From the Starr Referral:
Lewinsky's Aug. 20 Grand Jury Testimony, Part 1 The following is from a transcript of Monica S. Lewinsky's testimony to the grand jury on Aug. 20 as provided by the Associated Press and transcribed by the Federal Document Clearing House from documents supplied by the House Judiciary Committee. Editor's Note: Some of the language in these documents is sexually explicit.
The testimony of MONICA S. LEWINSKY was taken in the presence of a full quorum of Grand Jury 97-2, impaneled on September 19, 1997, commencing at 9:51 a.m.
Q: Good morning, Ms. Lewinsky.
A: Good morning. As we did with your earlier grand jury testimony, my job is to advise you of your rights and obligations here at the beginning.
First off, you have a right under the Fifth Amendment to refuse to answer any questions that may tend to incriminate you. In this case, that right is qualified by the fact that you've signed an agreement to provide truthful testimony in connection with our investigation. Do you understand that?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: In addition, you have the right to have counsel present outside the grand jury to answer any questions that you may have. Do you have counsel outside?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Who is that?
A: Preston Burton.
Q: And you understand that if you'd like to speak to your counsel, all you have to do is say "Could I take a break and speak with my counsel?"
Q: All right. You also in addition to those two rights, you have an obligation and that obligation is to tell the truth. That obligation is imposed on you because you have been put under oath and also because in connection with your agreement you're required to tell the truth. Do you understand that?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What I have placed in front of you is what is marked as ML-7. This is a chart that you have is earlier testified about of contacts between yourself and the President.
As I indicated to you informally beforehand, this grand jury session today is for you to answer questions from the grand jurors.
And so without any further ado, I will ask the grand jurors if they have any questions of Ms. Lewinsky.
A JUROR: I think I'm going to start out.
A JUROR: Ms. Lewinsky, in your testimony when you were with us on the 6th, you mentioned some of the steps that you took to maintain secrecy regarding your relationship: that you would bring papers or held have papers or either you would accidentally bump into each other in the hallway; you always used Betty as the excuse for you to be waved in; and on many occasions you would go in one door and out of the other door.
A JUROR: Are there any other methods you used that I've missed? That you used to maintain your secrecy?
A: Hmm. I need to think about that for a minute.
A JUROR: And the second part to that question is were these ways to maintain your secrecy your idea or were they recommended to you by anyone?
A: I can answer the second part first.
A JUROR: Okay.
A: If that's okay.
A JUROR: That's fine.
A: Some of them were my idea. Some of them were things that I had discussed with the President. I think it was a mutual understanding between us that obviously we'd both try to be careful.
A JUROR: Do you recall at all specifically which ones he may have recommended to you as an idea on maintaining the secrecy?
A: Yes and no. The issue of Betty being the cover story for when I came to the White House, it became my understanding I think most clearly from the fact that I couldn't come to see him after the election until unless Betty was there to clear me in and that one time when I asked him why, he said because if someone comes to see him, there's a list circulated among the staff members and then everyone would be questioning why I was there to see him. So --
MR. EMICK: Let me try to ask some follow-ups in response to your question. Were there ever any discussions between you and the President about what should be done with letters that you -- letters or notes that you had sent to him? That is to say, is for example, did you ever write on the bottom of any letters what to do with those letters?
A: It was my understanding that obviously he would throw them away or, if he decided to keep them, which I didn't think he did, he would put them somewhere safe. I think what you're referring to is on the bottom once of a sort of joke memo that I sent to him I in a joking manner reminded him to throw the letter away, that it wasn't -- you know, that was a joke. So --
Q: What about whether on your caller ID on your telephone the word POTUS would appear and whether anything was done in order to make sure that POTUS did not appear on your telephone?
A: My caller ID at work; it would -- when the President called from the Oval Office, it would say POTUS and when he'd call from the residence, it was an asterisk. And I told him that. I didn't know if he knew that it said POTUS when he called from the office, and I assumed he didn't, because otherwise that would be sort of silly.
So I informed him of that and then one time he called me from the residence and he -- called on a hard line -- I don't know. I shouldn't say "hard line" because I know that has some different terminology to it, but he called on a line that had a phone number attached to it and so when he called, he said, "Oh, did it ring up, you know, phone number? It didn't say my name, did it?"
And so it was -- that was something that I was concerned about.
Q: Did he ever express to you a reluctance to leave messages on your telephone voice message system?
