not the President. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 55; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 775)
Moreover, Ms. Lewinsky promised the President that she would always deny the sexual relationship and always protect him. The President would respond "that's good" or similar language of encouragement. (ML 8/20/98 GJ, p. 22; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1078)
So, when the President called Ms. Lewinsky at 2:00 a.m. on December 17 to tell her she was on the witness list, he made sure to remind her of those prior "cover stories." Ms. Lewinsky testified that when the President brought up the misleading stories, she understood that the two would continue their pre-existing pattern of deception.
THE PRESIDENT'S INTENTION
It became clear that the President had no intention of making his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky a public affair. And he would use lies, deceit, and deception to ensure that the truth would not be known.
It is interesting to note that when the grand jury asked the President whether he remembered calling Monica Lewinsky at 2:00 a.m., he responded: "No sir, I don't. But it would ... it is quite possible that that happened. . ." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 115; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 567)
And when he was asked whether he encouraged Monica Lewinsky to continue the cover stories of "coming to see Betty" or "bringing the letters," he answered: "I don't remember exactly what I told her that night." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 117; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 565)
Six days earlier, he had become aware that Paula Jones' lawyers were now able to inquire about other women. Ms. Lewinsky could file a false affidavit, but it might not work. It was absolutely essential that both parties told the same story. He knew that he would lie if asked about Ms. Lewinsky, and he wanted to make certain that she would lie also. That is why the President of the United States called a twenty-four year old woman at 2:00 in the morning.
THE EVIDENCE MOUNTSBut the President had an additional problem. It was not enough that he (and Ms. Lewinsky) simply deny the relationship. The evidence was beginning to accumulate. Because of the emerging evidence, the President found it necessary to re-evaluate his defense. By this time, the evidence was establishing, through records and eyewitness accounts, that the President and Monica Lewinsky were spending a significant amount of time together in the Oval Office complex. It was no longer expedient simply to refer to Ms. Lewinsky as a "groupie", "stalker", "clutch", or "home wrecker" as the White House first attempted to do. The unassailable facts were forcing the President to acknowledge some type of relationship. But at this point, he still had the opportunity to establish a non-sexual explanation for their meetings, since his DNA had not yet been identified on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress.
NEED FOR THE COVER STORY
Therefore, the President needed Monica Lewinsky to go along with the cover story in order to provide an innocent, intimate-free explanation for their frequent meetings. And that innocent explanation came in the form of "document deliveries" and "friendly chats with Betty Currie."
Significantly, when the President was deposed on January 17, 1998, he used the exact same cover stories that had been utilized by Ms. Lewinsky. In doing so, he stayed consistent with any future Lewinsky testimony while still maintaining his defense in the Jones lawsuit.
In the President's deposition, he was asked whether he was ever alone with Monica Lewinsky. He responded: "I don't recall. . . She - it seems to me she brought things to me once or twice on the weekends. In that case, whatever time she would be in there, drop it off, exchange a few words and go, she was there." (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 52-53)
Additionally, when questions were posed regarding Ms. Lewinsky's frequent visits to the Oval Office, the President did not hesitate to mention Betty Currie in his answers, for example:
And my recollection is that on a couple
of occasions after [the pizza party meeting],
she was there [in the oval office] but my
secretary, Betty Currie, was there with her.
(WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 58)
Q. When was the last time you spoke with
A. I'm trying to remember. Probably sometime
before Christmas. She came by to see Betty
sometime before Christmas. And she was there
talking to her, and I stuck my head out, said
hello to her. (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 68)
December 19, 1997
MS. LEWINSKY IS SUBPOENAED
On December 19, 1997, Ms. Lewinsky was subpoenaed to testify in a deposition scheduled for January 23, 1998 in the Jones case. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 128; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 848)(Charts F and G) Extremely distraught, she immediately called the President's closest friend, Vernon Jordan. As noted Ms. Lewinsky testified that the President previously told her to call Betty Currie if she was subpoenaed. She called Mr. Jordan instead because Ms. Currie's brother recently died and she did not want to bother her. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 128-129; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 848, 849)
VERNON JORDAN'S ROLE
Mr. Jordan invited Ms. Lewinsky to his office and she arrived shortly before 5 p.m., still extremely distraught. Around this time, Mr. Jordan called the President and told him Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed. (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 145; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1815)(Exhibit 1) During the meeting with Ms. Lewinsky, which Mr. Jordan characterized as "disturbing" (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, p. 100; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1716), she talked about her infatuation with the President. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, p. 150; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1724) Mr. Jordan decided that he would call a lawyer for her. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, p. 161; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1726)
MR. JORDAN INFORMS THE PRESIDENT
That evening, Mr. Jordan met with the President and relayed his conversation with Ms. Lewinsky. The details are extremely important because the President, in his deposition, did not recall that meeting. Mr. Jordan told the President again that Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed, that he was concerned about her fascination with the President, and that Ms. Lewinsky had asked Mr. Jordan if he thought the President would leave the First Lady. He also asked the President if he had sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, p. 169; H.Doc 105-3316, p. 1727) The President was asked at his deposition:
Q. Did anyone other than your attorneys
ever tell you that Monica Lewinsky
had been served with a subpoena in
A. I don't think so.
Q. Did you ever talk with Monica Lewinsky
about the possibility that she might
be asked to testify in this case?
A. Bruce Lindsey, I think Bruce Lindsey
told me that she was, I think maybe
that's the first person told me she
was. I want to be as accurate as I can.
(WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pgs. 68-69)
In the grand jury, the President first repeated his denial that Mr. Jordan told him Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 39; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 491) Then, when given more specific facts, he admitted that he "knows now" that he spoke with Mr. Jordan about the subpoena on the night of December 19, but his "memory is not clear...." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 41-42; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 493-494) In an attempt to explain away his false deposition testimony, the President testified in the grand jury that he was trying to remember who told him first. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 41; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 492-493) But that was not the question. So his answer was false and misleading. When one considers the nature of the conversation between the President and Mr. Jordan, the suggestion that it would be forgotten defies common sense.
December 28, 1997
December 28, 1997 is a crucial date, because the evidence shows that the President made false and misleading statements to the federal court, the federal grand jury and the Congress of the United States about the events on that date. (Chart J) It is also a date on which he obstructed justice.
THE PRESIDENT'S ACCOUNT
The President testified that it was "possible" that he invited Ms. Lewinsky to the White House for this visit. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 33; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 485) He admitted that he "probably" gave Ms. Lewinsky the most gifts he had ever given her on that date, (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 35; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 487) and that he had given her gifts on other occasions. (WJC 8/6/98 GJ, p. 35)(Chart D) Among the many gifts the President gave Ms. Lewinsky on December 28 was a bear that he said was a symbol of strength. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 176; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 896) Yet only two-and-a-half weeks later, the President forgot that he had given any gifts to Ms. Lewinsky.
As an attorney, the President knew that the law will not tolerate someone who says "I don't recall" when that answer is unreasonable under the circumstances. He also knew that, under those circumstances, his answer in the deposition could not be believed. When asked in the grand jury why he was unable to remember, even though he had given Ms. Lewinsky so many gifts only two-and-a-half weeks before the deposition, the President put forth an obviously contrived explanation.
I think what I meant there was I don't
recall what they were, not that I don't
recall whether I had given them.
(WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 51; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 503)
RESPONSE TO COMMITTEE REQUESTSThe President adopted that same answer in Response No. 42 to the House Judiciary Committee's Requests For Admission. (Exhibit 18) He was not asked in the deposition to identify the gifts. He was simply asked, "Have you ever" given gifts to Ms. Lewinsky. The law does not allow a witness to insert unstated premises or mental reservations into the question to make his answer technically true, if factually false. The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.
The President's answer was false. The evidence also proves that his explanation to the grand jury and to the Committee is also false. The President would have us believe that he was able to analyze questions as they were being asked, and pick up such things as verb tense in an attempt to make his statements at least literally true. But when he was asked a simple, straight-forward question, he did not understand it. Neither his answer in the deposition nor his attempted explanation is reasonable or true.
TESTIMONY CONCERNING GIFTS
The President was asked in the deposition if Monica Lewinsky ever gave him gifts. He responded, "once or twice." (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 77) This is also false testimony calculated to obstruct justice. He answered this question in his Response to the House Judiciary Committee by saying that he receives numerous gifts, and he did not focus on the precise number. (Exhibit 18) The law again does not support the President's position. An answer that baldly understates a numerical fact in response to a specific quantitative inquiry can be deemed technically true but actually false. For example, a witness is testifying falsely if he says he went to the store five times when in fact he had gone fifty, even though technically he had also gone five times. So too, when the President answered once or twice in the face of evidence that Ms. Lewinsky was frequently bringing gifts, he was lying. (Chart C)
CONCEALMENT OF GIFTS
On December 28, one of the most blatant efforts to obstruct justice and conceal evidence occurred. Ms. Lewinsky testified that she discussed with the President the fact that she had been subpoenaed and that the subpoena called for her to produce gifts. She recalled telling the President that the subpoena requested a hat pin, and that caused her concern. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 151-152; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 871-872) The President told her that it "bothered" him, too. (ML 8/20/98 GJ, p. 66; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1122) Ms. Lewinsky then suggested that she take the gifts somewhere, or give them to someone, maybe to Betty. The President answered: "I don't know" or "Let me think about that." (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 152-153; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 872-873) (Chart L) Later that day, Ms. Lewinsky got a call from Ms. Currie, who said: "I understand you have something to give me" or "the President said you have something to give me." (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 154-155; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 874-875) Ms. Currie has a fuzzy memory about this incident, but says that "the best she can remember," Ms Lewinsky called her. (Currie 5/6/98 GJ, p. 105; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 581)
THE CELL PHONE RECORD
There is key evidence that Ms. Currie's fuzzy recollection is wrong. Ms. Lewinsky said that she thought Ms. Currie called from her cell phone. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 154-155) (Chart K, Exhibit 2) Ms. Currie's cell phone record corroborates Ms. Lewinsky and proves conclusively that Ms. Currie called Monica from her cell phone several hours after she had left the White House. Moreover, Ms. Currie herself later testified that Ms. Lewinsky's memory may be better than hers on this point. (BC 5/6/98 GJ, p. 126; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 584) The facts prove that the President directed Ms. Currie to pick up the gifts.
MS. CURRIE'S LATER ACTIONS
That conclusion is buttressed by Ms. Currie's actions. If Ms. Lewinsky had placed the call requesting a gift exchange, Ms. Currie would logically ask the reason for such a transfer. Ms. Lewinsky was giving her a box of gifts from the President yet she did not tell the President of this strange request. She simply took the gifts and placed them under her bed without asking a single question. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 57-58; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 557; BC 5/6/98 GJ, pgs. 105-108, 114; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 581-582)
The President stated in his Response to questions No. 24 and 25 from the House Committee that he was not concerned about the gifts. (Exhibit 18) In fact, he said that he recalled telling Monica that if the Jones lawyers request gifts, she should turn them over. The President testified that he is "not sure" if he knew the subpoena asked for gifts. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 42-43; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 494-495) Would Monica Lewinsky and the President discuss turning over gifts to the Jones lawyers if Ms. Lewinsky had not told him that the subpoena asked for gifts? On the other hand, if he knew the subpoena requested gifts, why would he give Ms. Lewinsky more gifts on December 28? Ms. Lewinsky's testimony reveals the answer. She said that she never questioned "that we were ever going to do anything but keep this private" and that meant to take "whatever appropriate steps needed to be taken" to keep it quiet. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 166; H.Doc. 1055-311, p. 886) The only logical inference is that the gifts -- including the bear symbolizing strength -- were a tacit reminder to Ms. Lewinsky that they would deny the relationship -- even in the face of a federal subpoena.
