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Excerpts From Vernon Jordan's Testimony

Friday, October 2, 1998

Following are Associated Press excerpts from presidential confidant Vernon E. Jordan's grand jury testimony. The transcripts were among the evidence that the House Judiciary Committee released Friday.

Excerpts from Jordan's March 3, 1998, testimony:

... Q: ... You're often reported, at least in the press, as being a friend and advisor to President Clinton. Do you believe that's an accurate characterization?

JORDAN: I think that is accurate. ...

... Q: When is the first time that you recall hearing anything about Monica Lewinsky ... ?

A: ... The first time I ever heard the name Monica Lewinsky is when Ms. Betty Currie called me about Monica Lewinsky. ... It was early December, I believe.

Q: ... At the time when you first would have heard about Monica Lewinsky, did you have any reason to believe that she might be a witness or possibly called or implicated in the Paula Jones litigation?

A: I did not.

Q: When would be the time when you first learned that Monica Lewinsky was somehow being subpoenaed or might be a witness in the Paula Jones issue?

A: I think it was the 19th of December when ... Monica Lewinsky called me to tell me that she had been served with a subpoena. ...

Q: ... Now ... focusing on the call from Ms. Currie, why don't you go ahead and tell us about that? You said you believe that it was in early December?

A: ... I was in my office. Betty Currie called and she said, ``Mr. Jordan, there's a former White House intern, her name is Monica Lewinsky and she would like and I am requesting your help in finding her a job in New York. She would like to work in the private sector and would you be helpful?'' And I said, ``I'm happy to be helpful.''

Q: Had Betty Currie ever called you before and asked you to help anyone get a job?

A: I don't think so, but I would not rule it out. ... but I think that this is the first time that I did get a call from Betty Currie about a job for someone. ...

Q: ... did Betty Currie indicate at all in that conversation that the request was being made on behalf of anyone other than herself or Monica Lewinsky?

A: She did not.

... I said, ``Have her call me up and I will do what I can to be helpful.''

... Q: What's the next thing you recall concerning Ms. Lewinsky?

A: She called. ... She said, ``Betty Currie called you?'' I said, ``Yes.'' And I said, ``I would like to see you and ... would you bring with you your resume?'' ... She came to see me on the 11th (of December).

... Q: ... Did you get any other information prior to meeting with Ms. Lewinsky on the 11th? ...

A: No.

Q: Did you have any understanding as of the 11th as to whether she had any kind of relationship with President Clinton?

A: I did not.

Q: Did you ever have an understanding as to whether she even knew him?

A: It was not an issue for me at that time. ...

Q: Now, let me ask you, when did she express the interest in public relations to you?

A: In the telephone conversation when I first asked her what her interests were and when she came to see me. ...

... Q: So she met with you at your law firm on the 11th? ... So tell us about that meeting. ...

A: First I sensed some anxiety on her part to get a job and to get it quickly. She said that she had to be out of her Watergate apartment that she told me she shared with her mother by the end of the year and that if she could get a job by the first of the year when she got to New York that that would be terrific ...

... There is a tendency for young people to think that you can move mountains instantly and so I think that she thought that if she came to see me on the 11th that she would have a job on the 12th ...I had to spend some time telling her that this takes time and that I could not assure her that she would have a job by next week or the first of the year ...

... Q: How did she react ...

A: Well, I think she was somewhat surprised ...

Q: ... Did you ask her anything about her background?

A: I talked to her about Lewis & Clark College, where she had gone to school. I talked to her about her experience at the White House. She said it was not exactly a pleasant experience in that she felt like some people did not want her there.

Q: Did she indicate why?

A: I didn't ask. ...

... Q: Did at any point during this process you wonder about her qualifications for employment?

A: No, because that was not my judgement to make.

Q: Why not?

A: Because I was not doing the hiring. She was not coming to work for me. And I have confidence in the people with whom I associate that they, based on their own criteria, can make the judgement. ...

... Q. ... Did you call anyone else on behalf of Ms. Lewinsky?