A: At home?
Q: All right. Tell us about that.
A: One time in a conversation he just said he didn't like to leave messages.
Q: Okay. What about the times that you would visit him? Were those times selected in a way so that there weren't people around or that certain people weren't around?
Q: Okay. Would you tell us about that?
A: There were obviously people at the White House who didn't like me and wouldn't be understanding of why I was coming to see the President or accepting of that and so there was always sort of an effort made that either on the weekends -- when I was working in the White House he told me that it was usually quiet on the weekends and I knew that to be true. And after I left the White House it was always when there weren't going to be a lot of people around.
Q: And what about particular individual people? Would there be particular individual people who would be -- staffers in the oval area that you would try to avoid in order to help conceal the relationship?
A: Yes. Nancy Hernreich, Stephen Goodin, Evelyn Lieberman. Pretty much anybody on the first floor of the West Wing.
Q: How did all these people come to not like you so much? What were you doing? Were you breaking the rules of the White House? What were you doing to draw their attention to not liking you so much? Before the relationship. From the time you got there all the way up to the time what I'm saying is what did you do to deserve for them not to like you?
A: Before the relationship started?
A JUROR: Yes. What did you do from --
A: I don't think there was anything I did before the relationship started that -- the relationship started in November of 1995. I had only been at the White House as an intern in the Old Executive Office Building for -- for a few months, so most of my tenure at the White House I was having a relationship with the President.
I think that the President seemed to pay attention to me and I paid attention to him and I think people were wary of his weaknesses, maybe, and thought -- in my opinion, I mean, this is -- I think that people -- 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, that I was -- I was stalking him or I was making advances towards him.
You know, as they've said, I wore inappropriate clothes, which is absolutely not true. I'm not really sure.
A JUROR: But you do admit a lot of the places that you weren't supposed to be you were always found. You do admit that there were things that you were doing, in order to see him that they were feeling that was going against the rules of the White House?
A JUROR: You know, places that you were -- that you weren't supposed to be and hallways that you weren't supposed to be, you were seen in those places?
A: Yes and no. There really weren't any of these staffers who saw me in the places that I wasn't supposed to be. And that was part of the effort to conceal the relationship. So does that make sense?
I mean, when I was in the Oval Office with the President, no one else knew except for the Secret Service, no one else knew that I went in there. So for them to know -- for them to be disliking me for that reason, I don't think that they were really -- I don't know if they were aware of is that or not.
I did make an effort, I think, to try to have interactions with the President and I think that was probably disturbing to them. I know that if the President was in the hall and he was talking to people and I passed by, he'd stop talking and say hi to me. I'm not really sure.
A JUROR: Just a follow-up to that.
A JUROR: If they didn't see you, well, how did they know?
A: I don't know what they knew. I -- you know, I -- I'm not sure -- I --
A JUROR: Because if you said you made an effort to hide yourself, you know, so you wouldn't see them, the Secret Service are the ones that saw you --
A JUROR: Okay. So, I mean, how would they -- how did they know that you were there, you know, to want to keep you away from being there?
A: I don't know. Maybe -- I -- I mean, I've heard reported in the newspapers and on TV that the Secret Service, someone said something to Evelyn Lieberman and I had had an -- I don't know if I went over this the last time I was here, I had had a real negative interaction with Nancy Hernreich early on in my tenure at the White House and so --
I think there was also -- I'm a friendly person and -- and I didn't know it was a crime in Washington for people -- for you to want people to like you and so I was friendly. And I guess I wasn't supposed to be.
A JUROR: So that interaction that you had with Evelyn Lieberman was when she was telling you what?
A: She stopped me in the hall and she asked me where I worked, in which office I worked, and I told her Legislative Affairs in the East Wing.
And she said, "You're always trafficking up this area." You know, "You're not supposed to be here. Interns aren't allowed to go past the Oval Office."
And she -- she really startled me and I walked away and I went down to the bathroom and I was crying because -- I mean, when -- you know, when an older woman sort of chastises you like that, it's upsetting.
And then I thought about what she said and I realized that, well, I wasn't an intern any more. I was working there. And I kind of believe in clear communication, so I went back to Evelyn Lieberman, to Ms. Lieberman, and I -- I said, "You know, I just wanted to clarify with you that I work here, I'm not an intern. So, you know, I am allowed to go past the Oval Office." I don't think I said that, but I had a blue pass.