THE PRESIDENT'S DEPOSITION TESTIMONY
Furthermore, the President, at various times in his deposition, seriously misrepresented the nature of his meeting with Ms. Lewinsky on December 28 in order to obstruct the administration of justice. First, he was asked: "Did she tell you she had been served with a subpoena in this case?" The President answered flatly: "No. I don't know if she had been." (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 68)
He was also asked if he "ever talked to Monica Lewinsky about the possibility of her testifying." "I'm not sure...," he said. He then added that he may have joked to her that the Jones lawyers might subpoena every woman he has ever spoken to, and that "I don't think we ever had more of a conversation than that about it...." (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 70) Not only does Monica Lewinsky directly contradict this testimony, but the President also directly contradicted himself before the grand jury. Speaking of his December 28, 1997 meeting, he said that he "knew by then, of course, that she had gotten a subpoena" and that they had a "conversation about the possibility of her testifying." (WJC 8/17/98 Dep., pgs. 35-36) Remember, he had this conversation about her testimony only two-and-a-half weeks before his deposition. Again, his version is not reasonable.
January 5 - 9, 1998
MS. LEWINSKY SIGNS THE AFFIDAVIT AND GETS A JOB
The President knew that Monica Lewinsky was going to execute a false Affidavit. He was so certain of the content that when she asked if he wanted to see it, he told her no, that he had seen fifteen of them. (ML 8/2/98 Int., p. 3; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1489) He got his information from discussions with Ms. Lewinsky and Vernon Jordan generally about the content of the Affidavit. Moreover, the President had suggested the Affidavit himself and he trusted Mr. Jordan to be certain the mission was accomplished.
ADDITIONAL PRESIDENTIAL ADVICE
In the afternoon of January 5, 1998, Ms. Lewinsky met with her lawyer, Mr. Carter, to discuss the Affidavit.(ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 192; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 912) Her lawyer asked her some hard questions about how she got her job. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p.195; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 915) After the meeting, she called Betty Currie and said that she wanted to speak to the President before she signed anything. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p.195; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 915) Ms. Lewinsky and the President discussed the issue of how she would answer under oath if asked about how she got her job at the Pentagon. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 197; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 917) The President told her: "Well, you could always say that the people in Legislative Affairs got it for you or helped you get it." (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p.197; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 917) That, too, is false and misleading.
VERNON JORDAN'S NEW ROLE
The President was also kept advised as to the contents of the Affidavit by Vernon Jordan. (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 224; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1828) On January 6, 1998, Ms. Lewinsky picked up a draft of the Affidavit from Mr. Carter's office. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 199; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 919) She delivered a copy to Mr. Jordan's office, (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 200; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 920) because she wanted Mr. Jordan to look at the Affidavit in the belief that if Vernon Jordan gave his imprimatur, the President would also approve. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 194-195; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 914, 915)(Chart M) Ms. Lewinsky and Mr. Jordan conferred about the contents and agreed to delete a paragraph inserted by Mr. Carter which might open a line of questions concerning whether she had been alone with the President. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 200; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 920)(Exhibit 3) Mr. Jordan maintained that he had nothing to do with the details of the Affidavit. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 12; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1735) He admits, though, that he spoke with the President after conferring with Ms. Lewinsky about the changes made to her Affidavit. (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 218; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1827)
MS. LEWINSKY SIGNS THE FALSE AFFIDAVIT
The next day, January 7, Monica Lewinsky signed the false Affidavit. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 204-205; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 924-925)(Chart N; Exhibit 12) She showed the executed copy to Mr. Jordan that same day. (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 222; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1828)(Exhibit 4) Mr. Jordan, in turn, notified the President that she signed an affidavit denying a sexual relationship. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 26; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1739)
MS. LEWINSKY GETS THE JOB
On January 8, 1998, Mr. Jordan arranged an interview for Ms. Lewinsky with MacAndrews and Forbes in New York. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 206; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 926) The interview went poorly, so Ms. Lewinsky called Mr. Jordan and informed him. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 206; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 926) Mr. Jordan, who had done nothing to assist Ms. Lewinsky's job search from early November to mid December, then called MacAndrews and Forbes CEO, Ron Perelman, to "make things happen, if they could happen." (VJ 5/5/98 GJ, p. 231; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1829) Mr. Jordan called Ms. Lewinsky back and told her not to worry. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 208-209; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 928-929) That evening, Ms. Lewinsky was called by MacAndrews and Forbes and told that she would be given more interviews the next morning.(ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 209; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 929)
After a series of interviews with MacAndrews and Forbes personnel, she was informally offered a job. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 210; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 930) When Ms. Lewinsky called Mr. Jordan to tell him, he passed the good news on to Betty Currie stating, "Mission Accomplished." (VJ 5/28/98 GJ, p. 39; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1898). Later, Mr. Jordan called the President and told him personally. (VJ 5/28/98 GJ, p. 41; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1899)(Chart P)
THE REASON FOR MR. JORDAN'S UNIQUE BEHAVIOR
After Ms. Lewinsky had spent months looking for a job -- since July according to the President's lawyers -- Vernon Jordan made the critical call to a CEO the day after the false Affidavit was signed. Mr. Perelman testified that Mr. Jordan had never called him before about a job recommendation. (Perelman 4/23/98 Dep., p.11; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3281) Mr. Jordan, on the other hand, said that he called Mr. Perelman to recommend for hiring: 1) former Mayor Dinkins of New York; 2) a very talented attorney from Akin Gump; 3) a Harvard business school graduate; and 4) Monica Lewinsky. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 58-59; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1747) Even if Mr. Perelman's testimony is mistaken, Ms. Lewinsky's qualifications do not compare to those of the individuals previously recommended by Mr. Jordan.
Vernon Jordan was well aware that people with whom Ms. Lewinsky worked at the White House did not like her (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, pgs. 43, 59) and that she did not like her Pentagon job. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, pgs. 43-44; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs 1706, 1707) Mr. Jordan was asked if at "any point during this process you wondered about her qualifications for employment?" He answered: "No, because that was not my judgment to make." (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, p. 44; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1707) Yet, when he called Mr. Perelman the day after she signed the Affidavit, he referred to Ms. Lewinsky as a bright young girl who is "terrific." (Perelman 4/23/98 Dep., p. 10; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3281) Mr. Jordan testified that she had been pressing him for a job and voicing unrealistic expectations concerning positions and salary. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, pgs. 37-38; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1742) Moreover, she narrated a disturbing story about the President leaving the First Lady, and how the President was not spending enough time with her. Yet, none of that gave Mr. Jordan pause in making the recommendation, especially after Monica was subpoenaed. (VJ 3/3/98 GJ, pgs. 156-157; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1725)
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FALSE AFFIDAVIT
Monica Lewinsky's false Affidavit enabled the President, through his attorneys, to assert at his January 17, 1998 deposition " . . . there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form with President Clinton . . . ." (WJC, 1/17/98 Dep., p. 54) When questioned by his own attorney in the deposition, the President stated specifically that paragraph 8 of Ms. Lewinsky's Affidavit was "absolutely true." (WJC, 1/17/98 Dep., p. 204) The President later affirmed the truth of that statement when testifying before the grand jury. (WJC, 8/17/98 GJ, p. 20-21; H.Doc. 105-311, pg. 473) Paragraph 8 of Ms. Lewinsky's Affidavit states:
I have never had a sexual relationship
with the President, he did not propose
that we have a sexual relationship, he
did not offer me employment or other
benefits in exchange for a sexual
relationship, he did not deny me
employment or other benefits for
rejecting a sexual relationship.
Significantly, Ms. Lewinsky reviewed the draft Affidavit on January 6, and signed it on January 7 after deleting a reference to being alone with the President. She showed a copy of the signed Affidavit to Vernon Jordan, who called the President and told him that she had signed it. (VJ, 3/5/98 GJ, pgs. 24-26; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 1728, 1739; VJ, 5/5/98 GJ, p. 222; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1828)
THE RUSH TO FILE THE AFFIDAVIT
For the affidavit to work for the President in precluding questions by the Jones attorneys concerning Ms. Lewinsky, it had to be filed with the Court and provided to the President's attorneys in time for his deposition on January 17. On January 14, the President's lawyers called Ms. Lewinsky's lawyer and left a message, presumably to find out if he had filed the Affidavit with the Court. (Carter 6/18/98 GJ, p. 123; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 423)(Chart O) On January 15, the President's attorneys called her attorney twice. When they finally reached him, they requested a copy of the Affidavit and asked him, "Are we still on time?" (Carter 6/18/98 GJ, p. 123; H.Doc. 105-216, p. 423) Ms. Lewinsky's lawyer faxed a copy on the 15th. (Carter 6/18/98 GJ, p. 123; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 423) The President's counsel was aware of its contents and used it powerfully in the deposition.
Ms. Lewinsky's lawyer called the court in Arkansas twice on January 15 to ensure that the Affidavit could be filed on Saturday, January 17.(Carter 6/18/98 GJ, pgs. 124-125; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 423-424)(Exhibit 5) He finished the Motion to Quash Ms. Lewinsky's deposition in the early morning hours of January 16 and mailed it to the Court with the false Affidavit attached, for Saturday delivery. (Carter 6/18/98 GJ, p. 134; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 426) The President's lawyers left him another message on January 16, saying, "You'll know what it's about." (Carter 6/18/98 GJ, p. 135; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 426) Obviously, the President needed that Affidavit to be filed with the Court to support his plans to mislead Ms. Jones' attorneys in the deposition, and thereby obstruct justice.
THE NEWSWEEK INQUIRY
On January 15, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek called Betty Currie and asked her about Ms. Lewinsky sending gifts to her by courier. (BC 5/6/98 GJ, p. 123; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 584; ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 228; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 948) Ms. Currie then called Ms. Lewinsky and told her about it. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 228-229; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 948-949) The President was out of town, so later, Betty Currie called Ms. Lewinsky back, and asked for a ride to Mr. Jordan's office. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 229; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 949; Currie 5/6/98 GJ, p. 130-131; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 585) Mr. Jordan advised her to speak with Bruce Lindsey and Mike McCurry. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 71) Ms. Currie testified that she spoke immediately to Mr. Lindsey about Isikoff's call. (BC 5/6/98 GJ, p. 127; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 584)
JANUARY 17, 1998
By the time the President concluded his deposition on January 17, he knew that someone was talking about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. He also knew that the only person who had personal knowledge was Ms. Lewinsky herself. The cover stories that he and Ms. Lewinsky created, and that he used himself during the deposition, were now in jeopardy. It became imperative that he not only contact Ms. Lewinsky, but that he obtain corroboration of his account of the relationship from his trusted secretary, Ms. Currie. At around 7 p.m. on the night of the deposition, the President called Ms. Currie and asked that she come in the following day, Sunday. (BC 7/22/98 GJ, p. 154-155; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 701) (Exhibit 6) Ms. Currie could not recall the President ever before calling her that late at home on a Saturday night. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, p. 69; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 559) (Chart S) Sometime in the early morning hours of January 18, 1998, the President learned of a news report concerning Ms. Lewinsky released earlier that day. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 142-143; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 594-595)(Exhibit 14)
THE TAMPERING WITH THE WITNESS, BETTY CURRIE
As the charts indicate, between 11:49 a.m. and 2:55 p.m., there were three phone calls between Mr. Jordan and the President. (Exhibit 7) At about 5 p.m., Ms. Currie met with the President. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, p. 67; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 558) He told her that he had just been deposed and that the attorneys asked several questions about Monica Lewinsky. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, p. 69-70; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 559) He then made a series of statements to Ms. Currie: (Chart T)
(1) I was never really alone with Monica,
(2) You were always there when Monica
was there, right?