... A: No. ... I had a conversation with the President, and as part of that conversation, I said to him that Betty Currie had called me about Monica Lewinsky. And the conversation was that he knew about her situation, which was that she was pushed out of the White House, that she wanted to go to New York, and he thanked me for helping her. ...

... Q: Did he encourage you to keep trying?

A: No, he just thanked me ...

...Q: Did the President say anything to you in that conversation to make you think that he had any kind of relationship on a personal level with Ms. Lewinsky, platonic or otherwise?

A: He did not. ...

... A: We discussed salary in some general way ... it was clear that Ms. Lewinsky thought that her experiences at the White House and at the Defense Department meant that her value, as she saw it, in the private sector was greater than what I thought the market would bear. ...

... Q: ... it seems strange that a person of your caliber would make such high-level calls on behalf of someone as new to the working world as Ms. Lewinsky ...

... A: ... it is not strange to me that I would in fact be helpful. ...

...Q: Did the fact that it was Ms. Currie, the President's secretary, who called you about Ms. Lewinsky, make you think that the President might have suggested to Ms. Currie ... to contact you about her?

A: No, just logic would tell me that if the president's secretary called me about somebody that I would tell the president. I mean, I did not view this as a big thing ...

... Q. Were you surprised that (the president) recognized (Lewinsky's) name?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A. I've been around this president a very long time ... and he's never forgotten a name or a face ...

Q: Can you approximate how many times you believe that you actually spoke with Ms. Lewinsky after your meeting with her in your office on the 11th and before she called you on the 19th indicating she had gotten a subpoena?

A: I cannot tell you the number of calls. The records would reflect that. ...

Q: ... Is it your conclusion that to some degree she was pestering you?

A: ... It was slightly inconveniencing and slightly annoying, yes.

... Q: Did you ... begin to think that her persistence, in fact, bordering on annoyance in calling you, was a negative trait?

A: No. No, because I've seen that same trait in very mature, successful, well-paid individuals.

Q: Other than the initial calls you had with the representatives of Young & Rubicam, American Express and McAndrews & Forbes that you have told us about, did you have any further discussions with anyone at any of those companies between the 11th and the 19th about Ms. Lewinsky?

A: I certainly did not at Young & Rubicam. At some point, Ursie Fairburn at American Express called and said, ``We've interviewed her and there is nothing here for her.''

... Q: Did you have any discussions with Ms. Currie about Ms. Lewinsky up to the 19th other than the one when she originally called you?

A: Yes. I think at some point I may have said to Betty, ``She is in a hurry,'' or something. ...

... Q: What happened on the 19th to make you aware that she might be a witness in the Paula Jones case?

A: She called me up, very upset, crying on the telephone, saying that she had been served with a subpoena in the Paula Jones case. ... And I said to her, ``Why don't you come to my office?'' ...

... Q: If Ms. Currie had had any basis to believe that Ms. Lewinsky could be a witness in the Paula Jones case, would have expected Ms. Currie to tell you that?

A: I believe that had Ms. Currie known that, that she would have told me.

Q: If the President had any reason to believe that Ms. Lewinsky could be called as a witness in the Paula Jones case, would you have expected him to tell you that ...?

A: And I think he would have.

... Q: In between getting off the telephone with her on the 19th and her actually coming and meeting with you on the 19th, did you speak with anyone about Monica Lewinksy at all?

A: Don't think so.

... Q: ... How long would you say that you met with her ...?

A: Forty-five minutes maybe. I don't know.

... Q: What would be the first thing you addressed with her during that meeting?

A: Well, her emotional state was obviously one of dishevelment and she was quite upset. She was crying. She was -- she was highly emotional, to say the least.

... Q: Now, did she show you the subpoena right off the bat or did you discuss other topics other than her emotional state?

A: She showed me the subpoena as soon as she came in.

Q: OK. Did you read the subpoena?

A: Looked at it.

... Q: You made reference earlier to the fact that you recall from her resume or otherwise you knew that Ms. Lewinsky had been an intern at the White House. Did you know that she ever worked in Legislative Affairs at the White House?

