IV. April 1996: Ms. Lewinsky's Transfer to the Pentagon

With White House and Secret Service employees remarking on Ms. Lewinsky's frequent presence in the West Wing, a deputy chief of staff ordered Ms. Lewinsky transferred from the White House to the Pentagon. On April 7 -- Easter Sunday -- Ms. Lewinsky told the President of her dismissal. He promised to bring her back after the election, and they had a sexual encounter.

A. Earlier Observations of Ms. Lewinsky in the West Wing

Ms. Lewinsky's visits to the Oval Office area had not gone unnoticed. Officer Fox testified that "it was pretty commonly known that she did frequent the West Wing on the weekends."(276) Another Secret Service uniformed officer, William Ludtke III, once saw her exit from the pantry near the Oval Office; she seemed startled and possibly embarrassed to be spotted.(277) Officer John Muskett testified that "if the President was known to be coming into the Diplomatic Reception Room, a lot of times [Ms. Lewinsky] just happened to be walking down the corridor, you know, maybe just to see the President."(278) Ms. Lewinsky acknowledged that she tried to position herself to see the President.(279)

Although they could not date them precisely, Secret Service officers and agents testified about several occasions when Ms. Lewinsky and the President were alone in the Oval Office. William C. Bordley, a former member of the Presidential Protective Detail, testified that in late 1995 or early 1996, he stopped Ms. Lewinsky outside the Oval Office because she did not have her pass.(280) The President opened the Oval Office door, indicated to Agent Bordley that Ms. Lewinsky's presence was all right, and ushered Ms. Lewinsky into the Oval Office.(281) Agent Bordley saw Ms. Lewinsky leave about half an hour later.(282)

Another former member of the Presidential Protective Detail, Robert C. Ferguson, testified that one Saturday in winter, the President told him that he was expecting "some staffers."(283) A short time later, Ms. Lewinsky arrived and said that "[t]he President needs me."(284) Agent Ferguson announced Ms. Lewinsky and admitted her to the Oval Office.(285) About 10 or 15 minutes later, Agent Ferguson rotated to a post on the Colonnade outside the Oval Office.(286) He glanced through the window into the Oval Office and saw the President and Ms. Lewinsky go through the door leading toward the private study.(287)

Deeming her frequent visits to the Oval Office area a "nuisance," one Secret Service Officer complained to Evelyn Lieberman, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.(288) Ms. Lieberman was already aware of Ms. Lewinsky. In December 1995, according to Ms. Lewinsky, Ms. Lieberman chided her for being in the West Wing and told her that interns are not permitted around the Oval Office. Ms. Lewinsky (who had begun her Office of Legislative Affairs job) told Ms. Lieberman that she was not an intern anymore. After expressing surprise that Ms. Lewinsky had been hired, Ms. Lieberman said she must have Ms. Lewinsky confused with someone else.(289) Ms. Lieberman confirmed that she reprimanded Ms. Lewinsky, whom she considered "what we used to call a 'clutch' . . . always someplace she shouldn't be."(290)

In Ms. Lewinsky's view, some White House staff members seemed to think that she was to blame for the President's evident interest in her:

[P]eople were wary of his weaknesses, maybe, and . . . they didn't want to look at him and think that he could be responsible for anything, so it had to all be my fault . . . I was stalking him or I was making advances towards him.(292)

B. Decision to Transfer Ms. Lewinsky

Ms. Lieberman testified that, because Ms. Lewinsky was so persistent in her efforts to be near the President, "I decided to get rid of her."(293) First she consulted Chief of Staff Panetta. According to Mr. Panetta, Ms. Lieberman told him about a woman on the staff who was "spending too much time around the West Wing." Because of "the appearance that it was creating," Ms. Lieberman proposed to move her out of the White House. Mr. Panetta -- who testified that he valued Ms. Lieberman's role as "a tough disciplinarian" and "trusted her judgment" -- replied, "Fine."(294) Although Ms. Lieberman said she could not recall having heard any rumors linking the President and Ms. Lewinsky, she acknowledged that "the President was vulnerable to these kind of rumors . . . yes, yes, that was one of the reasons" for moving Ms. Lewinsky out of the White House.(295) Later, in September 1997, Marcia Lewis (Ms. Lewinsky's mother) complained about her daughter's dismissal to Ms. Lieberman, whom she met at a Voice of America ceremony. Ms. Lieberman, according to Ms. Lewis, responded by "saying something about Monica being cursed because she's beautiful." Ms. Lewis gathered from the remark that Ms. Lieberman, as part of her effort to protect the President, "would want to have pretty women moved out."(296)