(3) Monica came on to me, and I never
touched her, right?
(4) You could see and hear everything,
(5) She wanted to have sex with me, and
I cannot do that.
(BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 70-75; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 559-560; BC
7/22/98 GJ, pgs. 6-7; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 664)
During Betty Currie's grand jury testimony, she was asked whether she believed that the President wished her to agree with the statements:
Q. Would it be fair to say, then -
based on the way he stated
[these five points] and the
demeanor that he was using at
the time that he stated it to
you - that he wished you to
agree with that statement?
A. I can't speak for him, but -
Q. How did you take it? Because
you told us at these [previous]
meetings in the last several
days that that is how you took
Q. And you're nodding you head,
"yes", is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Okay, with regard to the statement
that the President made to you,
"You remember I was never really
alone with Monica, right?" Was that
also a statement that, as far as
you took, that he wished you to
agree with that?
(BC 1/27/98 GJ, p. 74; H.Doc. 105-316, 559)
Though Ms. Currie would later intimate that she did not necessarily feel pressured by the President, she did state that she felt the President was seeking her agreement (or disagreement) with those statements. (BC 7/22/98 GJ, p. 27; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 669)
WAS THIS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE?
The President essentially admitted to making these statements when he knew they were not true. Consequently, he had painted himself into a legal corner. Understanding the seriousness of the President "coaching" Ms. Currie, the argument has been made that those statements to her could not constitute obstruction because she had not been subpoenaed, and the President did not know that she was a potential witness at the time. This argument is refuted by both the law and the facts.
The United States Court of Appeals rejected this argument, and stated,
"[A] person may be convicted of obstructing
justice if he urges or persuades a prospective
witness to give false testimony. Neither must
the target be scheduled to testify at the time
of the offense, nor must he or she actually give testimony at a later time."
United States v. Shannon, 836 F.2d 1125, 1128 (8th Cir. 1988) (citing, e.g., United States v. Friedland, 660 F.2d 919, 931 (3rd Cir. 1981)).
Of course Ms. Currie was a prospective witness, and the President clearly wanted her to be deposed to corroborate him, as his testimony demonstrates. The President claims that he called Ms. Currie into work on a Sunday night only to find out what she knew. But the President knew the truth about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, and if he had told the truth during his deposition the day before, then he would have no reason to worry about what Ms. Currie knew. More importantly, the President's demeanor, Ms. Currie's reaction to his demeanor, and the blatant lies that he suggested clearly prove that the President was not merely interviewing Ms. Currie. Rather, he was looking for corroboration for his false cover-up, and that is why he coached her.
THE SEARCH FOR MS. LEWINSKY
Very soon after his Sunday meeting with Ms. Currie, at 5:12 p.m., the flurry of telephone calls in search of Monica Lewinsky began. (Chart S) Between 5:12 p.m. and 8:28 p.m., Ms. Currie paged Ms. Lewinsky four times. "Kay" is a reference to a code name Ms. Lewinsky and Ms. Currie agreed to when contacting one another. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 216; H.Doc., 105-311, pg. 936) At 11:02 p.m., the President called Ms. Currie at home to ask if she had reached Lewinsky. (BC 7/22/98 GJ, p. 160; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 702)
THE SEARCH CONTINUES
The following morning, January 19, Ms. Currie continued to work diligently on behalf of the President. Between 7:02 a.m. and 8:41 a.m., she paged Ms. Lewinsky another five times. (Chart S)(Exhibit 8) After the 8:41 page, Ms. Currie called the President at 8:43 a.m. and said that she was unable to reach Ms. Lewinsky. (BC 7/22/98 GJ, pgs. 161-162; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 703) One minute later, at 8:44 a.m., she again paged Ms. Lewinsky. This time Ms. Currie's page stated "Family Emergency," apparently in an attempt to alarm Ms. Lewinsky into calling back. That may have been the President's idea, since Ms. Currie had just spoken with him. The President was obviously quite concerned because he called Betty Currie only six minutes later, at 8:50 a.m. Immediately thereafter, at 8:51 a.m., Ms. Currie tried a different tact, sending the message: "Good news." Again, perhaps at the President's suggestion. If bad news does not get her to call, try good news. Ms. Currie said that she was trying to encourage Ms. Lewinsky to call, but there was no sense of "urgency." (BC 7/22/98 GJ, p. 165; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 704) Ms. Currie's recollection of why she was calling was again fuzzy. She said at one point that she believes the President asked her to call Ms. Lewinsky, and she thought she was calling just to tell her that her name came up in the deposition. (BC 7/22/98 GJ, p. 162; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 703) Monica Lewinsky had been subpoenaed; of course her name came up in the deposition. There was obviously another and more important reason the President needed to get in touch with her.
MR. JORDAN AND MS. LEWINSKY'S LAWYERS JOIN THE SEARCH
At 8:56 a.m., the President telephoned Vernon Jordan, who then joined in the activity. Over a course of twenty-four minutes, from 10:29 to 10:53 a.m., Mr. Jordan called the White House three times, paged Ms. Lewinsky, and called Ms. Lewinsky's attorney, Frank Carter. Between 10:53 a.m. and 4:54 p.m., there are continued calls between Mr. Jordan, Ms. Lewinsky's attorney and individuals at the White House.
MS. LEWINSKY REPLACES HER LAWYER
Later that afternoon, at 4:54 p.m., Mr. Jordan called Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter relayed that he had been told he no longer represented Ms. Lewinsky. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 141; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1771) Mr. Jordan then made feverish attempts to reach the President or someone at the White House to tell them the bad news, as represented by the six calls between 4:58 p.m. and 5:22 p.m. Vernon Jordan said that he tried to relay this information to the White House because "[t]he President asked me to get Monica Lewinsky a job," and he thought it was "information that they ought to have." (VJ 6/9/98 GJ, pgs. 45-46; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1968) (Chart Q) Mr. Jordan then called Mr. Carter back at 5:14 p.m. to go over what they had already talked about. (VJ 3/5/98 GJ, p. 146; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1772) Mr. Jordan finally reached the President at 5:56 p.m. and told him that Mr. Carter had been fired. (VJ 6/9/98 GJ, p. 54; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 1970)
THE REASON FOR THE URGENT SEARCH
This activity shows how important it was for the President of the United States to find Monica Lewinsky to learn to whom she was talking. Betty Currie was in charge of contacting Ms. Lewinsky. The President had just completed a deposition in which he provided false and misleading testimony about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. She was a co-conspirator in hiding this relationship from the Jones attorneys, and he was losing control over her. The President never got complete control over her again.
FALSE AND MISLEADING STATEMENTS
TO THE GRAND JURY
Article I addresses the President's perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to the grand jury. Four categories of false grand jury testimony are listed in the Article. Some salient examples of false statements are described below. When judging the statements made and the answers given, it is vital to recall that the President spent literally days preparing his testimony with his lawyer. He and his attorney were fully aware that the testimony would center around his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and his deposition testimony in the Jones case.
GRAND JURY TESTIMONY
On August 17, after six invitations, the President of the United States appeared before a grand jury of his fellow citizens and took an oath to tell the complete truth. The President proceeded to equivocate and engage in legalistic fencing; he also lied. The entire testimony was calculated to mislead and deceive the grand jury and to obstruct its process, and eventually to deceive the American people. He set the tone at the very beginning. In the grand jury a witness can tell the truth, lie or assert his privileges against self incrimination. (Chart Y) President Clinton was given a fourth choice. The President was permitted to read a statement. (Chart Z; WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 8-9)
THE PRESIDENT'S PREPARED STATEMENT
That statement itself is demonstrably false in many particulars. President Clinton claims that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with Ms. Lewinsky "on certain occasions in early 1996 and once in 1997." Notice he did not mention 1995. There was a reason. On three "occasions" in 1995, Ms. Lewinsky said she engaged in sexual contact with the President. Ms. Lewinsky was a twenty-one year old intern at the time.
The President unlawfully attempted to conceal his three visits alone with Ms. Lewinsky in 1995 during which they engaged in sexual conduct. (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 27-28; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 747-748; ML 8/6/98 GJ, Ex. 7; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1251; Chart A) Under Judge Wright's ruling, this evidence was relevant and material to Paula Jones' sexual harassment claims. (Order, Judge Susan Webber Wright, December 11, 1997, p. 3)
The President specifically and unequivocally states, "[The encounters] did not constitute sexual relations as I understood that term to be defined at my January 17, 1998 deposition." That assertion is patently false. It is directly contradicted by the corroborated testimony of Monica Lewinsky. (See eg: ML 8/20/98 GJ, pgs. 31-32; H.Doc. 311, p. 1174; ML 8/26/98 Dep., p. 25, 30; H.Doc. 311, pgs. 1357, 1358)
Evidence indicates that the President and Ms. Lewinsky engaged in "sexual relations" as the President understood the term to be defined at his deposition and as any reasonable person would have understood the term to have been defined.
Contrary to his statement under oath, the President's conduct during the 1995 visits and numerous additional visits did constitute "sexual relations" as he understood the term to be defined at his deposition. Before the grand jury, the President admitted that directly touching or kissing another person's breast, or directly touching another person's genitalia with the intent to arouse, would be "sexual relations" as the term was defined. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 94-95; H.Doc 105-311, pgs. 546-547) However, the President maintained that he did not engage in such conduct. (Id.) These statements are contradicted by Ms. Lewinsky's testimony and the testimony of numerous individuals with whom she contemporaneously shared the details of her encounters with the President. Moreover, the theory that Ms. Lewinsky repeated and unilaterally performed acts on the President while he tailored his conduct to fit a contorted definition of "sexual relations" which he had not contemplated at the time of the acts, defies common sense.
Moreover, the President had not even formed the contorted interpretation of "sexual relations" which he asserted in the grand jury until after his deposition had concluded. This is demonstrated by the substantial evidence revealing the President's state of mind during his deposition testimony. First, the President continuously denied at his deposition any fact that would cause the Jones lawyers to believe that he and Ms. Lewinsky had any type of improper relationship, including a denial that they had a sexual affair, (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 78) not recalling if they were ever alone, (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pgs. 52-53, 59) and not recalling whether Ms. Lewinsky had ever given him gifts. (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pg. 75) Second, the President testified that Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit denying a sexual relationship was "absolutely true" when, even by his current reading of the definition, it is absolutely false. (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 204) Third, the White House produced a document entitled "January 24, 1998 Talking Points," stating flatly that the President's definition of "sexual relations" included oral sex. (Chart W) Fourth, the President made statements to staff members soon after the deposition, saying that he did not have sexual relations, including oral sex, with Mr. Lewinsky, (Podesta 6/16/98 GJ, pg. 92; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3311) and that she threatened to tell people she and the President had an affair when he rebuffed her sexual advances. (Blumenthal 6/4/98 GJ, p. 59; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 185) Fifth, President Clinton's Answer filed in Federal District Court in response to Paula Jones' First Amended Complaint states unequivocally that "President Clinton denies that he engaged in any improper conduct with respect to plaintiff or any other woman." (Answer of Defendant William Jefferson Clinton, December 17, 1997, p. 8, para. 39) Sixth, in President Clinton's sworn Answers to Interrogatories Numbers 10 and 11, as amended, he flatly denied that he had sexual relations with any federal employee. The President filed this Answer prior to his deposition. Finally, as described below, the President sat silently while his attorney, referring to Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit, represented to the court that there was no sex of any kind or in any manner between the President and Ms. Lewinsky. (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pg. 54)
This circumstantial evidence reveals the President's state of mind at the time of the deposition: his concern was not in technically or legally accurate answers, but in categorically denying anything improper. His grand jury testimony about his state of mind during the deposition is false.