A: I have some vague recollection ... .

Q: And do you think you would have known that as of that time?

A: It was also on her resume. ...

Q: Now, when she came to you or called you on the 19th on the Paula Jones matter, roughly how long do you think that call was? This is the one where she was very upset and told you that she had been subpoenaed.

... A: I I don't think it was a long call. She was obviously upset. She was obviously crying. And I thought one way to deal with that was to ask her to come in and that's what I did.

... Q: Now, what conversations, if any, as of December 19th, going back in time, had you had with President Clinton about the allegations against him in the Paula Jones case?

A: I have not discussed the Paula Jones case in terms of its factual context with the President of the United States.

... Q: So neither the president nor any of his attorneys, be it in White House counsel or outside attorneys, have ever shown you any documents relating to that litigation, correct?

A: No, sir. ... I have not been involved in document production, I have not read any documents. I have not been exposed to any documents having to do with the Paula Jones case, in large part because I am not the lawyer. Robert Bennett is the lawyer.

... Q: You indicated that you may have had conversations not of a substantive nature but about whether or not the President potentially should or shouldn't settle that case. Who would you have had those conversations with?

A: I've had a conversation with the President about it. I've had a conversation with Bob Bennett about it. ...I've had conversations about settling the Paula Jones case long before I ever heard the name Monica Lewinsky.

... Q: Did the fact that Monica Lewinsky could be a witness in the Paula Jones affect your opinion as to whether or not the president should settle the Paula Jones case?

A: I did not know until the 19th of December that Monica Lewinsky was in any way involved at all in the Paula Jones case. I found out then when she showed me the subpoena or told me on the telephone that she had the subpoena to appear in the Paula Jones case.

And so I had -- so Monica Lewinsky or any discussions about settling were two different worlds until the 19th. And when I talked to her on the 19th, I did not talk to her about settlement, I talked to her about the problem. ... It's always been my opinion that the case should be settled...

Q: I understand. And there have been times when you have shared that opinion with either the president or some of the people you have mentioned?

A: That is correct.

... Q: Did you discuss any terms of the subpoena with (Lewinsky)?

... A: I asked her if there had been any gifts and she said there had been gifts. It was clear to me that there was more than fear here as a result of this document. And the conversation increasingly demonstrated to me that there was on the part of Ms. Lewinsky a sort of -- shall I say -- fascination, that she was taken with the President and ... I asked her directly had there been any sexual relationship between she and the President.

And she said that she had not had a sexual relationship with the President and I took her at her word on that. And suggested to her that she needed a lawyer, told her that she should tell the truth and I told her that I would help her get a lawyer.

...And she said ``The president is a friend of mine and I really have great admiration for the president.'' And I thought quite honestly that I was listening to a bobby soxer who was mesmerized by Frank Sinatra, who was quite taken with this man because of his position, because of who he was, because he was tall and he was handsome and because he was president. That was clear to me ...

Q: ...What exactly would have been the question that you would have asked?

A: Have you had sexual relationships with the President?

... Q: So ... you meant solely did she have sexual intercourse with him?

A: Yes. I meant sexual intercourse. Period. ... I didn't ask her if they kissed, I didn't ask if they caressed, all of which, as I understand it, is a part of the act of sex. ...

Q: ... I would like you to assume that in fact Ms. Lewinsky had oral sex with the president for purposes of answering this next question. ... Do you consider the answer that she gave you on that day ``I didn't have sexual relations or relationship with the president'' to be true or false? ...

A: I am not going to address a hypothetical, nor am I going to address some assumption. ...

Q: ... Did you ask her anything or did she say anything else that filled in to any degree the nature of the relationship?

A: Yes. She said that she had conversations with the president, that she talked to the president. And I said, ``When and how did you talk to the president?'' She said, ``I talk to him on the phone.'' And I accepted that and she said when she was in the White House from time to time that she would be around and she would get the chance to see the president. I did not pursue with her the nature of her seeing the president. ...

Q: When you say you didn't get around to it, you just didn't ask? Did you purposely not ask her?

A: I purposely did not ask her.

