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Narrative Pt. V: No Private Meetings

From independent counsel Kenneth Starr's report to the House on President Clinton. Some of the language in these documents is sexually explicit.

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V. April-December 1996: No Private Meetings

After Ms. Lewinsky began her Pentagon job on April 16, 1996, she had no further physical contact with the President for the remainder of the year. She and the President spoke by phone (and had phone sex) but saw each other only at public functions. Ms. Lewinsky grew frustrated after the election because the President did not bring her back to work at the White House.

A. Pentagon Job

On April 16, 1996, Ms. Lewinsky began working at the Pentagon as Confidential Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.(348)

B. No Physical Contact

According to Ms. Lewinsky, she had no physical contact with the President for the rest of 1996.(349) "I wasn't alone with him so when I saw him it was in some sort of event or group setting," she testified.(350)

   


C. Telephone Conversations

Ms. Lewinsky and the President did talk by telephone, especially in her first weeks at the new job.(351) By Ms. Lewinsky's estimate, the President phoned her (sometimes leaving a message) four or five times in the month after she started working at the Pentagon, then two or three times a month thereafter for the rest of 1996.(352) During the fall 1996 campaign, the President sometimes called from trips when Mrs. Clinton was not accompanying him.(353) During at least seven of the 1996 calls, Ms. Lewinsky and the President had phone sex.(354)

According to Ms. Lewinsky, the President telephoned her at about 6:30 a.m. on July 19, the day he was leaving for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and they had phone sex, after which the President exclaimed, "[G]ood morning!" and then said: "What a way to start a day."(355) A call log shows that the President called the White House operator at 12:11 a.m. on July 19 and asked for a wake-up call at 7 a.m., then at 6:40 a.m., the President called and said he was already up.(356) In Ms. Lewinsky's recollection, she and the President also had phone sex on May 21, July 5 or 6, October 22, and December 2, 1996.(357) On those dates, Mrs. Clinton was in Denver (May 21), Prague and Budapest (July 5-6), Las Vegas (October 22), and en route to Bolivia (December 2).(358)

Ms. Lewinsky repeatedly told the President that she disliked her Pentagon job and wanted to return to the White House.(359) In a recorded conversation, Ms. Lewinsky recounted one call:

[A] month had passed and -- so he had called one night, and I said, "Well," I said, "I'm really unhappy," you know. And [the President] said, "I don't want to talk about your job tonight. I'll call you this week, and then we'll talk about it. I want to talk about other things" -- which meant phone sex.(360)

She expected to talk with him the following weekend, and she was "ready to broach the idea of . . . going to the campaign," but he did not call.(361)

Ms. Lewinsky and the President also talked about their relationship. During a phone conversation on September 5, according to Ms. Lewinsky, she told the President that she wanted to have intercourse with him. He responded that he could not do so because of the possible consequences. The two of them argued, and he asked if he should stop calling her. No, she responded.(362)

D. Public Encounters

During this period, Ms. Lewinsky occasionally saw the President in public. She testified:

   


I'm an insecure person . . . and I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily and if I hadn't heard from him . . . it was very difficult for me . . . . [U]sually when I'd see him, it would kind of prompt him to call me. So I made an effort. I would go early and stand in the front so I could see him . . . .(363)

On May 2, 1996, Ms. Lewinsky saw the President at a reception for the Saxophone Club, a political organization.(364) On June 14, Ms. Lewinsky and her family attended the taping of the President's weekly radio address and had photos taken with the President.(365) On August 18, Ms. Lewinsky attended the President's 50th birthday party at Radio City Music Hall, and she got into a cocktail party for major donors where she saw the President.(366) According to Ms. Lewinsky, when the President reached past her at the rope line to shake hands with another guest, she reached out and touched his crotch in a "playful" fashion.(367) On October 23, according to Ms. Lewinsky, she talked with the President at a fundraiser for Senate Democrats.(368) The two were photographed together at the event.(369) The President was wearing a necktie she had given him, according to Ms. Lewinsky, and she said to him, "Hey, Handsome -- I like your tie."(370) The President telephoned her that night. She said she planned to be at the White House on Pentagon business the next day, and he told her to stop by the Oval Office. At the White House the next day, Ms. Lewinsky did not see the President because Ms. Lieberman was nearby.(371) On December 17, Ms. Lewinsky attended a holiday reception at the White House.(372) A photo shows her shaking hands with the President.(373)

E. Ms. Lewinsky's Frustrations

Continuing to believe that her relationship with the President was the key to regaining her White House pass, Ms. Lewinsky hoped that the President would get her a job immediately after the election. "I kept a calendar with a countdown until election day," she later wrote in an unsent letter to him. The letter states:

I was so sure that the weekend after the election you would call me to come visit and you would kiss me passionately and tell me you couldn't wait to have me back. You'd ask me where I wanted to work and say something akin to "Consider it done" and it would be. Instead I didn't hear from you for weeks and subsequently your phone calls became less frequent.(374)

Ms. Lewinsky grew increasingly frustrated over her relationship with President Clinton.(375) One friend understood that Ms. Lewinsky complained to the President about not having seen each other privately for months, and he replied, "Every day can't be sunshine."(376) In email to another friend in early 1997, Ms. Lewinsky wrote: "I just don't understand what went wrong, what happened? How could he do this to me? Why did he keep up contact with me for so long and now nothing, now when we could be together?"(377)

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