REASONS FOR THE FALSE TESTIMONY
The President did not lie to the grand jury to protect himself from embarrassment, as he could no longer deny the affair. Before his grand jury testimony, the President's semen had been identified by laboratory test on Ms. Lewinsky's dress, and during his testimony, he admitted an "inappropriate intimate relationship" with Ms. Lewinsky, In fact, when he testified before the grand jury, he was only hours away from admitting the affair on national television. Embarrassment was inevitable. But, if he truthfully admitted the details of his encounters with Ms. Lewinsky to the grand jury, he would be acknowledging that he lied under oath during his deposition when he claimed that he did not engage in sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky. (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pgs. 78, 109, 204) Instead, he chose to lie, not to protect his family or the dignity of his office, but to protect himself from criminal liability for his perjury in the Jones case.
ADDITIONAL FALSITY IN THE PREPARED STATEMENT
The President's statement continued, "I regret that what began as a friendship came to include this conduct[.]" (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 9; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 461) The truth is much more troubling. As Ms. Lewinsky testified, her relationship with the President began with flirting, including Ms. Lewinsky showing the President her underwear. (ML 7/30/98 Int., p. 5; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1431) As Ms. Lewinsky candidly admitted, she was surprised that the President remembered her name after their first two sexual encounters. (ML 8/26/98 Dep., p. 25; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1295)
REASON FOR THE FALSITY
The President's prepared statement, fraught with untruths, was not an answer the President delivered extemporaneously to a particular question. It was carefully drafted testimony which the President read and relied upon throughout his deposition. The President attempted to use the statement to foreclose questioning on an incriminating topic on nineteen separate occasions. Yet, this prepared testimony, which along with other testimony provides the basis for Article I, Item 1, actually contradicts his sworn deposition testimony.
CONTRARY DEPOSITION TESTIMONY
In this statement, the President admits that he and Ms. Lewinsky were alone on a number of occasions. He refused to make this admission in his deposition in the Jones case. During the deposition, the following exchange occurred:
Q Mr. President, before the break, we
were talking about Monica Lewinsky.
At any time were you and Monica
Lewinsky together alone in the Oval
A I don't recall, but as I said, when
she worked in the legislative affairs
office, they always had somebody
there on the weekends. I typically
work some on the weekends. Sometimes
they'd bring me things on the weekends.
She - it seems to me she brought
things to me once or twice on the
weekends. In that case, whatever time
she would be in there, drop if off,
exchange a few words and go, she was
there. I don't have any specific
recollections of what the issues were,
what was going on, but when the Congress
is there, we're working all the time,
and typically I would do some work on
One of the days of the weekends in the
Q So I understand, your testimony is that
it was possible, then, that you were
alone with her, but you have no specific
recollection of that ever happening?
A Yes, that's correct. It's possible
that she, in, while she was working
there, brought something to me and
that at the time she brought it to me,
she was the only person there. That's
(WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pgs. 52-53)
After telling this verbose lie under oath, the President was
given an opportunity to correct himself. This exchange followed:
Q At any time have you and Monica
Lewinsky ever been alone together in
any room in the White House?
A I think I testified to that earlier.
I think that there is a, it is - I
have no specific recollection, but
it seems to me that she was on duty
on a couple of occasions working for
the legislative affairs office and
brought me some things to sign,
something on the weekend. That's -
I have a general memory of that.
Q Do you remember anything that was
said in any of those meetings?
A No. You know, we just had conversation,
I don't remember.
(WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pgs. 52-53)
Before the grand jury, the President maintained that he testified truthfully at his deposition, a lie which provides, in part, the basis for Article I, Item 2. He stated, "My goal in this deposition was to be truthful, but not particularly helpful ... I was determined to walk through the mind field of this deposition without violating the law, and I believe I did." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 80; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 532) But contrary to his deposition testimony, he certainly was alone with Ms. Lewinsky when she was not delivering papers, as the President conceded in his prepared grand jury statement.
In other words, the President's assertion before the grand jury that he was alone with Ms. Lewinsky, but that he testified truthfully in his deposition, in inconsistent. Yet, to this day, both the President and his attorneys have insisted that he did not lie at his deposition and that he did not lie when he swore under oath that he did not lie at his deposition.
In addition to his lie about not recalling being alone with Ms. Lewinsky, the President told numerous other lies at his deposition. All of those lies are incorporated in Article I, Item 2.
TESTIMONY CONCERNING THE FALSE AFFIDAVIT
Article I, Item 3 charges the President with providing perjurious, false and misleading testimony before a federal grand jury concerning false and misleading statements his attorney Robert Bennett made to Judge Wright at the President's deposition. In one statement, while objecting to questions regarding Ms. Lewinsky, Mr. Bennett misled the Court, perhaps knowingly, stating, "Counsel [for Ms. Jones] is fully aware that Ms. Lewinsky has filed, has an affidavit which they are in possession of saying that there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton[.]" (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., pgs. 53-54) When Judge Wright interrupted Mr. Bennett and expressed her concern that he might be coaching the President, Mr. Bennett responded, "In preparation of the witness for this deposition, the witness is fully aware of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit, so I have not told him a single thing he doesn't know[.]" (WJC 1/17/98 Dep., p. 54) (Emphasis added)
When asked before the grand jury about his statement to Judge Wright, the President testified, "I'm not even sure I paid attention to what he was saying." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 24; H.Doc. 105-3131, p. 476) He added, "I didn't pay much attention to this conversation, which is why, when you started asking be about this, I asked to see the deposition." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 24;; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 477) Finally, "I don't believe I ever even focused on what Mr. Bennett said in the exact words he did until I started reading this transcript carefully for this hearing. That moment, the whole argument just passed my by." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 29; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 481)
This grand jury testimony defies common sense. During his deposition testimony, the President admittedly misled Ms. Jones' attorneys about his affair with Ms. Lewinsky, which continued while Ms. Jones' lawsuit was pending, because he did not want the truth to be known. Of course, when Ms. Lewinsky's name is mentioned during the deposition, particularly in connection with sex, the President is going to listen. Any doubts as to whether he listened to Mr. Bennett's representations are eliminated by watching the videotape of the President's deposition. The videotape shows the President looking directly at Mr. Bennett, paying close attention to his argument to Judge Wright.
FALSE TESTIMONY CONCERNING OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
Article I, Item 4 concerns the President's grand jury perjury regarding his efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and his efforts to impede discovery in the Jones v. Clinton lawsuit. These lies are perhaps the most troubling, as the President used them in an attempt to conceal his criminal actions and the abuse of his office.
For example, the President testified before the grand jury that he recalled telling Ms. Lewinsky that if Ms. Jones' lawyers requested the gifts exchanged between Ms. Lewinsky and the President, she should provide them. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 43; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 495) He stated, "And I told her that if they asked her for gifts, she'd have to give them whatever she had, that that's what the law was." (Id.) This testimony is false, as demonstrated by both Ms. Lewinsky's testimony and common sense.
Ms. Lewinsky testified that on December 28, 1997, she discussed with the President the subpoena's request for her to produce gifts, including a hat pin. She told the President that it concerned her, (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 151; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 871) and he said that it "bothered" him too. (ML 8/20/98 GJ, p. 66; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 1122) Ms. Lewinsky then suggested that she give the gifts to someone, maybe to Betty. But rather than instructing her to turn the gifts over to Ms. Jones' attorneys, the President replied, "I don't know" or "Let me think about that." (ML 8/6/98 GJ, p. 152; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 872) Several hours later, Ms. Currie called Ms. Lewinsky on her cellular phone and said, "I understand you have something to give me" or "the President said you have something to give me." (ML 8/6/98 GJ, pgs. 154-155; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 874-875)
Although Ms. Currie agrees that she picked up the gifts from Ms. Lewinsky, Ms. Currie testified that "the best" she remembers is that Ms. Lewinsky called her. (BC 5/6/98 GJ, p. 105; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 581) She later conceded that Ms. Lewinsky's memory may be better than hers on this point. (BC 5/6/98 GJ, p. 126; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 584) A telephone record corroborates Ms. Lewinsky, revealing that Ms. Currie did call her from her cellular phone several hours after Ms. Lewinsky's meeting with the president. The only logical reason Ms. Currie called Ms. Lewinsky to retrieve gifts from the President is that the President told her to do so. He would not have given this instruction if he wished the gifts to be given to Ms. Jones' attorneys.
TESTIMONY CONCERNING MS. CURRIE
The President again testified falsely when he told the grand jury that he was simply trying to "refresh" his recollection when he made a series of statements to Ms. Currie the day after his deposition. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 131; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 583) Ms. Currie testified that she met with the President at about 5:00 P.M. on January 18, 1998, and he proceeded to make these statements to her:
(1) I was never really alone with Monica, right?
(2) You were always there when Monica was
(3) Monica came on to me, and I never touched
(4) You could see and hear everything, right?
(5) She wanted to have sex with me, and I
cannot do that.
(BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 70-75; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 559-560; BC
7/22/98 GJ, pgs. 6-7; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 664)
Ms. Currie testified that these were more like statements than questions, and that, as far as she understood, the President wanted her to agree with the statements. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, p. 74; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 559)
The President was asked specifically about these statements before the grand jury. He did not deny them, but said that he was "trying to refresh [his] memory about what the facts were." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 131; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 583) He added that he wanted to "know what Betty's memory was about what she heard," (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 54; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 506) and that he was "trying to get as much information as quickly as [he] could." (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 56; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 508) Logic demonstrates that the President's explanation is contrived and false.
A person does not refresh his recollection by firing declarative sentences dressed up as leading questions to his secretary. If the President was seeking information, he would have asked Ms. Currie what she recalled. Additionally, a person does not refresh his recollection by asking questions concerning factual scenarios of which the listener was unaware, or worse, of which the declarant and the listener knew were false. How would Ms. Currie know if she was always there when Ms. Lewinsky was there? Ms. Currie, in fact, acknowledged during her grand jury testimony that Ms. Lewinsky could have visited the President at the White House when Ms. Currie was not there. (BC 7/22/98 GJ, pgs. 65-66; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 679) Ms. Currie also testified that there were several occasions when the President and Ms. Lewinsky were in the Oval Office or study area without anyone else present. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 32-33, 36-38; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 552-553)
More importantly, the President admitted in his statement to the grand jury that he was alone with Ms. Lewinsky on several occasions. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 9-10; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 460-461) Thus, by his own admission, his statement to Ms. Currie about never being alone with Ms. Lewinsky was false. And if they were alone together, Ms. Currie certainly could not say whether the President touched Ms. Lewinsky or not.
