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From the Starr Referral:
Clinton's Grand Jury Testimony, Part 11

The following material was submitted by independent counsel Kenneth Starr with his report to the House on President Clinton. This document provided by Federal News Service. Editor's Note: Some of the language in these documents is sexually explicit.

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Q: Would you have been prepared, if asked by the Jones lawyers, would you have been prepared to answer a question directly asked about oral sex performed on you by Monica Lewinsky?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If the Judge had required me to answer it, of course, I would have answered it. And I would have answered it truthfully, if I –

Q: By the way, do you believe that the –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: – had been required.

Q: – Jones litigants had the same understanding of sexual relations that you claim you have?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't know what their understanding was, sir. My belief is that they thought they'd get this whole thing in, and that they were going to – what they were trying to do is do just what they did with Gennifer Flowers. They wanted to find anything they could get from me or anyone else that was negative, and then they wanted to leak it to hurt me in the press, which they did even though the Judge ordered them not to.

So, I think their –

Q: Wouldn't it – I'm sorry.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think their position, Mr. Bennett – you asked the question – their position was, we're going to cast the widest net we can and get as much embarrassing stuff as we can, and then dump it out there and see if we can make him bleed. I think that's what they were trying to do. Q: Don't you think, sir, that they could have done more damage to you politically, or in whatever context, if they had understood the definition in the same way you did and asked the question directly?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't know, sir. As I said, I didn't work with their lawyers in preparing this case. I knew the case was wrong. I knew what our evidence was. By the time of this deposition, they knew what their evidence was. Their whole strategy was, well, our lawsuit's not good, but maybe we can hurt him with the discovery. And, you know, they did some. But it didn't amount to much. And did I want, if I could, to avoid talking about Monica Lewinsky? Yes, I'd give anything in the world not to be here talking about it. I'd be giving – I'd give anything in the world not to have to admit what I've had to admit today.

But if you look at my answer in the Flowers [sic] deposition, at least you know I tried to carefully fit all my answers within the framework there, because otherwise there was no reason in the wide world for me to do anything other than make the statements I'd made about Gennifer Flowers since 1991, that I did not have a 12-year affair with her, and that these, the following accusations she made are false.

So, that's all I can tell you. I can't prove anything.

Q: But you did have a great deal of anxiety in the hours and days following the end of your deposition on the 17th. Isn't that fair to say?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I had a little anxiety the next day, of course, because of the Drudge Report. And I had an anxiety after the deposition because it was more about Monica Lewinsky than it was about Paula Jones.

Q: The specificity of the questions relating to Monica Lewinsky alarmed you, isn't that fair to say?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes, and it bothered me, too, that I couldn't remember the answers. It bothered me that I couldn't – as Mr. Wisenberg pointed out, it bothered me that I couldn't remember all the answers. I did the best I could. And so I wanted to know what the deal was. Sure.

Q: Mr. President, to your knowledge, have you turned over, in response to the grand jury subpoenas, all gifts that Monica Lewinsky gave you?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: To my knowledge, I have, sir. As you know, on occasion, Mr. Kendall has asked for your help in identifying those gifts. And I think there were a couple that we came across in our search that were not on the list you gave us, that I remembered in the course of our search had been given to me by Monica Lewinsky and we gave them to you.

So, to the best of my knowledge, we have given you everything we have.

   

Q: Can you explain why, on the very day that Monica Lewinsky testified in the grand jury on August 6th of this year, you wore a necktie that she had given you?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, sir, I don't believe I did. What necktie was it?

Q: The necktie you wore on August 6th, sir.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I don't know that it was a necktie that Monica Lewinsky gave me. Can you describe it to me?

Q: Well, I don't want to take time at this point, but we will provide you with photographic evidence of that, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If you give me – I don't believe that's accurate, Mr. Bennett.

Q: So, let me ask the question –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: But if you give it to me, and I look at it and I remember that she gave it to me, I'll be happy to produce it. I do not believe that's right.

Q: Well, if you remember that she gave it to you, why haven't you produced it to the grand jury?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't remember that she gave it to me. That's why I asked you what the tie was. I have –

Q: Can you –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: – no earthly idea. I believe that, that I did not wear a tie she gave me on August the 6th.

Q: Can you tell us why Bayani Nelvis wore a tie that Monica Lewinsky had given you on the day he appeared in the grand jury?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't know that he did.

Q: Have you given Bayani Nelvis any ties, sir?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Oh, yes, a lot of ties.

Q: And so if he wore the tie that you gave him, that Monica Lewinsky had given you, that would not have been by design, is that what you are telling us?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Oh, absolutely not. Let me –

Q: You are not –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: May I explain, Mr. Bennett? It won't –

Q: Yes.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: – take long. Every year, since I've been President, I've gotten quite a large number of ties, as you might imagine. I get, I have a couple of friends, one in Chicago and one in Florida who give me a lot of ties, a lot of other people who send me ties all the time, or give them to me when I see them.