Q: Why?

A: I thought I'd heard enough. ...

Q: Did it strike you as unusual that this intern had been exchanging gifts and potentially gifts of the nature listed here with the president?

A: No. These cuff links are a gift from the president. People go in and out of his office, you get golf ball, you get a cuff link. ... Somewhat unusual that there was an exchange, but I accepted that. ...

(Prosecutors try to establish that it was unusual for an intern to have such a relationship and access to the president.)

... Q: Do you recall any additional discussions at all with Ms. Lewinsky about any aspect of this subpoena, at least during the meeting that you had with her in your office on December 19?

A: Any discussion about the subpoena was very brief. I was concentrating on her own emotion, her own problems, and concentrating on the notion that she really needed counsel. ...

Q: In light of her (saying she did not have an inappropriate relationship with the president), were you surprised at the degree to which she was upset about obtaining this subpoena in the Paula Jones case?

A: No. It seemed to me to be a reasonable reaction to getting a subpoena.

Q: And what do you base that on?

A: Who wants to get a subpoena in a case involving the president of the United States. ...

Q: Did you tell her -- you indicated to her during the meeting that she should get an attorney, correct?

A: I told her that I would help her. ...

... Q: Tell us step by step what happened after she got to your office. You said the meeting was about 45 minutes.

A: I could see this fear and she showed me the subpoena, we talked about the subpoena, we talked about the gifts. I asked her about this relationship.

What I did not say is that during the course of this conversation, Ms. Lewinsky asked me if I thought that the president would leave the first lady at the end of his term and that ... was a very both frightening and, from my point of view, unrealistic question about the president, so I just said that's a really crazy notion on your part, that that would happen, and that I was confident that they would be together 'til death do them part. ... It was that statement that certainly sent alarm bells off in my mind as to this kind of fixation, this kind of possessive, bobby-soxer attitude that I felt that she had towards the president. ...

Q: ... What else did you query her about?

A: I mostly listened as she emoted about her time in the White House, ... you know, ``Why is this happening to me and how am I going to handle it?'' And I said, ``That's why you need counsel. That's why you need a lawyer and I will help you find a lawyer and I will help you find a job.'' And that process, of course, was ongoing. ...

Q: Did she ever indicate in essence she was frustrated by the situation? ...

A: Yes, she did. She said, ``I don't ever hear from the president,'' and I said to her, I said, ``He is the leader of the free world, he has Iraq, he has IMF, he has Southeast Asia. ... He's a very busy guy.'' I'm sure I said to her, ``You know, I don't hear from him every day, either.'' ...

... Q: Did the degree of emotion that she exhibited on the phone and at that meeting cause you to again question her characteristics in terms of someone that was looking for a job in New York?

A: No. I did not question her characteristics. I understood that she was looking at a job in New York and I was doing something about that. ...

... Q: Do you agree with me that ... she could have had a sort of one-sided fascination with the president.

A: I don't know anything about whether it was one-sided, two-sided or four-sided. ...

... Q: Did she ever indicate ... that she was concerned about herself possibly getting in trouble? ...

A: She was concerned about the subpoena. ...

Q: Did she ever during that meeting indicate any concern about not wanting to get the president in trouble? ...

A: ... She thought the president was being legally harassed and unfairly so. ...

Q: How did you leave it with Monica when you concluded your meeting with her on the 19th? ...

A: That I would find her a lawyer and would make arrangements for she and the lawyer to get together.

... Q: OK. What did you tell him (the lawyer, Frank Carter)?

A: ``Frank, I've got a case I think you'd be interested in. It's a subpoena in the Paula Jones case for a person who works at the Defense Department. Her name is Monica Lewinsky. She's a former White House intern, worked in the legislative office. You give me a time and I'll bring her to see you.''

... Q: Did you speak to anyone from the time you put the phone down on Friday, the 19th, to the time you went with Mrs. Lewinsky on Monday, the 22nd, about -- we'll call it the Monica Lewinsky issue? ...

A: Yes. I talked to the president of the United States.

... Q: Tell us what you told the president.