The statement about whether Ms. Currie could see and hear everything is also refuted by the President's own grand jury testimony. During his "intimate" encounters with Ms. Lewinsky, he ensured everyone, including Ms. Currie, was excluded. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 53; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 505) Why would someone refresh his recollection by making a false statement of fact to a subordinate? The answer is obvious - he would not.
Lastly, the President stated in the grand jury that he was "downloading" information in a "hurry," apparently explaining that he made these statements because he did not have time to listen to answers to open-ended questions. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 56; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 508) But, if he was in such a hurry, why did the President not ask Ms. Currie to refresh his recollection when he spoke with her on the telephone the previous evening? He also has no adequate explanation as to why he could not spend an extra five or 10 minutes with Ms. Currie on January 18 to get her version of the events. In fact, Ms. Currie testified that she first met the President on January 18 while he was on the White House putting green, and he told her to go into the office and he would be in in a few minutes. (BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 67-70; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 558-559) And if he was in such a hurry, why did he repeat these statements to Ms. Currie a few days later? (BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 80-81; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 560-561) The reason for these statements had nothing to do with time constraints or refreshing recollection; he had just finished lying during the Jones deposition about these issues, and he needed corroboration from his secretary.
TESTIMONY ABOUT INFLUENCING AIDES
Not only did the President lie about his attempts to influence Ms. Currie's testimony, but he lied about his attempts to influence the testimony of some of his top aides. Among the President's lies to his aides, described in detail later in this brief, were that Ms. Lewinsky did not perform oral sex on him, and that Ms. Lewinsky stalked him while he rejected her sexual demands. These lies were then disseminated to the media and attributed to White House sources. They were also disseminated to the grand jury.
When the president was asked about these lies before the grand jury, he testified:
And so I said to them things that were
true about this relationship. That I
used - in the language I used, I said,
there's nothing going on between us.
That was true. I said, I have not had
sex with her as I defined it. That was
true. And did I hope that I never would
have to be here on this day giving this
testimony? Of course.
But I also didn't want to do anything to
complicate this matter further. So I
said things that were true. They may
have been misleading, and if they were
I have to take responsibility for it,
and I'm sorry.
(WJC 8/17/98 GJ, p. 106; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 558)
To accept this grand jury testimony as truth, one must believe that many of the President's top aides engaged in a concerted effort to lie to the grand jury in order to incriminate him at the risk of subjecting themselves to a perjury indictment. We suggest that it is illustrative of the President's character that he never felt any compunction in exposing others to false testimony charges, so long as he could conceal his own perjuries. Simply put, such a conspiracy did not exist.
The above are merely highlights of the President's grand jury perjury, and there are numerous additional examples. In order to keep these lies in perspective, three facts must be remembered. First, before the grand jury, the President was not lying to cover up an affair and protect himself from embarrassment, as concealing the affair was now impossible. Second, the President could no longer argue that the facts surrounding his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky were somehow irrelevant or immaterial, as the Office of Independent Counsel and the grand jury had mandates to explore them. Third, he cannot claim to have been surprised or unprepared for questions about Ms. Lewinsky before the grand jury, as he spent days with his lawyer, preparing responses to such questions.
THE PRESIDENT'S METHOD
Again, the President carefully crafted his statements to give the appearance of being candid, when actually his intent was the opposite. In addition, throughout the testimony, whenever the President was asked a specific question that could not be answered directly without either admitting the truth or giving an easily provable false answer, he said, "I rely on my statement." 19 times he relied on this false and misleading statement; nineteen times, then, he repeated those lies in "answering" questions propounded to him. (See eg. WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pg. 139; H.Doc. 105-311, p. 591)
THE HOUSE COMMITTEE'S REQUEST
In an effort to avoid unnecessary work and to bring its inquiry to an expeditious end, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives submitted to the President 81 requests to admit or deny specific facts relevant to this investigation. (Exhibit 18) Although, for the most part, the questions could have been answered with a simple "admit" or "deny," the President elected to follow the pattern of selective memory, reference to other testimony, blatant untruths, artful distortions, outright lies, and half truths. When he did answer, he engaged in legalistic hair-splitting in an obvious attempt to skirt the whole truth and to deceive and obstruct the due proceedings of the Committee.
THE PRESIDENT'S REPEATS HIS FALSITIES
Thus, on at least 23 questions, the President professed a lack of memory. This from a man who is renowned for his remarkable memory, for his amazing ability to recall details.
In at least 15 answers, the President merely referred to "White House Records." He also referred to his own prior testimony and that of others. He answered several of the requests by merely restating the same deceptive answers that he gave to the grand jury. We will point out several false statements in this Brief.
In addition, the half-truths, legalistic parsings, evasive and misleading answers were obviously calculated to obstruct the efforts of the House Committee. They had the effect of seriously hampering its ability to inquire and to ascertain the truth. The President has, therefore, added obstruction of an inquiry and an investigation before the Legislative Branch to his obstructions of justice before the Judicial Branch of our constitutional system of government.
THE EARLY ATTACK ON MS. LEWINSKY
After his deposition, the power and prestige of the Office of President was marshaled to destroy the character and reputation of Monica Lewinsky, a young woman that had been ill- used by the President. As soon as her name surfaced, the campaign began to muzzle any possible testimony, and to attack the credibility of witnesses, in a concerted effort to obstruct the due administration of justice in a lawsuit filed by one female citizen of Arkansas. It almost worked.
When the President testified at his deposition that he had no sexual relations, sexual affair or the like with Monica Lewinsky, he felt secure. Monica Lewinsky, the only other witness was on board. She had furnished a false affidavit also denying everything. Later, when he realized from the January 18, 1998, Drudge Report that there were taped conversations between Ms. Lewinsky and Linda Tripp, he had to develop a new story, and he did. In addition, he recounted that story to White House aides who passed it on to the grand jury in an effort to obstruct that tribunal too.
On Wednesday, January 21, 1998, The Washington Post published a story entitled "Clinton Accused of Urging Aide to Lie; Starr Probes Whether President Told Woman to Deny Alleged Affair to Jones' Lawyers." The White House learned the substance of the Post story on the evening of January 20, 1998.
MR. BENNETT'S REMARK
After the President learned of the existence of the story, he made a series of telephone calls.
At 12:08 a.m. he called his attorney, Mr. Bennett, and they had a conversation. The next morning, Mr. Bennett was quoted in the Washington Post stating:
The President adamantly denies he ever had a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and she has
confirmed the truth of that." He added,
"This story seems ridiculous and I frankly
smell a rat.
After that conversation, the President had a half hour conversation with White House counsel, Bruce Lindsey.
At 1:16 a.m., the President called Betty Currie and spoke to her for 20 minutes.
He then called Bruce Lindsey again.
At 6:30 a.m. the President called Vernon Jordan.
After that, the President again conversed with Bruce Lindsey.
This flurry of activity was a prelude to the stories which the President would soon inflict upon top White House aides and advisors.
THE PRESIDENT'S STATEMENTS TO STAFF
On the morning of January 21, 1998, the President met with White House Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles, and his two deputies, John Podesta and Sylvia Matthews.
Erskine Bowles recalled entering the President's office at 9:00 a.m. that morning. He then recounts the President's immediate words as he and two others entered the Oval Office:
And he looked up at us and he said the
same thing he said to the American people.
He said, "I want you to know I did not have
sexual relationships with this woman,
Monica Lewinsky. I did not ask anybody
to lie. And when the facts come out, you'll
(Bowles, 4/2/98 GJ, p. 84; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 239)
After the President made that blanket denial, Mr. Bowles
I said, "Mr. President, I don't know what
the facts are. I don't know if they're
good, bad, or indifferent. But whatever
they are, you ought to get them out. And
you ought to get them out right now."
(Bowles, 4/2/98 GJ, p. 84; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 239)
When counsel asked whether the President responded
to Bowles' suggestion that he tell the truth, Bowles
I don't think he made any response, but
he didn't disagree with me.
(Bowles, 4/2/98 GJ, p. 84; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 239)
JANUARY 21, 1998
Deputy Chief John Podesta also recalled a meeting
with the President on the morning of January 21, 1998.
He testified before the grand jury as to what
occurred in the Oval Office that morning:
A. And we started off meeting - we didn't -
I don't think we said anything. And I
think the President directed this
specifically to Mr. Bowles. He said,
"Erskine, I want you to know that this
story is not true."
Q. What else did he say?
A. He said that - that he had not had a sexual relationship with her, and that he never
asked anybody to lie.
(Podesta, 6/16/98 GJ, p. 85; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3310)
JANUARY 23, 1998
Two days later, on January 23, 1998, Mr. Podesta had another
discussion with the President:
I asked him how he was doing, and he said he
was working on this draft and he said to me
that he never had sex with her, and that -
and that he never asked - you know, he repeated
the denial, but he was extremely explicit in
saying he never had sex with her.
Then Podesta testified as follows:
Q. Okay. Not explicit, in the sense the
he got more specific than sex, than
the word "sex."
A. Yes, he was more specific than that.
Q. Okay, share that with us.
A. Well, I think he said - he said that -
there was some spate. Of, you know,
what sex acts were counted, and he
said that he had never
had sex with her in any way whatsoever -
A. - That they had not had oral sex.
(Podesta, 6/16/98 GJ, p. 92; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3311)(Exhibit V)
Later in the day on January 21, 1998, the President called Sidney Blumenthal to his office. It is interesting to note how the President's lies become more elaborate and pronounced when he has time to concoct his newest line of defense. When the President spoke to Mr. Bowles and Mr. Podesta, he simply denied the story. But, by the time he spoke to Mr. Blumenthal, the President has added three new angles to his defense strategy: (1) he now portrays Monica Lewinsky as the aggressor; (2) he launches an attack on her reputation by portraying her as a "stalker"; and (3) he presents himself as the innocent victim being attacked by the forces of evil.
Note well this recollection by Mr. Blumenthal in his June 4, 1998 testimony: (Chart U)
And it was at this point that he
gave his account of what had happened
to me and he said that Monica - and it
came very fast. He said, "Monica
Lewinsky came at me and made a sexual
demand on me." He rebuffed her. He
said, "I've gone down that road before,
I've caused pain for a lot of people
and I'm not going to do that again."
She threatened him. She said
that she would tell people they'd
had an affair, that she was known
as the stalker among her peers, and
that she hated it and if she had an
affair or said she had an affair
then she wouldn't be the stalker
(Blumenthal, 6/4/98 GJ, p. 49; H. Doc. 105-316, p. 185)
And then consider what the President told Mr. Blumenthal
And he said, "I feel like a
character in a novel. I feel like
somebody who is surrounded by an
oppressive force that is creating
a lie about me and I can't get the
truth out. I feel like the
character in the novel Darkness at
And I said to him, "When this
happened with Monica Lewinsky, were
you alone?" He said, "Well, I was
within eyesight or earshot of someone."
(Blumenthal, 6/4/98 GJ, p. 50; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 185)
At one point, Mr. Blumenthal was asked by the grand jury to
describe the President's manner and demeanor during the exchange.
Q. In response to my question how
you responded to the President's
story about a threat or discussion
about a threat from Ms. Lewinsky,
you mentioned you didn't recall
specifically. Do you recall
generally the nature of your
response to the President?
