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Narrative Pt. X: Growing Frustration

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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X. November 1997: Growing Frustration

Ms. Lewinsky met with Vernon Jordan, who promised to help her find a job in New York. November proved, however, to be a month of inactivity with respect to both Ms. Lewinsky's job search and her relationship with the President. Mr. Jordan did not meet with Ms. Lewinsky again, nor did he contact anyone in New York City on her behalf. Ms. Lewinsky became increasingly anxious about her inability to see the President. Except for a momentary encounter in mid-November, Ms. Lewinsky did not meet with the President between October 11 and December 5.

A. Interrogatories Answered

On November 3, 1997, the President answered Paula Jones's Second Set of Interrogatories. Two of those interrogatories asked the President to list any woman other than his wife with whom he had "had," "proposed having," or "sought to have" sexual relations during the time that he was Attorney General of Arkansas, Governor of Arkansas, and President of the United States.(656) President Clinton objected to the scope and relevance of both interrogatories and refused to answer them.(657)

B. First Vernon Jordan Meeting

In mid-October, the President had agreed to involve Vernon Jordan in Ms. Lewinsky's job search.(658) In a draft letter to Ms. Currie dated November 2, Ms. Lewinsky wrote that the President had "said he would ask you to set up a meeting between VJ and myself."(659) According to Ms. Lewinsky, on November 3 or November 4, Ms. Currie told her to call Vernon Jordan's secretary to arrange a meeting.(660) Ms. Currie said she had spoken with Mr. Jordan and he was expecting Ms. Lewinsky's call.(661) In Ms. Lewinsky's account, Ms. Currie sought Mr. Jordan's aid at the President's direction.(662) Mr. Jordan likewise testified that, in his understanding, the President was behind Ms. Currie's request.(663)

Ms. Currie testified at various points that she contacted Mr. Jordan on her own initiative; that the President "probably" talked with her about Ms. Lewinsky's New York job hunt; and that she could not recall whether the President was involved.(664) In his Jones deposition, the President was asked whether he did anything to facilitate a meeting between Mr. Jordan and Ms. Lewinsky. He testified:

   


I can tell you what my memory is. My memory is that Vernon said something to me about her coming in, Betty had called and asked if he [Mr. Jordan] would see her [Ms. Lewinsky]. . . . I'm sure if he said something to me about it I said something positive about it. I wouldn't have said anything negative about it.(665)

When pressed, the President testified that he did not think that he was the "precipitating force" in arranging the meeting between Mr. Jordan and Ms. Lewinsky.(666)

At 8:50 a.m. on November 5, Mr. Jordan spoke with the President by telephone for five minutes.(667) Later that morning, Mr. Jordan and Ms. Lewinsky met in his office for about twenty minutes.(668) She told him that she intended to move to New York, and she named several companies where she hoped to work.(669) She showed him the "wish list" that she had sent the President on October 16.(670) Mr. Jordan said that he had spoken with the President about her and that she came "highly recommended."(671) Concerning her job search, Mr. Jordan said: "We're in business."(672)

In the course of the day, Mr. Jordan placed four calls to Ms. Hernreich (whom he acknowledged calling when he wished to speak to the President(673)) and one to Ms. Currie.(674) Mr. Jordan testified that he could not remember the calls, but "[i]t is entirely possible" that they concerned Monica Lewinsky.(675)

Mr. Jordan also visited the White House and met with the President at 2:00 p.m. that day.(676) Again, Mr. Jordan testified that he had "no recollection" of the substance of his conversation with the President.(677)

On November 6, the day after meeting with Mr. Jordan, Ms. Lewinsky wrote him a thank-you letter: "It made me happy to know that our friend has such a wonderful confidant in you."(678) Also on November 6, Ms. Lewinsky wrote in an email to a friend that she expected to hear from Mr. Jordan "later next week."(679) The evidence indicates, though, that Mr. Jordan took no steps to help Ms. Lewinsky until early December, after she appeared on the witness list in the Jones case.

Mr. Jordan initially testified that he had "no recollection of having met with Ms. Lewinsky on November 5."(680) When shown documentary evidence demonstrating that his first meeting with Ms. Lewinsky occurred in early November, he acknowledged that an early November meeting was "entirely possible."(681) Mr. Jordan's failure to remember his November meeting with Ms. Lewinsky may indicate the low priority he attached to it at the time.