A: I told him that Monica Lewinsky had been subpoenaed, came to me with a subpoena. I told him that I was concerned by her fascination, her being taken with him. I told him how emotional she was about having gotten the subpoena. I told him what she said to me about whether or not he was going to leave the first lady at the end of the term. And at the end of that, I asked him if he had had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.

... Q: ... What did you say about a subpoena?

A: I said, ``She's been subpoenaed, Mr. President.''

Q: Now, at that point, what if anything did the president say to you?

A: He listened.

... Q. What was the question you asked?

A: ``Mr. President, have you had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky?'' The president said, ``No, never.''

... Q. ... When you used that term (sexual relations) what did you subjectively mean by it?

A: Sexual relations. Period. And I don't define it any other way than sexual relations and I'm not going where you want to take me. ...

... Q: ... Have you ever between December 19 and today had any conversations with anybody other than us here today about what is meant by the term sexual relations or sexual relationship?

A: No, you're the only person to ask me that.

Q: You've never discussed that with the president in the time between the 19th and now?

A: No. No.

... Q: ... Do you have any reason to think that when you asked Ms. Lewinsky about sexual relations, the sexual relationship question, that she could have construed it kind of in relation to a future deposition in the Jones v. Clinton case?

A: I don't have any idea about that. ...

... Q: Have you ever seen Ms. Lewinsky's signed affidavit in the Paula Jones case?

... A: ... I did see it. Yes.

... Q: Did you ever discuss with Ms. Lewinsky what she was going to include in the affidavit?

A: I was not Ms. Lewinsky's lawyer. The answer to that is no.

Q: Did you ever discuss with Mr. Carter what was going to be included in the affidavit?

A: ... The answer to that is no.

Excerpts from Jordan's March 5, 1998, testimony:

Q: At any time up until the 22nd when you were discussing with Ms. Lewinsky her feelings and/or relationship with the president, do you ever think you said words to her to the effect of ``You're in love'' to her?

A: I don't recall suggesting to her that she was in love. I do recall, as I said to you, this wide-eyed bobby-sox-type fascination, but whether I said to her ``Are you in love?'' or ``You're in love'' I don't know. That's a very difficult term to ascribe to people. But it was very clear to me that she was quite taken.

... Q: Do you believe that you would have said anything to her conveying to her that you recognized that she was quite taken with the president?

A: I doubt it.

Q: I'm sorry?

A: I doubt that I would have.


Q: Let's go through the call as best we can. Did she tell you any details about the problems that she had?

A: No. I was not interested in the details. Again, I was not her lawyer. I had found her very competent counsel. I was satisfied with that. And what problems she had with what had been drafted for her signature I felt was for her to work out with her counsel and said that to her.

Q: Can you -- as best you can tell us, describe or tell us what words she would have used to convey to you that she had problems with what had been drafted for her.

A: I don't know which of the paragraphs she has problems with. What I remember is that Ms. Lewinsky views herself as a person who has some writing ability and a PR person and so my sense was that she was looking at this document in that light and I simply said to her, ``Whatever problems you have with this document, you have to work them out with Mr. Carter.


Q: Did the president initiate that conversation about the status of Ms. Lewinsky and a lawyer or did you?

A: I initiated the conversation because I had had her in my office, she needed a lawyer and I told him that Monica Lewinsky, I had gotten her a lawyer. Keep in mind that we are friends, keep in mind that he knew that I was helping her get a job, keep in mind that I felt some responsibility to tell him what was going on. And so I did that. It was not a staged conversation, it was not a concentrated conversation, it was a report to my friend. I got Monica Lewinsky a lawyer. Period.

Q: When you had this conversation with the president, was that the main topic you discussed in the conversation with him?

A: Monica Lewinsky was never the main topic of any conversation with the president. The president and I talk about, as I have indicated to you, a lot of things. And among the items that we discussed, I informed him that I had gotten a lawyer for Monica Lewinsky, in much the same way that I informed him that she had signed the affidavit


Q: You had indicated to us on Tuesday that from ... December up until the 19th when you heard about the subpoena she was calling you frequently about the job and bordering on pestering, is that right?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you say that she was also doing the same in the timeframe from the 22nd up until when she showed you the affidavit?