A. It was generally sympathetic to
the President. And I certainly
believed his story. It was a
very heartfelt story, he was
pouring out his heart, and I
(Blumenthal, 6/25/98 GJ, pgs. 16-17; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 192-193)
When Betty Currie testified before the grand jury, she could not recall whether she had another one-on-one discussion with the President on Tuesday, January 20, or Wednesday, January 21. But she did state that on one of those days, the President summoned her back to his office. At that time, the President recapped their now-infamous Sunday afternoon post-deposition discussion in the Oval Office. It was at that meeting that the President made a series of statements to Ms. Currie, to some of which she could not possibly have known the answers. (e.g. "Monica came on to me and I never touched her, right?")(BC 1/27/98 GJ, pgs. 70-75; H.Doc. 105-316, pgs. 559-560; BC 7/22/98 GJ, pgs. 6-7; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 664)
When he spoke to her on January 20 or 21, he spoke in the same tone and demeanor that he used in his January 18 Sunday session.
Ms. Currie stated that the President may have mentioned that she might be asked about Monica Lewinsky. (BC, 1/24/98 Int., p. 8; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 536)
MOTIVE FOR LIES TO STAFF
It is abundantly clear that the President's assertions to staff were designed for dissemination to the American people. But it is more important to understand that the President intended his aides to relate that false story to investigators and grand jurors alike. We know that this is true for the following reasons: the Special Division had recently appointed the Office of Independent Counsel to investigate the Monica Lewinsky matter; the President realized that Jones' attorneys and investigators were investigating this matter; the Washington Post journalists and investigators were exposing the details of the Lewinsky affair; and, an investigation relating to perjury charges based on Presidential activities in the Oval Office would certainly lead to interviews with West Wing employees and high level staffers. Because the President would not appear before the grand jury, his version of events would be supplied by those staffers to whom he had lied. The President actually acknowledged that he knew his aides might be called before the grand jury. (WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 105-109; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 557-557)
In addition, Mr. Podesta testified that he knew that he was likely to be a witness in the ongoing grand jury criminal investigation. He said that he was "sensitive about not exchanging information because I knew I was a potential witness." (Podesta 6/23/98 GJ, p. 79; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3332) He also recalled that the President volunteered to provide information about Ms. Lewinsky to him even though Mr. Podesta had not asked for these details. (Podesta 6/23/98 GJ, p. 79; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 3332)
In other words, the President's lies and deceptions to his White House aides, coupled with his steadfast refusal to testify had the effect of presenting a false account of events to investigators and grand jurors. The President's aides believed the President when he told them his contrived account. The aides' eventual testimony provided the President's calculated falsehoods to the grand jury which, in turn, gave the jurors an inaccurate and misleading set of facts upon which to base any decisions.
WIN, WIN, WIN
President Clinton also implemented a win-at-all-costs strategy calculated to obstruct the administration of justice in the Jones case and in the grand jury. This is demonstrated in testimony presented by Richard "Dick" Morris to the federal grand jury.
Mr. Morris, a former presidential advisor, testified that on January 21, 1998, he met President Clinton and they discussed the turbulent events of the day. The President again denied the accusations against him. After further discussions, they decided to have an overnight poll taken to determine if the American people would forgive the President for adultery, perjury, and obstruction of justice. When Mr. Morris received the results, he called the President:
And I said, "They're just too
shocked by this. It's just too new,
it's too raw." And I said, "And the
problem is they're willing to forgive
you for adultery, but not for perjury
or obstruction of justice or the
various other things."
(Morris 8/18/98 GJ, p. 28; H.Doc. 105-316, p. 2929)
Morris recalls the following exchange:
Morris: And I said, "They're just
not ready for it." meaning
WJC Well, we just have to win,
(Morris 8/18/98 GJ, p. 30; H.Doc. 105-216, p. 2930)
The President, of course, cannot recall this statement. (Presidential Responses to Questions, Numbers 69, 70, and 71)
THE PLOT TO DISCREDIT MONICA LEWINSKY
In order to "win," it was necessary to convince the public, and hopefully the grand jurors who read the newspapers, that Monica Lewinsky was unworthy of belief. If the account given by Ms. Lewinsky to Linda Tripp was believed, then there would emerge a tawdry affair in and near the Oval Office. Moreover, the President's own perjury and that of Monica Lewinsky would surface. To do this, the President employed the full power and credibility of the White House and its press corps to destroy the witness. Thus on January 29, 1998:
Inside the White House, the debate goes on
about the best way to destroy That Woman, as
President Bill Clinton called Monica Lewinsky.
Should they paint her as a friendly fantasist
or a malicious stalker? (The Plain Dealer)
"That poor child has serious emotional problems,"
Rep. Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York, said
Tuesday night before the State of the Union.
"She's fantasizing. And I haven't heard that she
played with a full deck in her other experiences."
(The Plain Dealer)
From Gene Lyons, an Arkansas columnist on January 30:
But it's also very easy to take a mirror's eye view
of this thing, look at this thing from a completely
different direction and take the same evidence and
posit a totally innocent relationship in which the
president was, in a sense, the victim of someone
rather like the woman who followed David Letterman
around. (NBC News)
From another "source" on February 1:
Monica had become known at the White House, says
one source, as "the stalker."
And on February 4:
The media have reported that sources describe
Lewinsky as "infatuated" with the president, "star
struck" and even "a stalker." (Buffalo News)
Finally, on January 31:
One White House aide called reporters to offer
information about Monica Lewinsky's past, her
weight problems and what the aide said was her
nickname - "The Stalker."
Junior staff members, speaking on the condition
that they not be identified, said she was known
as a flirt, wore her skirts too short, and was
"A little bit weird."
Little by little, ever since allegations of an
affair between U.S. President Bill Clinton and
Lewinsky surfaced 10 days ago, White House sources
have waged a behind-the-scenes campaign to portray
her as an untrustworthy climber obsessed with
Just hours after the story broke, one White
House source made unsolicited calls offering
that Lewinsky was the "troubled" product of
divorced parents and may have been following
the footsteps of her mother, who wrote a
tell-all book about the private lives of three
famous opera singers.
One story had Lewinsky following former Clinton
aide George Stephanopoulos to Starbucks. After
observing what kind of coffee he ordered, she
showed up the next day at his secretary's desk
with a cup of the same coffee to "surprise him."
This sounds familiar because it is the exact tactic used to destroy the reputation and credibility of Paula Jones. The difference is that these false rumors were emanating from the White House, the bastion of the free world, to protect one man from being forced to answer for his deportment in the highest office in the land.
On August 17, 1998, the President testified before the grand jury. He then was specifically asked whether he knew that his aides (Blumenthal, Bowles, Podesta and Currie) were likely to be called before the grand jury.
Q It may have been misleading, sir,
and you knew though, after January
21st when the Post article broke
and said that Judge Starr was
looking into this, you knew that
they might be witnesses. You knew
that they might be called into a
grand jury, didn't you?
WJC That's right. I think I was quite
careful what I said after that. I
may have said something to all these
people to that effect, but I'll also
- whenever anybody asked me any
details, I said, look, I don't want
you to be a witness or I turn you
into a witness or give you information
that would get you in trouble. I
just wouldn't talk. I, by and large,
didn't talk to people about it.
Q If all of these people - let's leave
Mrs. Currie for a minute. Vernon
Jordan, Sid Blumenthal, John Podesta,
Harold Ickes, Erskine Bowles, Harry
Thomasson, after the story broke,
after Judge Starr's involvement was
known on January 21st, have said that
you denied a sexual relationship with
them. Are you denying that?
Q And you've told us that you --
WJC I'm just telling you what I meant
by it. I told you what I meant
by it when they started this
Q You've told us now that you were
being careful, but that it might
have been misleading. Is that
WJC It might have been *** So, what
I was trying to do was to give
them something they could - that
would be true, even if misleading
in the context of this deposition,
and keep them out of trouble, and
let's deal - and deal with what I
thought was the almost ludicrous
suggestion that I had urged someone
to lie or tried to suborn perjury,
in other words.
(WJC 8/17/98 GJ, pgs. 106-108; H.Doc. 105-311, pgs. 558-560)
As the President testified before the grand jury, he maintained that he was being truthful with his aides. (Exhibit 20) He stated that when he spoke to them, he was very careful with his wording. The President stated that he wanted his statement regarding "sexual relations" to be literally true because he was only referring to intercourse.
However, recall that John Podesta said that the President denied sex "in any way whatsoever" "including oral sex." The President told Mr. Podesta, Mr. Bowles, Ms. Williams, and Harold Ickes that he did not have a "sexual relationship" with that woman.
Importantly, seven days after the President's grand jury appearance, the White House issued a document entitled, "Talking Points January 24, 1998." (Chart W; Exhibit 16) This "Talking Points" document outlines proposed questions that the President may be asked. It also outlines suggested answers to those questions. The "Talking Points" purport to state the President's view of sexual relations and his view of the relationship with Monica Lewinsky. (Exhibit 17)
The "Talking Points" state as follows:
Q. What acts does the President believe
constitute a sexual relationship?
A. I can't believe we're on national
television discussing this. I am
not about to engage in an "act-by-act"
discussion of what constitutes a
Q. Well, for example, Ms. Lewinsky is
on tape indicating that the President
does not believe oral sex is adultery.
Would oral sex, to the President,
constitute a sexual relationship?
A. Of course it would.
The President's own talking points refute the President's "literal truth" argument.
EFFECT OF THE PRESIDENT'S CONDUCT
Some "experts" have questioned whether the President's deportment affects his office, the government of the United States or the dignity and honor of the country.
Our founders decided in the Constitutional Convention that one of the duties imposed upon the President is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Furthermore, he is required to take an oath to "Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Twice this President stood on the steps of the Capitol, raised his right hand to God and repeated that oath.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."
The Seventh Amendment insures that in civil suits "the right of trial by jury shall be preserved."
Finally, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees due process of law and the equal protection of the laws.
THE EFFECT ON MS. JONES' RIGHTS Paula Jones is an American citizen, just a single citizen who felt that she had suffered a legal wrong. More important, that legal wrong was based upon the Constitution of the United States. She claimed essentially that she was subjected to sexual harassment, which, in turn, constitutes discrimination on the basis of gender. The case was not brought against just any citizen, but against the President of the United States, who was under a legal and moral obligation to preserve and protect Ms. Jones' rights. It is relatively simple to mouth high-minded platitudes and to prosecute vigorously rights violations by someone else. It is, however, a test of courage, honor and integrity to enforce those rights against yourself. The President failed that test. As a citizen, Ms. Jones enjoyed an absolute constitutional right to petition the Judicial Branch of government to redress that wrong by filing a lawsuit in the United States District Court, which she did. At this point she became entitled to a trial by jury if she chose, due process of law and the equal protection of the laws no matter who the defendant was in her suit. Due process contemplates the right to a full and fair trail, which, in turn, means the right to call and question witnesses, to cross-examine adverse witnesses and to have her case decided by an unbiased and fully informed jury. What did she actually get? None of the above.
On May 27, 1997, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a nine to zero decision that, "like every other citizen," Paula Jones "has a right to an orderly disposition of her claims." In accordance with the Supreme Court's decision, United States District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled on December 11, 1997, that Ms. Jones was entitled to information regarding state or federal employees with whom the President had sexual relations from May, 1986 to the present. Judge Wright had determined that the information was reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Six days after this ruling, the President filed an answer to Ms. Jones' Amended Complaint. The President's Answer stated: "President Clinton denies that he engaged in any improper conduct with respect to plaintiff or any other woman."
