Clinton Accused Special Report
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Initial White House Rebuttal to Starr Report

From Clinton lawyer David Kendall's response to independent counsel Kenneth Starr's report to the House. See table of contents.


III.THE PRESIDENT'S TESTIMONY ABOUT MS. LEWINSKY

In his grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, the President acknowledged having had an improperly intimate relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. This is enormously difficult for any person to do even in private, much less in public.

It is important to recognize that the improper relationship with Ms. Lewinsky ended in early 1997, at the President's behest. It therefore had been over for almost a year at the time of the President's deposition in the Jones case. From feelings both of friendship and responsibility, the President remained in touch with Ms. Lewinsky after the improper relationship ended and tried to help her: none of this help was improper or conditioned on her behaving (or testifying) in any particular way.

It is not true that the President had an improper 18-month relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, as several media reports have alleged. In his grand jury deposition, he testified that on certain occasions in early 1996 and once in early 1997, he engaged in improper conduct with Ms. Lewinsky. These encounters did not consist of sexual intercourse, and they did not consist of "sexual relations" as he understood that term to be defined at his Jones deposition on January 17, 1998 (explained infra), but they did involve inappropriate intimate contact. These inappropriate encounters ended, at the President's insistence, in early 1997, not because of the imminence of discovery, not because of the Jones case (which the Supreme Court had not yet decided), but because he knew they were wrong. On August 17, 1998, the President expressed regret to the grand jury and, later, to the country, that what began as a friendship came to include this conduct, and he took full responsibility. He has frequently, to different audiences, made similar expressions of regret and apology.

In this investigation, no stone has been left unturned – or (we believe) unthrown. In simple fairness, therefore, it is important to distinguish between what the President has acknowledged and what the OIC merely alleges (on the basis of evidence we have not yet seen).


© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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