^AP-Clinton-Intern-Q&A, 1st Ld-Writethru, a0648,1030
^ABC's of the Lewinsky investigation
^Eds: SUBS 6th graf, A: If true, to CORRECT date of deposition to Jan. 17
^With AM-Clinton-Intern, Bjt
^By NANCY BENAC= ^Associated Press Writer=
WASHINGTON (AP) It was just three weeks ago that President Clinton completed an extraordinary six-hour deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Clinton was asked then, in private, about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern.
Now the relationship is the subject of a Whitewater prosecutor's investigation. Here's a primer on a crisis that has entangled the Clinton presidency.
Q: What is the core issue?
A: Did President Clinton have an affair with Ms. Lewinsky, and did he urge her to cover it up or ask his adviser Vernon Jordan to do so?
Q: Legally, what difference does it make?
A. If true, Clinton could be open to charges of perjury, suborning perjury, witness intimidation and obstruction of justice. Perjury, because sources say Clinton denied having a sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky in his Jan. 17 deposition. The other charges could come into play if Clinton tried to persuade Ms. Lewinsky to lie about their relationship in an affidavit in the Jones case.
Q: How is the Lewinsky matter connected to the Jones lawsuit?
A: Mrs. Jones filed a lawsuit in 1994 accusing Clinton of sexual harassment when he was Arkansas governor. Her lawyers are investigating Clinton's contacts with other women to try to establish a pattern of improper workplace conduct. They identified Ms. Lewinsky as a potential witness.
Q: How did she come to their attention?
A: The lawyers subpoenaed Ms. Lewinsky after receiving anonymous telephone calls suggesting she was involved with Clinton.
Q: Just who is Ms. Lewinsky?
A: Monica S. Lewinsky is a Californian who came to Washington as a 21-year-old White House intern in June 1995. That December, she got a paid White House position. In April 1996, she moved to a job at the Pentagon. She quit last December to seek a job in New York.
Q: Why are investigators focusing on Ms. Lewinsky's New York job search?
A: They want to know if Vernon Jordan helped Ms. Lewinsky find work in order to influence her testimony to keep her quiet about an improper relationship with Clinton. Jordan, a high-powered Washington lawyer, has acknowledged recommending her to three companies. White House deputy chief of staff John Podesta helped her get a job offer from U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson. Both say they did so at the request of Betty Currie, the president's secretary.
Q: Why is Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater independent counsel, investigating the Lewinsky matter?
A: Ms. Lewinsky's friend and Pentagon co-worker, Linda Tripp, went to Starr and turned over tape-recorded private conversations in which Ms. Lewinsky said she had a relationship with Clinton. Starr asked Attorney General Janet Reno fr jurisdiction over any possible criminal violations in the matter, and she agreed.
Q: Why would Tripp tape her private conversations with a friend and take them to a prosecutor?
A: Tripp says she made the tapes to protect herself against potential accusations of perjury when she testified before Jones' lawyers under subpoena. Her friend, conservative activist and literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, encouraged Tripp to record the conversations. Tripp says she gave the tapes to Starr ``to report potential crimes.''
Q: What is the significance of three pages of ``talking points'' that Ms. Lewinsky allegedly gave to Tripp?
A: This is a typed document that Tripp says she was given by Ms. Lewinsky. The document urges Tripp to file an affidavit in the Jones case that backs away from her account about another woman confiding she'd been fondled by Clinton. The document also urges Tripp to say that Ms. Lewinsky is a liar whose information regarding an affair with Clinton is untrue. Prosecutors are trying to determine who wrote the ``talking points.''
Q: What about reports that Clinton gave Ms. Lewinsky gifts?
A: Ms. Lewinsky's lawyer, William Ginsburg, has said he only knows of insignificant gifts from the president such as a long T-shirt, a hat pin, ashtrays, golf balls and a souvenir hat from Martha's Vineyard. Prosecutors are trying to determine whether other items have been removed from Ms. Lewinsky's apartment.
Q: What about reports that Ms. Lewinsky visited the White House frequently after moving to a job at the Pentagon.
A: Ginsburg has not disputed reports that government logs show Ms. Lewinsky was cleared to visit the White House 37 times after leaving her job there. But it is not known whom she saw there or how often she actually visited.
Q: How does Clinton explain all of this?
A: Clinton has forcefully denied that he had sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky or that he asked anyone to lie about it. But he has refused to address more specific questions, such as how well he knew Ms. Lewinsky or why she visited the White House so often. He says the answers will come out in the course of the investigation.
Q: What does Ms. Lewinsky say?
A: Ms. Lewinsky has not commented publicly, but she has given conflicting accounts in private settings. She has been taped telling Tripp in detail of a sexual relationship with Clinton. She submitted an affidavit in the Jones lawsuit denying that she had a sexual relationship with Clinton. Sources say she has offered to recant that claim if given immunity from prosecution. Her lawyer describes her relationship with Clinton as that of ``colleagues.''
Q: What's next?
A: Starr's investigators are trying to broker a deal under which Ms. Lewinsky would tell all that she knows in exchange for immunity from prosecution. In addition, a grand jury is hearing testimony from White House officials and others who might know about Clinton's contacts with Ms. Lewinky. Investigators also have subpoenaed various White House documents and other items that might shed light on the matter.
Q: Would prosecutors try to indict Clinton if they found evidence of criminal activity?
A: It seems unlikely. Under the independent counsel law, evidence of a crime involving the president would be turned over to the House Judiciary Committee, which would decide whether an impeachment inquiry is warranted.
(Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)