Ms. Jones' right to call and depose witnesses was thwarted by perjurious and misleading affidavits and motions; her right to elicit testimony from adverse witnesses was compromised by perjury and false and misleading statements under oath. As a result, had a jury tried the case, it would have been deprived of critical information.
That result is bad enough, but it reaches constitutional proportions when denial of the civil rights is directed by the President of the United States who twice took an oath to preserve, protect and defend those rights. But we now know what the "sanctity of an oath" means to the President.
THE EFFECT ON THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT
Moreover, the President is the spokesman for the government and the people of the United States concerning both domestic and foreign matters. His honesty and integrity, therefore, directly influence the credibility of this country. When, as here, that spokesman is guilty of a continuing pattern of lies, misleading statements, and deceits over a long period of time, the believability of any of his pronouncements is seriously called into question. Indeed, how can anyone in or out of our country any longer believe anything he says? And what does that do to confidence in the honor and integrity of the United States?
Make no mistake, the conduct of the President is inextricably bound to the welfare of the people of the United States. Not only does it affect economic and national defense, but even more directly, it affects the moral and law-abiding fibre of the commonwealth, without which no nation can survive. When, as here, that conduct involves a pattern of abuses of power, of perjury, of deceit, of obstruction of justice and of the Congress, and of other illegal activities, the resulting damage to the honor and respect due to the United States is, of necessity, devastating.
THE EFFECT ON THE SYSTEM
Again: there is no such thing as non-serious lying under oath. Every time a witness lies, that witness chips a stone from the foundation of our entire legal system. Likewise, every act of obstruction of justice, of witness tampering or of perjury adversely affects the judicial branch of government like a pebble tossed into a lake. You may not notice the effect at once, but you can be certain that the tranquility of that lake has been disturbed. And if enough pebbles are thrown into the water, the lake itself may disappear. So too with the truth-seeking process of the courts. Every unanswered and unpunished assault upon it has its lasting effect and given enough of them, the system itself will implode.
That is why two women who testified before the Committee had been indicted, convicted and punished severely for false statements under oath in civil cases. And that is why only recently a federal grand jury in Chicago indicted four former college football players because they gave false testimony under oath to a grand jury. Nobody suggested that they should not be charged because their motives may have been to protect their careers and family. And nobody has suggested that the perjury was non-serious because it involved only lies about sports; i.e., betting on college football games.
DISREGARD OF THE RULE OF LAW
Apart from all else, the President's illegal actions constitute an attack upon and utter disregard for the truth, and for the rule of law. Much worse, they manifest an arrogant disdain not only for the rights of his fellow citizens, but also for the functions and the integrity of the other two co-equal branches of our constitutional system. One of the witnesses that appeared earlier likened the government of the United States to a three-legged stool. The analysis is apt, because the entire structure of our country rests upon three equal supports: the Legislative, the Judicial, and the Executive. Remove one of those supports, and the State will totter. Remove two and the structure will collapse altogether.
EFFECT ON THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
The President mounted a direct assault upon the truth-seeking process which is the very essence and foundation of the Judicial Branch. Not content with that, though, Mr. Clinton renewed his lies, half-truths and obstruction to this Congress when he filed his answers to simple requests to admit or deny. In so doing, he also demonstrated his lack of respect for the constitutional functions of the Legislative Branch.
Actions do not lose their public character merely because they may not directly affect the domestic and foreign functioning of the Executive Branch. Their significance must be examined for their effect on the functioning of the entire system of government. Viewed in that manner, the President's actions were both public and extremely destructive.THE CONDUCT CHARGED
WARRANTS CONVICTION AND REMOVAL
The Articles state offenses that warrant the President's conviction and removal from office. The Senate's own precedents establish that perjury and obstruction warrant conviction and removal from office. Those same precedents establish that the perjury and obstruction need not have any direct connection to the officer's official duties.
In the 1980s, the Senate convicted and removed from office three federal judges for making perjurious statements. Background and History of Impeachment Hearings before the Subcomm. On the Constitution of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 105th Cong., 2nd Sess. at 190-193 (Comm. Print 1998), (Testimony of Charles Cooper) ("Cooper Testimony") Although able counsel represented each judge, none of them argued that perjury or making false statements are not impeachable offenses. Nor did a single Congressman or Senator, in any of the three impeachment proceedings, suggest that perjury does not constitute a high crime and misdemeanor. Finally, in the cases of Judge Claiborne and Judge Nixon, it was undisputed that the perjury was not committed in connection with the exercise of the judges' judicial powers.
In 1989, Judge Walter L. Nixon, Jr., was impeached, convicted, and removed from office for committing perjury. Judge Nixon's offense stemmed from his grand jury testimony and statements to federal officers concerning his intervention in the state drug prosecution of Drew Fairchild, the son of Wiley Fairchild, a business partner of Judge Nixon's.
Although Judge Nixon had no official role or function in Drew Fairchild's case (which was assigned to a state court judge), Wiley Fairchild had asked Judge Nixon to help out by speaking to the prosecutor. Judge Nixon did so, and the prosecutor, a long-time friend of Judge Nixon's, dropped the case. When the FBI and the Department of Justice interviewed Judge Nixon, he denied any involvement whatsoever. Subsequently, a federal grand jury was empaneled and Judge Nixon again denied his involvement before that grand jury.
After a lengthy criminal prosecution, Judge Nixon was convicted on two counts of perjury before the grand jury and sentenced to five years in prison on each count. Not long thereafter, the House impeached Judge Nixon by a vote of 417 to 0. The first article of impeachment charged him with making the false or misleading statement to the grand jury that he could not "recall" discussing the Fairchild case with the prosecutor. The second article charged Nixon with making affirmative false or misleading statements to the grand jury that he had "nothing whatsoever officially or unofficially to do with the Drew Fairchild case." The third article alleged that Judge Nixon made numerous false statements (not under oath) to federal
investigators prior to his grand jury testimony. See 135 Cong. Rec. H1802-03.
The House unanimously impeached Judge Nixon, and the House Managers' Report expressed no doubt that perjury is an impeachable offense:
It is difficult to imagine an act more subversive to the legal process than lying from the witness stand. A judge who violates his testimonial oath and misleads a grand jury is clearly unfit to remain on the bench. If a judge's truthfulness cannot be guaranteed, if he sets less than the highest standard for candor, how can ordinary citizens who appear in court be expected to abide by their testimonial oath?
House of Representatives' Brief in Support of the Articles of Impeachment at 59 (1989). House Manager Sensenbrenner addressed the question even more directly:
There are basically two questions before you in connection with this impeachment. First, does the conduct alleged in the three articles of impeachment state an impeachable offense? There is really no debate on this point. The articles allege misconduct that is criminal and wholly inconsistent with judicial integrity and the judicial oath. Everyone agrees that a judge who lies under oath, or who deceives Federal investigators by lying in an interview, is not fit to remain on the bench.
135 Cong. Rec. S14,497 (Statement of Rep. Sensenbrenner)
The Senate agreed, overwhelmingly voting to convict Judge Nixon of perjury on the first two articles (89-8 and 78-19, respectively). As Senator Carl Levin explained:
The record amply supports the finding in the criminal trial that Judge Nixon's statements to the grand jury were false and misleading and constituted perjury. Those are the statements cited in articles I and II and it is on those articles that I vote to convict Judge Nixon and remove him from office.
135 Cong. Rec. S14,637 (Statement of Sen. Levin).
Also in 1989, the House impeached Judge Alcee L. Hastings for, among other things, committing numerous acts of perjury. The Senate convicted him, and he was removed from office. Initially, Judge Hastings had been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy stemming from his alleged bribery conspiracy with his friend Mr. William Borders to "fix" cases before Judge Hastings in exchange for cash payments from defendants. Mr. Borders was convicted, but, at his own trial, Judge Hastings took the stand and unequivocally denied any participation in a conspiracy with Mr. Borders. The jury acquitted Judge Hastings on all counts. Nevertheless, the House impeached Judge Hastings, approving seventeen articles of impeachment, fourteen of which were for lying under oath at his trial.
The House voted 413 to 3 to impeach. The House Managers' Report left no doubt that perjury alone is impeachable:
It is important to realize that each instance of false testimony charged in the false statement articles is more than enough reason to convict Judge Hastings and remove him from office. Even if the evidence were insufficient to prove that Judge Hastings was part of the conspiracy with William Borders, which the House in no way concedes, the fact that he lied under oath to assure his acquittal is conduct that cannot be tolerated of a United States District Judge. To bolster one's defense by lying to a jury is separate, independent corrupt conduct. For this reason alone, Judge Hastings should be removed from public office.
The House of Representatives' Brief in Support of the Articles of Impeachment at 127-28 (1989). Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) also argued for the impeachment of Judge Hastings:
[W]e can no more close our eyes to acts that constitute high crimes and misdemeanors when practiced by judges whose views we approve than we could against judges whose views we detested. It would be disloyal . . . to my oath of office at this late state of my career to attempt to set up a double standard for those who share my philosophy and for those who may oppose it. In order to be true to our principles, we must demand that all persons live up to the same high standards that we demand of everyone else.
134 Cong. Rec. H6184 (1988) (Statement of Rep. Conyers).
In 1986, Judge Harry E. Claiborne was impeached, convicted, and removed from office for making false statements under penalties of perjury. In particular, Judge Claiborne had filed false income tax returns in 1979 and 1980, grossly understating his income. As a result, he was convicted by a jury of two counts of willfully making a false statement on a federal tax return in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1). Subsequently, the House unanimously (406-0) approved four articles of impeachment. The proposition that Claiborne's perjurious personal income tax filings were not impeachable was never even seriously considered. As the House Managers explained:
[T]he constitutional issues raised by the first two Articles of Impeachment [concerning the filing of
false tax returns] are readily resolved. The Constitution provides that Judge Claiborne may be impeached and convicted for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." Article II, Section 4. The willful making or subscribing of a false statement on a tax return is a felony offense under the laws of the United States. The commission of such a felony is a proper basis for Judge Claiborne's impeachment and conviction in the Senate.
Proceedings of the United States Senate Impeachment Trial of Judge Harry E. Claiborne, S. Doc. No. 99-48, at 40 (1986)("Claiborne Proceedings") (emphases added).
House Manager Rodino, in his oral argument to the Senate, emphatically made the same point:
Honor in the eyes of the American people lies in public officials who respect the law, not in those who violate the trust that has been given to them when they are trusted with public office. Judge Harry E. Claiborne has, sad to say, undermined the integrity of the judicial branch of Government. To restore that integrity and to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice, Judge Claiborne must be convicted on the fourth Article of Impeachment [that of reducing confidence in the integrity of the judiciary].
132 Cong. Rec. S15,481 (1986) (Statement of Rep. Rodino).
The Senate agreed. Telling are the words of then-Senator Albert Gore, Jr. In voting to convict Judge Claiborne and remove him from office:
The conclusion is inescapable that Claiborne filed false income tax returns and that he did so willfully rather than negligently. . . . Given the circumstances, it is incumbent upon the Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility and strip this man of his title. An individual who has knowingly falsified tax returns has no business receiving a salary derived from the tax dollars of honest citizens. More importantly, an individual guilty of such reprehensible conduct ought not be permitted to exercise the awesome powers which the Constitution entrusts to the Federal Judiciary.
Claiborne Proceedings, S. Doc. No. 99-48, at 372 (1986).