Most people understood that the principal reason for Ms. Lewinsky's transfer was her habit of hanging around the Oval Office and the West Wing.(297) In a memo in October 1996, John Hilley, Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs, reported that Ms. Lewinsky had been "got[ten] rid of" in part "because of 'extracurricular activities'" (a phrase, he maintained in the grand jury, that meant only that Ms. Lewinsky was often absent from her work station).(298)

White House officials arranged for Ms. Lewinsky to get another job in the Administration.(299) "Our direction is to make sure she has a job in an Agency," Patsy Thomasson wrote in an email message on April 9, 1996.(300) Ms. Thomasson's office (Presidential Personnel) sent Ms. Lewinsky's resume to Charles Duncan, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and White House Liaison, and asked him to find a Pentagon opening for her.(301) Mr. Duncan was told that, though Ms. Lewinsky had performed her duties capably, she was being dismissed for hanging around the Oval Office too much.(302) According to Mr. Duncan -- who had received as many as 40 job referrals per day from the White House -- the White House had never given such an explanation for a transfer.(303)

C. Ms. Lewinsky's Notification of Her Transfer

On Friday, April 5, 1996, Timothy Keating, Staff Director for Legislative Affairs, informed Ms. Lewinsky that she would have to leave her White House job.(304) According to Mr. Keating, he told her that she was not being fired, merely "being given a different opportunity." In fact, she could tell people it was a promotion if she cared to do so.(305) Upon hearing of her dismissal, Ms. Lewinsky burst into tears and asked if there was any way for her to stay in the White House, even without pay.(306) No, Mr. Keating said. According to Ms. Lewinsky, "He told me I was too sexy to be working in the East Wing and that this job at the Pentagon where I'd be writing press releases was a sexier job."(307)

Ms. Lewinsky was devastated. She felt that she was being transferred simply because of her relationship with the President.(308) And she feared that with the loss of her White House job, "I was never going to see the President again. I mean, my relationship with him would be over."(309)

D. Conversations with the President about Her Transfer

1. Easter Telephone Conversations and Sexual Encounter

On Easter Sunday, April 7, 1996, Ms. Lewinsky told the President of her dismissal and they had a sexual encounter. Ms. Lewinsky entered the White House at 4:56 and left at 5:28 p.m.(310) The President was in the Oval Office all afternoon, from 2:21 to 7:48 p.m.(311)

According to Ms. Lewinsky, the President telephoned her at home that day. After they spoke of the death of the Commerce Secretary the previous week, she told him of her dismissal:

I had asked him . . . if he was doing okay with Ron Brown's death, and then after we talked about that for a little bit I told him that my last day was Monday. And . . . he seemed really upset and sort of asked me to tell him what had happened. So I did and I was crying and I asked him if I could come see him, and he said that that was fine.(312)

At the White House, according to Ms. Lewinsky, she told Secret Service Officer Muskett that she needed to deliver papers to the President.(313) Officer Muskett admitted her to the Oval Office, and she and the President proceeded to the private study.(314)

According to Ms. Lewinsky, the President seemed troubled about her upcoming departure from the White House:

He told me that he thought that my being transferred had something to do with him and that he was upset. He said, "Why do they have to take you away from me? I trust you." And then he told me -- he looked at me and he said, "I promise you if I win in November I'll bring you back like that."(315)

He also indicated that she could have any job she wanted after the election.(316) In addition, the President said he would find out why Ms. Lewinsky was transferred and report back to her.(317)

When asked if he had promised to get Ms. Lewinsky another White House job, the President told the grand jury:

What I told Ms. Lewinsky was that . . . I would do what I could to see, if she had a good record at the Pentagon, and she assured me she was doing a good job and working hard, that I would do my best to see that the fact that she had been sent away from the Legislative Affairs section did not keep her from getting a job in the White House, and that is, in fact, what I tried to do. . . . But I did not tell her I would order someone to hire her, and I never did, and I wouldn't do that. It wouldn't be right.(318)

Ms. Lewinsky, when asked if the President had said that he would bring her back to the White House only if she did a good job at the Pentagon, responded: "No."(319)

After this Easter Sunday conversation, the President and Ms. Lewinsky had a sexual encounter in the hallway, according to Ms. Lewinsky.(320) She testified that the President touched her breasts with his mouth and hands.(321) According to Ms. Lewinsky: "I think he unzipped [his pants] . . . because it was sort of this running joke that I could never unbutton his pants, that I just had trouble with it."(322) Ms. Lewinsky performed oral sex. The President did not ejaculate in her presence.(323)