C. November 13: The Zedillo Visit

On Thursday, November 13, while Ernesto Zedillo, the President of Mexico, was in the White House, Ms. Lewinsky met very briefly with President Clinton in the private study.(682) Ms. Lewinsky's visit, which she described in an email as a "hysterical escapade," was the culmination of days of phone calls and notes to Ms. Currie and the President.(683)

Over the course of the week that preceded November 13, Ms. Lewinsky made several attempts to arrange a visit with the President. On Monday, November 10, in addition to making frequent calls to Ms. Currie, she sent the President a note asking for a meeting.(684)

She hoped to see him on Tuesday, November 11 (Veterans Day), but he did not respond.(685) By courier,(686) she sent the President another note:

   


I asked you three weeks ago to please be sensitive to what I am going through right now and to keep in contact with me, and yet I'm still left writing notes in vain. I am not a moron. I know that what is going on in the world takes precedence, but I don't think what I have asked you for is unreasonable.(687)

She added: "This is so hard for me. I am trying to deal with so much emotionally, and I have nobody to talk to about it. I need you right now not as president, but as a man. PLEASE be my friend."(688)

That evening, November 12, according to Ms. Lewinsky, the President called and invited her to the White House the following day.(689) In an email to a friend, Ms. Lewinsky wrote that she and the President "talked for almost an hour."(690) She added: "[H]e thought [N]ancy [Hernreich] (one of the meanies) would be out for a few hours on Thursday and I could come see him then."(691)

The following morning, November 13, Ms. Lewinsky tried to arrange a visit with the President. She called repeatedly but suspected that Ms. Currie was not telling the President of her calls.(692) Around noon, Ms. Currie told Ms. Lewinsky that the President had left to play golf. Ms. Lewinsky, in her own words, "went ballistic."(693)

After the President returned from the Army-Navy Golf Course in the late afternoon, Ms. Lewinsky told Ms. Currie that she was coming to the White House to give him some gifts.(694) Ms. Currie suggested that Ms. Lewinsky wait in Ms. Currie's car in the White House parking lot. Ms. Lewinsky went to the White House only to find that the doors to Ms. Currie's car were locked. Ms. Lewinsky waited in the rain.(695)

Ms. Currie eventually met her in the parking lot, and, in Ms. Lewinsky's words, they made a "bee-line" into the White House, sneaking up the back stairs to avoid other White House employees, particularly Presidential aide Stephen Goodin.(696) Ms. Lewinsky left two small gifts for the President with Ms. Currie, then waited alone for about half an hour in the Oval Office study.(697) In the study, Ms. Lewinsky saw several gifts she had given the President, including Oy Vey! The Things They Say: A Guide to Jewish Wit, Nicholson Baker's novel Vox, and a letter opener decorated with a frog.(698)

The President finally joined Ms. Lewinsky in the study, where they were alone for only a minute or two.(699) Ms. Lewinsky gave him an antique paperweight in the shape of the White House.(700) She also showed him an email describing the effect of chewing Altoid mints before performing oral sex. Ms. Lewinsky was chewing Altoids at the time, but the President replied that he did not have enough time for oral sex.(701) They kissed, and the President rushed off for a State Dinner with President Zedillo.(702)

D. November 14-December 4: Inability to See the President

After this brief November 13 meeting, Ms. Lewinsky did not see the President again until the first week in December. Hoping to arrange a longer rendezvous, she sent the President several notes, as well as a cassette on which she recorded a message.(703)

Along with her chagrin over not seeing the President, Ms. Lewinsky was frustrated that her job search had apparently stalled. A few days before Thanksgiving, she complained to Ms. Currie that she had not heard from Mr. Jordan.(704) Ms. Currie arranged for her to speak with him "before Thanksgiving," while Ms. Lewinsky was in Los Angeles. Mr. Jordan told her to call him the following week to arrange another meeting.(705)

In draft letters to the President, which were recovered from her Pentagon computer, Ms. Lewinsky reflected on the change in their relationship: "[B]oth professionally and personally, . . . our personal relationship changing has caused me more pain. Do you realize that?"(706) She asked for the President's understanding: "I don't want you to think that I am not grateful for what you are doing for me now -- I'd probably be in a mental institute without it -- but I am consumed with this disappointment, frustration, and anger." Ms. Lewinsky rued the brevity of her November 13 visit with the President: "All you . . . . ever have to do to pacify me is see me and hold me," she wrote. "Maybe that's asking too much."(707)

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