So, I always have the growing number of ties in my closet. What I normally do, if someone gives me a tie as a gift, is I wear it a time or two. I may use it. But at the end of every year, and sometimes two times a year, sometimes more, I go through my tie closet and I think of all the things that I won't wear a lot or that I might give away, and I give them mostly to the men who work there. I give them to people like Glen and Nelvis, who work in the kitchen, back in the White House, or the gentlemen who are my stewards or the butlers or the people, who run the elevators. And I give a lot of ties away a year. I'll bet I – excluding Christmas, I bet I give 30, 40, maybe more ties away a year, and then, of course, at Christmas, a lot. So, there would be nothing unusual if in fact, Nelvis had a tie that originally had come into my tie closet from Monica Lewinsky. It wouldn't be unusual. It wouldn't be by design. And there are several other people of whom that is also true.

Q: Mr. President, I'd like to move to a different area right now. I'd like to ask you some questions about Kathleen Willey. You met Kathleen Willey during your 1992 campaign, isn't that so?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes, sir, I did.

Q: As a matter of fact, you first saw her at a rope line at the Richmond, Virginia airport on October 13, 1992, is that not correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't believe that is correct.

Q: When did you first meet her, sir?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, let me ask you this. When was the debate in Richmond?

Q: I believe it was October 13, 1992, sir.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I believe that I had met her – I believe I had met her before then, because Governor Wilder, I believe that was his last year as governor – I think that's right, 92-93. I believe that I met her in connection with her involvement with Governor Wilder.

And I have the impression – it's kind of a vague memory, but I have the impression that I had met her once before, at least once before I came to that Richmond debate. Now, I'm not sure of that.

Q: Well, at least if you had met her before –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: But I am quite sure she was at the Richmond debate and I did meet her there. I'm quite sure of that.

Q: Mr. President, you've seen television footage of you standing on a rope line with Donald Beyer, Lt. Governor Donald Beyer –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I have.

Q: – asking Mr. Beyer for the name of Kathleen Willey? You've seen that footage, haven't you?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't know that I've seen it, but I am aware that it exists.

Q: All right. And you can see him, you can read his lips. He's saying the name Kathleen Willey in response to a question from you, isn't that so?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's what I've heard.

Q: And, as a matter of fact, you sent Nancy Hernreich, who was present on that day, to go get her telephone number, didn't you, sir?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't believe so.

Q: You don't believe so?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, let me say this. If that is true, then I'm quite certain that I had met her before. I would never call someone out of the blue that I saw on a rope line and send Nancy Hernreich to get her number to do it.

Q: Even if you were just learning her name for the first time?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's correct. I'm not so sure that I didn't ask Don Beyer, if he was on the rope line with me, who she was because I thought I had seen her before or I knew I had seen her before and I didn't remember her name. Now, I do that all the time. For men –

Q: Mr. President –

PRESIDENT CLINTON: – and women.

Q: I'm sorry. Do you recall that you sent Nancy Hernreich for her telephone number?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, I don't.

Q: All right. Do you recall, having received her telephone number, calling her that night?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, sir, I don't.

Q: Do you recall inviting her to meet with you at your hotel that night?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, sir, I do not.

Q: Do you recall where you stayed in Richmond, Virginia during the debates you've told us about?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I stayed at some hotel there, I believe.

Q: Actually, did you stay at the Williamsburg Inn, not in Richmond?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, that's right. We prepared in Williamsburg. That's correct. I believe we prepared in Williamsburg and then went to Richmond for the debate, and then I think we spent the night in Richmond. And the next day, I think we had a rally before we left town. I believe that's right.

    Q: Do you know of any reason Kathleen Willey's telephone number would appear on your toll records from your room in Williamsburg?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, there –

Q: If you didn't call her?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, I'm not denying that I called her, sir. You asked me a specific question. I won't deny that I called her. I don't know whether I did or not.

Q: As a matter of fact, you called her twice that day, didn't you, sir?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't recall. I may well have done it and I don't know why I did it.

Q: Well, does it refresh your recollection that you called her and invited her to come to your room that night, sir?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't believe I did that, sir.

Q: If Kathleen Willey has said that, she's mistaken or lying, is that correct, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I do not believe I did that. That's correct.

Q: But what is your best recollection of that conversation, those conversations?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't remember talking to her. But I – it seems to me that at some point – this is why I believe I had met her before, too. But at some point I had some actual person-to-person conversation with her about my sore throat, or what she thought would be good for it, or something like that. I have some vague memory of that. That's it.

Q: Is this the chicken soup conversation, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I don't know if I would – maybe that's what she said I should have. I don't remember. But I have no recollection, sir, of asking her to come to my room. I – and I – I'm sorry, I don't. I can't – I won't deny calling her. I don't know if I did call her. I don't know if she tried to call me first. I don't know anything about that. I, I just – I met her and Doug Wilder. I remember that she and her husband were active for Governor Wilder, and that's about all I remember, except that I had a conversation with her around the Richmond debate. I do remember talking to her there.