And she looked at me and said, "They hired you?" And I was startled and then she said, "Oh, well, I think I mistook you for someone else or some other girl with dark hair who keeps trafficking up the area." And ever since then -- and that was maybe in December or January of '95 or '96. So --
A JUROR: Ms. Lewinsky, were you ever reprimanded or chastised by your immediate supervisor in Legislative Affairs for trafficking up the area or being where you weren't supposed to be or being away from your desk too much? Anything like that?
A: Being away from my desk had been mentioned to me, but trafficking up the area and being where I'm not supposed to be, no.
I -- the -- I had a view of -- and this is sort of my view with work is that you get a lot more done and people are a lot more willing to help you when you have a personal interaction with them. And so the person who held the job before me would fax the drafts of his letters to the staff secretary's office and then at some point during the day when someone got the draft they would make the changes and then fax it back.
And I found it to be much more effective to take things over to the staff secretary's office and interact with the person -- I can't remember her name -- Helen -- to interact with Helen and have Helen edit the letters right then and there and then I could go back and to me it was a faster process.
So there was also -- you know, I also wanted to try to see the President. So, I mean, I did make efforts to try to see him in the hall or something like that because --
A JUROR: So the route to the staff person's office was a route that you could still veer off and see the President?
A: No. It -- it wasn't necessarily in front of the Oval Office or anything. There were -- we also had -- let me see if I can explain this. I'm sure you guys know by now that the West Wing is three stories. There's the basement, the first floor and the second floor.
Legislative Affairs has an office on the second floor of the West Wing. There are two ways to get to that office -- or three ways, I guess. There's the West Wing, you can cut across the West Wing lobby, which is where people coming to visit someone in the White House sit. There's going the back way, which you pass the Oval Office, but the door's always closed when the President's in there. And then you can go all the way down the stairs and all the way around and then all the way up two flights of stairs.
When I first started working there, it didn't seem appropriate to walk through the West -- to me, it didn't seem appropriate to walk through the West Wing lobby with papers when there were people who were visitors coming to sit and wait. I just -- I didn't think that was appropriate during the business time.
So I went the other way, behind -- which went past the Oval oOffice, not knowing that -- I guess you're not supposed to do that. It seemed silly. The door's closed and it's locked. And there wasn't this intention to see the President that way. So, am I -- did I answer your question?
A JUROR: Yes.
A: Okay. I'm sorry.
MR. EMMICK: You know, one thing I might do is circle back to try to pick up some more concealment methods.
A JUROR: Okay.
MR. EMMICK: Because you asked the question are there any other methods.
A JUROR: Yes.
MR. EMMICK: And I can ask a few more questions that might direct us in that area.
MR. EMMICK: For example, you have indicated earlier that it was Betty Currie who waved you in all the times during 1997 that you saw the President. Did you ever talk with the President about whether he could wave you in instead or whether it would be a good idea for him to wave you in personally?
A: Yes. I think that that's what I mentioned earlier.
Q: Oh, okay.
A: That he and I had discussed it and he said he couldn't do that because then it would be on a list.
Q: Okay. What about -- you had mentioned that you took a different route into the Oval Office than you would take out of the Oval Office. In addition, did you ever take routes to get to the Oval Office that seemed calculated to avoid certain Secret Service or White House personnel?
A: Not Secret Service, but I liked or I preferred to sort of meet up with him and then we'd walk in together. And I preferred to go in through the Rose Garden because then I wasn't going -- I wasn't risking the possibility of running into someone in the hall right outside the Oval Office.
Q: So, what about the routes that Betty would walk you in from the gates?
A: Oh. When -- there were certain Secret Service officers who were friendly with Debi Schiff who Betty wanted to try to avoid because I guess they chatted with Debi Schiff a lot and there's a whole long story with Debi Schiff, so --
Q: And would that be another way that you would help conceal your meetings with the President?
A: We only did that, I think, twice. And the first time, it really was an accident. And so then the next time that we did that, I said you know, before -- he would call me in my office before I would come see him and we'd figure out what we were going to do.
And I think I -- I know I suggested to him, I said: "I really like that because then it's just easier, it seems." And also, I -- for me personally, I didn't -- I didn't always want to be the one that was being seen going in. Does that make sense?
So that I wasn't always bringing in the papers and it was me going to him, that in this instance if someone saw it, being the Secret Service, he invited me. So -- for me, that just made me feel better.
Copyright © 1998 The Washington Post Company