On Tapes, Lewinsky Describes Alleged Trysts With Clinton
By Kathy Sawyer and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 25, 1998; Page A18
In an affidavit given on Jan. 7, Monica Lewinsky said she and President Clinton never had a sexual relationship. But in more than 20 hours of conversations with Linda R. Tripp, a supposed friend who was secretly taping her, Lewinsky described an 18-month involvement that included late-night trysts at the White House featuring oral sex.
Few journalists have heard even a portion of these audio tapes, which include one made under the auspices of the FBI. Lewinsky herself has not commented on the tapes publicly. And yet they have been the subject of numerous news accounts and the fodder for widespread speculation. Following are descriptions of key discussions recorded on the tapes, information that The Washington Post has obtained from sources who have listened to portions of them.
The sources have characterized Lewinsky's moods as ranging from excitement to school-girlish petulance and jealousy, from whining to bitterness and emotional devastation, but such judgments based on an audio tape are open to debate.
Her statements represent unchecked assertions and allegations. At one point in the tapes, Lewinsky says she has been brought up to tell lies in order to get along in life.
Clinton's attorney, Robert S. Bennett, would not address the specific graphic descriptions in the tapes yesterday, but chastised the media for reporting such salaciousness. "I'm very disappointed that The Washington Post, one of the preeminent newspapers in the country, is becoming a tabloid paper," he said. "Next we'll be buying it in supermarkets."
Lewinsky suggests to Tripp that she and Clinton had been having a genuine romance. She grows emotionally distraught, crying audibly during talks with Tripp through the fall of 1997, as the president begins to distance himself from her. Lewinsky is crushed when she begins to suspect that Clinton is turning his attentions to other women. This change in their relationship has been triggered by published reports of his possible harassment of another employee, Kathleen Willey.
But, as Lewinsky's physical encounters with Clinton diminish, their bouts of "phone sex" over the lines between the White House and her apartment at the Watergate increase, she tells Tripp.
- After she is transferred from the White House to a Pentagon job, Lewinsky shows her increasing bitterness, referring to Clinton as "the creep." She wants to move back to the White House. Tripp asks her in what capacity. "Special assistant to the president for [oral sex]," Lewinsky answers.
Lewinsky also acknowledges that she had become known around the White House as "the Stalker" because she was always trying to get close to Clinton.
- Lewinsky tells Tripp that she has an article of clothing with Clinton's semen on it. She speaks of exchanging other gifts and letters with Clinton.
- Lewinsky tells Tripp that she [Lewinsky] intends to deny any sexual relationship when she is deposed by Paula Jones's lawyers. "Look," she says, "I will deny it so he will not get screwed in the case, but I'm going to get screwed personally." Tripp responds, "This is sick, this is sick."
At another point, Lewinsky says that if she had to tell Clinton she has shared their guilty secret with Tripp, "I'm just going to [expletive] kill myself."
- The women discuss a plan to have Tripp injure her foot and be hospitalized at the time of the Jones case deposition. Lewinsky breaks off to take a call from her mother, Marcia Lewis. Returning to her talk with Tripp, she says her mother "understands why you think it's necessary to tell the truth. She said [the plan to avoid the deposition by having an accident] is brilliant."
- In a discussion of whether there is any hard evidence against them, Lewinsky says: "Nobody saw him give me any of those things, and nobody saw anything happen between us."
Tripp: "Are you positive that nobody saw you in the study?"
Lewinsky: "I'm absolutely positive."
Tripp suggests they might subpoena phone records. "I'm sure he calls on some sort of special phone," Lewinsky responds. "You know he got caught once [by using a regular phone]. . . ."
- On another tape, sources said, Lewinsky tells Tripp that Clinton has urged her not to worry about the Jones case because Jones's lawyers "are not going to find out about you." Then, when she is contacted by Jones's lawyers in mid-December, she calls the president and asks, "What do I do?" One source paraphrased the president's response, as conveyed by Lewinsky: "You must deny this."
The president tells Lewinsky he is sending attorney Vernon E. Jordan Jr., his close friend, over to talk to her. She says she told Jordan she was worried about lying, asking, "What if they catch me?" He told her, she says, that they don't send people to jail for perjury in civil cases.
Lewinsky also talks in one tape about giving Clinton and Jordan a list of New York public relations firms where she would like to work, sources said.
- On a more recent tape, sources said, Lewinsky again pleads with Tripp to tell Jones's lawyers under oath that Lewinsky did not have an intimate relationship with Clinton and to disavow Tripp's own earlier eyewitness account in the Willey matter. (Lewinsky also provided Tripp with a set of written talking points to buttress her testimony exonerating Clinton.)
It was this emotional encounter with Lewinsky that prompted Tripp to contact authorities and turn over her tapes, sources said. The next day, Jan. 13, Tripp was at a hotel at the Pentagon City shopping mall, talking to Lewinsky while wearing a wire for the FBI.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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