APPLICATION TO THE PRESIDENT
To avoid the conclusive force of these recent precedents -- and in particular the exact precedent supporting impeachment for, conviction, and removal for perjury -- the only recourse for the President's defenders is to argue that a high crime or misdemeanor for a judge is not necessarily a high crime or misdemeanor for the President. The arguments advanced in support of this dubious proposition do not withstand serious scrutiny. See generally Cooper Testimony, at 193.
The Constitution provides that Article III judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, U.S. Const. Art. III, 1. Thus, these arguments suggest that judges are impeachable for "misbehavior" while other federal officials are only impeachable for treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The staff of the House Judiciary Committee in the 1970s and the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal in the 1990s both issued reports rejecting these arguments. In 1974, the staff of the Judiciary Committee's Impeachment Inquiry issued a report which included the following conclusion:
Does Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that judges 'shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,' limit the relevance of the ten impeachments of judges with respect to presidential impeachment standards as has been argued by some? It does not. The argument is that 'good behavior' implies an additional ground for impeachment of judges not applicable to other civil officers. However, the only impeachment provision discussed in the Convention and included in the Constitution is Article II, Section 4, which by its expressed terms, applies to all civil officers, including judges, and defines impeachment offenses as 'Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.'
Staff of House Comm. on the Judiciary, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess., Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment (Comm. Print 1974) ("1974 Staff Report") at 17.
The National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal came to the same conclusion. The Commission concluded that "the most plausible reading of the phrase 'during good Behavior' is that it means tenure for life, subject to the impeachment power. . . . The ratification debates about the federal judiciary seem to have proceeded on the assumption that good-behavior tenure meant removal only through impeachment and conviction." National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal, Report of the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal 17-18 (1993)(footnote omitted).
The record of the 1986 impeachment of Judge Claiborne also argues against different impeachment standards for federal judges and presidents. Judge Claiborne filed a motion asking the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment against him for failure to state impeachable offenses. One of the motion's arguments was that "[t]he standard for impeachment of a judge is different than that for other officers" and that the Constitution limited "removal of the judiciary to acts involving misconduct related to discharge of office." Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss the Articles of Impeachment on the Grounds They Do Not State Impeachable Offenses 4 (hereinafter cited as "Claiborne Motion"), reprinted in Hearings Before the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. 245 (1986)(hereinafter cited as "Senate Claiborne Hearings").
Representative Kastenmeier responded that "reliance on the term 'good behavior' as stating a sanction for judges is totally misplaced and virtually all commentators agree that that is directed to affirming the life tenure of judges during good behavior. It is not to set them down, differently, as judicial officers from civil officers." Id. at 81-82. He further stated that "[n]or . . . is there any support for the notion that . . . Federal judges are not civil officers of the United States, subject to the impeachment clause of article II of the Constitution." Id. at 81.
The Senate never voted on Claiborne's motion. However, the Senate was clearly not swayed by the arguments contained therein because it later voted to convict Judge Claiborne. 132 Cong. Rec. S15,760-62 (daily ed. Oct. 9, 1986). The Senate thus rejected the claim that the standard of impeachable offenses was different for judges than for presidents.
Moreover, even assuming that presidential high crimes and misdemeanors could be different from judicial ones, surely the President ought not be held to a lower standard of impeachability than judges. In the course of the 1980s judicial impeachments, Congress emphasized unequivocally that the removal from office of federal judges guilty of crimes indistinguishable from those currently charged against the President was essential to the preservation of the rule of law. If the perjury of just one judge so undermines the rule of law as to make it intolerable that he remain in office, then how much more so does
perjury committed by the President of the United States, who alone is charged with the duty "to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." See generally, Cooper Testimony at 194)
It is just as devastating to our system of government when a President commits perjury. As the House Judiciary Committee stated in justifying an article of impeachment against President Nixon, the President not only has "the obligation that every citizen has to live under the law," but in addition has the duty "not merely to live by the law but to see that law faithfully applied." Impeachment of Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, H. Rept. No. 93-1305, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess. at 180 (1974). The Constitution provides that he "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." U.S. Const. Art. II, § 3. When a President, as chief law enforcement officer of the United States, commits perjury, he violates this constitutional oath unique to his office and casts doubt on the notion that we are a nation ruled by laws and not men.
PERJURY AND OBSTRUCTION ARE AS SERIOUS AS BRIBERY
Further evidence that perjury and obstruction warrant conviction and removal comes directly from the text of the Constitution. Because the Constitution specifically mentions bribery, no one can dispute that it is an impeachable offense. U.S. Const., art. II, § 4. Because the constitutional language does not limit the term, we must take it to mean all forms of bribery. Our statutes specifically criminalize bribery of witnesses with the intent to influence their testimony in judicial proceedings. 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(3) & (4), (c)(2) & (3). See also 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503 (general obstruction of justice statute), 1512 (witness tampering statute). Indeed, in a criminal case, the efforts to provide Ms. Lewinsky with job assistance in return for submitting a false affidavit charged in the Articles might easily have been charged under these statutes. No one could reasonably argue that the President's bribing a witness to provide false testimony - even in a private lawsuit - does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The plain language of the Constitution indicates that it is.
Having established that point, the rest is easy. Bribing a witness is illegal because it leads to false testimony that in turn undermines the ability of the judicial system to reach just results. Thus, among other things, the Framers clearly intended impeachment to protect the judicial system from these kinds of attacks. Perjury and obstruction of justice are illegal for exactly the same reason, and they accomplish exactly the same ends through slightly different means. Simple logic establishes that perjury and obstruction of justice -- even in a private lawsuit -- are exactly the types of other high crimes and misdemeanors that are of the same magnitude as bribery.
HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS
Although Congress has never adopted a fixed definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors," much of the background and history of the impeachment process contradicts the President's claim that these offenses are private and therefore do not warrant conviction and removal. Two reports prepared in 1974 on the background and history of impeachment are particularly helpful in evaluating the President's defense. Both reports support the conclusion that the facts in this case compel the conviction and removal of President Clinton.
Many have commented on the report on "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment" prepared in February 1974 by the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry. The general principles concerning grounds for impeachment set forth in that report indicate that perjury and obstruction of justice are impeachable offenses. Consider this key language from the staff report describing the type of conduct which gives rise to impeachment:
The emphasis has been on the significant effects of the conduct -- undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government.
1974 Staff Report at 26 (emphases added).
Perjury and obstruction of justice clearly "undermine the integrity of office." They unavoidably erode respect for the office of the President. Such offenses obviously involve "disregard of [the President's] constitutional duties and oath of office." Moreover, these offenses have a direct and serious "adverse impact on the system of government." Obstruction of justice is by definition an assault on the due administration of justice -- a core function of our system of government.
The thoughtful report on "The Law of Presidential Impeachment" prepared by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in January of 1974 also places a great deal of emphasis on the corrosive impact of presidential misconduct on the integrity of office:
It is our conclusion, in summary, that the grounds for impeachment are not limited to or synonymous with crimes . . . . Rather, we believe that acts which undermine the integrity of government are appropriate grounds whether or not they happen to constitute offenses under the general criminal law. In our view, the essential nexus to damaging the integrity of government may be found in acts which constitute corruption in, or flagrant abuse of the powers of, official position. It may also be found in acts which, without directly affecting governmental processes, undermine that degree of public confidence in the probity of executive and judicial officers that is essential to the effectiveness of government in a free society.
Association of the Bar of the City of New York, The Law of Presidential Impeachment, (1974) at 161 (emphases added). The commission of perjury and obstruction of justice by a President are acts that without doubt "undermine that degree of public confidence in the probity of the [the President] that is essential to the effectiveness of government in a free society." Such acts inevitably subvert the respect for law which is essential to the well-being of our constitutional system.
That the President's perjury and obstruction do not directly involve his official conduct does not diminish their significance. The record is clear that federal officials have been impeached for reasons other than official misconduct. As set forth above, two recent impeachments of federal judges are compelling examples. In 1989, Judge Walter Nixon was impeached, convicted, and removed from office for committing perjury before a federal grand jury. Judge Nixon's perjury involved his efforts to fix a state case for the son of a business partner -- a matter in which he had no official role. In 1986, Judge Harry E. Claiborne was impeached, convicted, and removed from office for making false statements under penalty of perjury on his income tax returns. That misconduct had nothing to do with his official responsibilities.
Nothing in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution suggests that officials are subject to impeachment only for official misconduct. Perjury and obstruction of justice -- even regarding a private matter -- are offenses that substantially affect the President's official duties because they are grossly incompatible with his preeminent duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Regardless of their genesis, perjury and obstruction of justice are acts of public misconduct -- they cannot be dismissed as understandable or trivial. Perjury and obstruction of justice are not private matters; they are crimes against the system of justice, for which impeachment, conviction, and removal are appropriate.
The record of Judge Claiborne's impeachment proceedings affirms that conclusion. Representative Hamilton Fish, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and one of the House managers in the Senate trial, stated that "[i]mpeachable conduct does not have to occur in the course of the performance of an officer's official duties. Evidence of misconduct, misbehavior, high crimes, and misdemeanors can be justified upon one's private dealings as well as one's exercise of public office. That, of course, is the situation in this case." 132 Cong. Rec. H4713 (daily ed. July 22, 1986).
Judge Claiborne's unsuccessful motion that the Senate dismiss the articles of impeachment for failure to state impeachable offenses provides additional evidence that personal misconduct can justify impeachment. One of the arguments his attorney made for the motion was that "there is no allegation . . . that the behavior of Judge Claiborne in any way was related to misbehavior in his official function as a judge; it was private misbehavior." (Senate Claiborne Hearings, at 77, Statement of Judge Claiborne's counsel, Oscar Goodman). (See also Claiborne Motion, at 3)
Representative Kastenmeier responded by stating that "it would be absurd to conclude that a judge who had committed murder, mayhem, rape, or perhaps espionage in his private life, could not be removed from office by the U.S. Senate." (Senate Claiborne Hearings, at 81) Kastenmeier's response was repeated by the House of Representatives in its pleading opposing Claiborne's motion to dismiss. (Opposition to Claiborne Motion at 2)
The Senate did not vote on Judge Claiborne's motion, but it later voted to convict him. 132 Cong. Rec. S15,760-62 (daily ed. Oct. 9, 1986). The Senate thus agreed with the House that private improprieties could be, and were in this instance, impeachable offenses.
The Claiborne case makes clear that perjury, even if it relates to a matter wholly separated from a federal officer's official duties -- a judge's personal tax returns -- is an impeachable offense. Judge Nixon's false statements were also in regard to a matter distinct from his official duties. In short, the Senate's own precedents establish that misconduct need not be in one's official capacity to warrant removal.
This is a defining moment for the Presidency as an institution, because if the President is not convicted as a consequence of the conduct that has been portrayed, then no House of Representatives will ever be able to impeach again and no Senate will ever convict. The bar will be so high that only a convicted felon or a traitor will need to be concerned.
Experts pointed to the fact that the House refused to impeach President Nixon for lying on an income tax return. Can you imagine a future President, faced with possible impeachment, pointing to the perjuries, lies, obstructions, and tampering with witnesses by the current occupant of the office as not rising to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? If this is not enough, what is? How far can the standard be lowered without completely compromising the credibility of the office for all time?
Dated: January 11, 1999
Source: The House Judiciary Committee's Web page
Monday January 11, 1999
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