A: Well, she had taken a test, she had been interviewed at both Young & Rubicam, American Express, and at Revlon, so she felt some movement certainly, but she did not have a job.

Q: Was the frequency of calls from her to you to the point where it was bordering on annoyance?

A: I am aware of the frequency and given the other pressures in my office, I am aware that I found it inconvenient sometimes, but I took the call.

Q: She was calling you more often than you would have liked.

A: That's right. But that is not unusual with people who are looking for work.

... A: ...I had two purposes with Ms. Lewinsky. The first was to get her a job. Eventually, I accomplished that. On the 19th, she had another problem with a subpoena. I told her I'd get her a lawyer and I did that on the 22nd and took her to him. ...

Q: Now, when you first got involved with Monica Lewinsky, it was your understanding that she was just someone who Betty Currie was asking you to get a job?

A: Right.

Q: So your first knowledge is this is someone they want you to help get a job --

A: Betty Currie, not they. Betty Currie.

Q: Okay. That Betty Currie wants you to help get a job and you agree to help and you try to help, correct?

A: And I did help.

Q: Then later on, you learn that Monica Lewinsky is someone who has been subpoenaed in the Paula Jones case --

A: And I got her a lawyer.

Q: Correct. And then finally on Jan. 18, you're now given information that alleges that Monica Lewinsky had some sort of relationship with the president. Is that right?

A: Right.

Q: How did you feel once you learned this third layer of information?

A: Felt very good because I had, as I said to you on Tuesday, conversations on the 19th with both the president and Monica Lewinsky about sexual relations and I got negative answers from both of them, so there was nothing for me to be concerned about. ...

... Q: OK. Why don't you tell us about your conversation with Mr. (Lewinsky lawyer Frank) Carter, what you guys discussed.

A: I gave him the Drudge Report ... and I said to him, ``This might be useful to you. This is some new information that I have, I got this fax of the Drudge Report, and I thought you might like to have it.'' ... He, like me, had never heard of the Drudge Report. We discussed its credibility or lack thereof ...

... Q: Well, when you say he obviously knew about the Drudge Report, how do you know he knew about the Drudge Report?

A: He acknowledged in some way he knew about the Drudge Report and I think it's fair to say he was as surprised at this Drudge Report that reported that there had been these taped conversations with this person named Linda Tripp.

Q: ... What did he say or do that made you conclude that?

A: Well, I think we were both in a state of surprise about it. It was new information. I did not know it and he obviously in my judgment did not know it, but he knew it at the time, but when he got it, he was, I think, as surprised as I was.

... Q: Did he make any comment to you at all abut the Drudge Report or the content therein?

A: We did not discuss the content of it. It was just sort of an incredulous state, I think, that we both found ourselves in about it, that this was going on and this was somehow in this report. I think incredulity is the only way I can explain it. There it was.

Q: Did you either impliedly or directly ask the president during that meeting whether there was any truth in anything --

A: I did not.

... A: I had satisfied myself about the truth on the 19th. ...

... Q: But you had also told us that you ended up devoting more time to the kind of care and feeding of Monica herself.

A: I did. She was a young lady obviously in trouble, and I helped her. I'm not apologetic about it. It is what it is. ...

... Q: Did the two of you ever discuss the issues of whether or not you could be caught or get in trouble for what you said in a civil deposition or a civil trial?

A: I have read -- I have read that in a newspaper. And it is quite stunning to me. I am old enough, wise enough, and smart enough not to opine about something that I don't know anything about. ...

... Q: You testified yesterday that you said something to effect of ... ``When you can't reach him, or if you need to talk, you know, you can call me'' -- something to that effect. Why did you feel that you were in a position to take those calls, given that you wouldn't necessarily know what she had been talking to the president about, or wanting to talk with him about?

A: All I saw was frustration. And I thought that if I could somehow help her with her frustration, I as prepared to do that.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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