Monica Lewinsky returns to Washington to give deposition
Clinton will be in Washington for final Senate vote
January 30, 1999
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, January 30) -- Monica Lewinsky has returned to the nation's capital to face questioning Monday by House impeachment managers and lawyers for President Bill Clinton in what could be one of the most dramatic moments in the yearlong impeachment saga.
The former White House intern walked briskly into the Mayflower Hotel Saturday afternoon, shortly after her flight from Los Angeles arrived at Dulles Airport. Crowds gathered behind a cordoned-off area at the hotel's front door, forming a path through which she entered.
One person in the crowd held up a sign reading, "God bless the dress," referring to the stained clothing that contained DNA evidence of a sexual relationship between Lewinsky and Clinton.
A fellow passenger in the first-class section of Lewinsky's flight, Mary Jo McGrath, said Lewinsky told her that she has been getting through her ordeal with the support of her family, "denial" and "a gallows sense of humor."
Meanwhile, the White House announced that Clinton is postponing a scheduled trip to Central America. Though no reason was given, the delay will put the president in Washington on February 12 -- the target date set by the Senate for final votes on two articles of impeachment.
The president is accused of perjury and obstruction of justice for what House managers characterize as an elaborate scheme to cover up his sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Clinton has admitted an "inappropriate" relationship with Lewinsky but has denied that he committed perjury or obstructed justice.
The president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had planned a six-day trip to Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, beginning February 10.
Under the new schedule released Saturday by the White House, Clinton will go to Mexico on February 15 and take the rest of the trip in March.
On Monday, Lewinsky will be questioned on videotape at the Mayflower by one of the House managers, Rep. Ed Bryant, R-Tennessee, and representatives from Clinton's legal team. The White House has hinted that Nicole Seligman, one of Clinton's personal lawyers, will lead the questioning.
While Lewinsky testified extensively in front of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's grand jury about her relationship with Clinton, Monday's questioning will mark several firsts.
It will be the first chance House managers have had to question her extensively, though three of them held a short interview with her last weekend. It will be the first time the president's lawyers have had a chance to cross-examine her. And it will be the first time that her story is caught on videotape.
Over Democratic objections, Senate Republicans last week pushed through a plan for conducting the depositions that could eventually lead to the public release of Lewinsky's videotaped testimony, though a majority of the Senate would still have to approve that decision.
Though she has been at the center of a noisy scandal for more than a year, Lewinsky has not given any interviews or testified in public; most Americans don't even know what her voice sounds like.
Impeachment managers expect Lewinsky to support the obstruction of justice charge against Clinton by her "almost total recall" of her conversations with him, according to House officials familiar with the managers' strategy.
One House official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said managers believe Lewinsky "has a lot of information if you ask the right questions."
House sources also told the AP that managers left last weekend's interview with Lewinsky with the impression that she was "very comfortable" with Bryant, a soft-spoken former federal prosecutor and small-town lawyer.
In preparation for their questioning of Lewinsky -- as well as depositions Tuesday and Wednesday by presidential confidant Vernon Jordan and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal -- the president's lawyers are poring through thousands of pages of previous testimony.
Because 44 Democratic senators have already voted to dismiss the charges, enough to ensure Clinton's acquittal if there are no new developments, the president's legal team has adopted a do-no-harm strategy -- get through the depositions, close any openings made by the House managers and hope the impeachment case finally runs out of steam.
CNN Correspondent Carol Black contributed to this report.
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