Q: Mr. President, let's move ahead to the episode on November 29, 1993, in which Mrs. Willey met you in your office at the Oval, the subject matter of the "60 Minutes" broadcast a few months ago. You recall that episode?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I certainly do.

Q: Mr. President, in fact, on that date you did make sexual advances on Kathleen Willey, is that not correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's false.

Q: You did grab her breast, as she said?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I did not.

Q: You did place your hand on her groin area, as she said?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, I didn't.

Q: And you placed her hand on your genitals, did you not?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Mr. Bennett, I didn't do any of that, and the questions you're asking, I think, betray the bias of this operation that has troubled me for a long time. You know what evidence was released after the "60 Minutes" broadcast that I think pretty well shattered Kathleen Willey's credibility. You know what people down in Richmond said about her. You know what she said about other people that wasn't true. I don't know if you've made all of this available to the grand jury or not.

She was not telling the truth. She asked for the appointment with me. She asked for it repeatedly.

Q: Did she make a sexual advance on you, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: On that day, no, she did not. She was troubled.

Q: On some other day?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I wouldn't call it a sexual advance. She was always very friendly. But I never took it seriously.

Q: Mr. President, you mentioned the documents that were released and information that came out from people in Richmond, et cetera, after the "60 Minutes" piece was broadcast. As a matter of fact, you were required, under the Court's rulings, to produce those documents in response to document requests by the Jones litigants, isn't that correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No. I believe the Jones litigants' request for production of documents to me ran to documents that were in my personal files and in my personal possessions, and did not cover documents that were White House files. So, I don't believe we were required to produce them.

As a matter of fact, when that story first ran, sir, before "60 Minutes", back in July or so of '97, I was aware that we had some letters. I didn't – I didn't remember that she'd written us as much as she had and called as much as she had, and asked to see me as often as she had, after this alleged incident. I didn't know the volume of contact that she had which undermined the story she has told. But I knew there was some of it.

And I made a decision that I did not want to release it voluntarily after the Newsweek ran the story, because her friend Julie Steele was in the story saying she asked her – she, Kathleen Willey – asked her to lie. And because, frankly, her husband had committed suicide. She apparently was out of money. And I thought, who knows how anybody would react under that. So, I didn't.

But, now when "60 Minutes" came with the story and everybody blew it up, I thought we would release it. But I do not believe we were required to release White House documents to the Jones lawyers.

Q: Mr. President, have you made a decision on whether to stay beyond the four hours we agreed to, to accept questions from the grand jury?

MR. KENDALL: We have made an agreement, Mr. Bennett, to give you four hours, we're going to do that. By my watch, there are about 12 minutes left.

MR. BENNETT: I guess that's no. Is that correct, Mr. Kendall?

MR. KENDALL: Yes, that's correct.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: May I ask this question: Could I have a two-minute break?

MR. BENNETT: Sure.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I'm sorry to bother you with this. I know we're getting to the end, but I need a little break.

(Whereupon the proceedings were recessed from 6:04 p.m. until 6:09 p.m.)

BY MR. STARR:

Q: Mr. President, at various times in this investigation, officials have invoked executive privilege in response to questions that have been posed to them by the grand jury and in the grand jury. One of the grand jurors has posed the question, did you personally authorize the invocation of executive privilege?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If the answer is authorized, I think the answer to that would be yes. But I would like the grand jury to know something.

In the cases where we raised the lawyer client privilege, or executive privilege, or where the Secret Service raised their privilege, and when I say – I had nothing to do with that. I did not authorize it, approve it, or anything else. That was something they asked to be free to make their decision on by themselves.

In none of those cases did I actually have any worry about what the people involved would say. The reason those privileges were advanced and litigated was that I believed that there was an honest difference between Judge Starr and the Office of Independent Counsel, and Mr. Ruff, my counsel, and I about what the proper balance was in the Constitutional framework.

And I did not want to put the Presidency at risk of being weakened as an institution, without having those matters litigated. Now, we've lost some of those matters. Our people have testified and the grand jury is free to conclude whether they believe that the testimony they gave was damaging to me. But I don't, I don't imagine it was and I wasn't worried about it. It was an honest difference of Constitutional principal between Judge Starr and the Office of Independent Counsel and the White House.

Q: Mr. President, a couple of very brief questions, given our time. The White House's outside counsel, Mr. Eggleston, withdrew the White House's appeal from Chief Judge Johnson's ruling that the invocation of executive privilege had to give way to the grand jury's right to the information, that ruling in connection with the testimony of Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Lindsey.

Were you informed of that fact that the appeal had been withdrawn?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I was informed of it and, as a matter of fact, I was consulted about it and I strongly supported it. I didn't want to appeal it.

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Copyright © 1998 by Federal News Service, Inc. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's original duties. Transcripts of other events may be found at the Federal News Service Web site, located at www.fnsg.com.

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