During this encounter, someone called out from the Oval Office that the President had a phone call.(324) He went back to the Oval Office for a moment, then took the call in the study. The President indicated that Ms. Lewinsky should perform oral sex while he talked on the phone, and she obliged.(325) The telephone conversation was about politics, and Ms. Lewinsky thought the caller might be Dick Morris.(326) White House records confirm that the President had one telephone call during Ms. Lewinsky's visit: from "Mr. Richard Morris," to whom he talked from 5:11 to 5:20 p.m.(327)

A second interruption occurred a few minutes later, according to Ms. Lewinsky. She and the President were in the study.(328) Ms. Lewinsky testified:

Harold Ickes has a very distinct voice and . . . I heard him holler "Mr. President," and the President looked at me and I looked at him and he jetted out into the Oval Office and I panicked and . . . thought that maybe because Harold was so close with the President that they might just wander back there and the President would assume that I knew to leave.(329)

Ms. Lewinsky testified that she exited hurriedly through the dining room door.(330) That evening, the President called and asked Ms. Lewinsky why she had run off. "I told him that I didn't know if he was going to be coming back . . . . [H]e was a little upset with me that I left."(331)

In addition to the record of the Dick Morris phone call, the testimony of Secret Service Officer Muskett corroborates Ms. Lewinsky's account. Officer Muskett was posted near the door to the Oval Office on Easter Sunday.(332) He testified that Ms. Lewinsky (whom he knew) arrived at about 4:45 p.m. carrying a manila folder and seeming "a little upset."(333) She told Officer Muskett that she needed to deliver documents to the President.(334) Officer Muskett or the plainclothes agent on duty with him opened the door, and Ms. Lewinsky entered.(335)

About 20 to 25 minutes later, according to Officer Muskett, the telephone outside the Oval Office rang. The White House operator said that the President had an important call but he was not picking up.(336) The agent working alongside Officer Muskett knocked on the door to the Oval Office. When the President did not respond, the agent entered. The Oval Office was empty, and the door leading to the study was slightly ajar.(337) (Ms. Lewinsky testified that the President left the door ajar during their sexual encounters.(338)) The agent called out, "Mr. President?" There was no response. The agent stepped into the Oval Office and called out more loudly, "Mr. President?" This time there was a response from the study area, according to Officer Muskett: "Huh?" The agent called out that the President had a phone call, and the President said he would take it.(339)

A few minutes later, according to Officer Muskett, Mr. Ickes approached and said he needed to see President Clinton. Officer Muskett admitted him through Ms. Currie's office.(340) Less than a minute after Mr. Ickes entered Ms. Currie's reception area, according to Officer Muskett, the pantry or dining room door closed audibly. Officer Muskett stepped down the hall to check and saw Ms. Lewinsky walking away briskly.(341)

At 5:30 p.m., two minutes after Ms. Lewinsky left the White House, the President called the office of the person who had decided to transfer Ms. Lewinsky, Evelyn Lieberman.(342)

2. April 12-13: Telephone Conversations

Ms. Lewinsky testified that the President telephoned her the following Friday, April 12, 1996, at home. They talked for about 20 minutes. According to Ms. Lewinsky, the President said he had checked on the reason for her transfer:

[H]e had come to learn . . . that Evelyn Lieberman had sort of spearheaded the transfer, and that she thought he was paying too much attention to me and I was paying too much attention to him and that she didn't necessarily care what happened after the election but everyone needed to be careful before the election.(343)

According to Ms. Lewinsky, the President told her to give the Pentagon a try, and, if she did not like it, he would get her a job on the campaign.(344)

In the grand jury, Ms. Lieberman testified that the President asked her directly about Ms. Lewinsky's transfer:

After I had gotten rid of her, when I was in there, during the course of a conversation, [President Clinton] said, "I got a call about --" I don't know if he said her name. He said maybe "-- an intern you fired." And she was evidently very upset about it. He said, "Do you know anything about this?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Who fired her?" I said, "I did." And he said, "Oh, okay."(345)

According to Ms. Lieberman, the President did not pursue the matter further.(346)

Three other witnesses confirm that the President knew why Ms. Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. In 1997, the President told Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles "that there was a young woman -- her name was Monica Lewinsky -- who used to work at the White House; that Evelyn . . . thought she hung around the Oval Office too much and transferred her to the Pentagon."(347) According to Betty Currie, the President believed that Ms. Lewinsky had been unfairly transferred.(348) The President's close friend, Vernon Jordan, testified that the President said to him in December 1997 that "he knew about [Ms. Lewinsky's] situation, which was that she was pushed out of the White House."(349)