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Monica Lewinsky's Testimony

Monica Lewinsky spent two days testifying before Ken Starr's grand jury. What did the former White House intern say on the stand? Read this transcript of the questions and answers.

Q. What I have placed in front of you is ... a chart that you have ... 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.

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A. JUROR I think I'm going to start out.

Q. Okay.

Q. JUROR Ms. Lewinsky, in your testimony when you were with us on the sixth, you mentioned some of the steps that you took to maintain secrecy regarding your relationship: that you would bring papers or ... 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. Yes. ...

Q. JUROR: ... Were these ways to maintain your secrecy your idea or were they recommended to you by anyone?

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.

Q. 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. ...

Q. MR. EMICK: ... 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? ...

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. ...

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. ...

Then one time he called me from the residence ... 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 reluctace to leave messages on your telephone voice message system?

A. At home?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes.

Q: All right. Tell us about that.

A. One time in a conversation he just said he didn't like to leave messages.
B.
Q. OK. 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?

A. Yes.

Q. OK. 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?

Q. 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 ...

Q. 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. 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 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.

Q. JUROR Just a follow-up to that.

A. Sure.

Q. JUROR If they didn't see you, well, how did they know?

they know?

A. I don't know what they knew. ...

Q. JUROR: Because if you said you made an effort to hide yourself ... the Secret Service are the ones that saw you.

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. JUROR: Okay. So ... how did they know that you were there ... ?

A. I don't know. ... I've heard reported in the newspapers and on TV that the Secret Service, someone said something to Evelyn Lieberman and I ... had had a real negative interaction with Nancy Hernreich early on in my tenure at the White House and so

...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.

Q. 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 ... that was maybe in December or January of '95 or '96. ...

Q. 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.

... 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 secretar'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

Q. JUROR: So the route to the staff person's office was a route that you could still veer off and see the president?

... Q. 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. OK. 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. (PROSECUTOR): ... I think you've testified earlier that most of the sexual contact that you had with the president tended to occur in the hallway, rather than in the study, although sometimes it was in the study itself.

Did that have anything to do with whether or not it would be easier to see you in the study as opposed to the hallway?

A. I think so, but I don't specifically I don't specifically remember discussing that with the president, but there were circumstances that that sort of was obvious to me.

Q. And would that include the fact that windows in the study tended to be uncurtained?

A. Just that, windows. Yes. ...

Q. (PROSECUTOR): In that regard, you also mentioned that you would move from the oval area or that sometimes you'd start in the Oval Office and then you'd move towards the hallway. Did the president ever initiate that move?

A. I think we both did. I mean, it just depended on the day. It wasn't

Q: Was it understood that you wouldn't actually have a sexual encounter in the Oval office?

A. I'm sure it was understood. I I I wouldn't have done that. I mean so I'm sure he wouldn't have done that.

Q. (PROSECUTOR): Are there windows all around the Oval Office?

A. There are windows all around and it just I know this may sound silly, but it wouldn't be appropriate. You know.

Q. What about any discussions with the president about not acknowledging one another at parties or photographs, for example?

A. He called me in y office the day of Pat Griffin's going away party and had asked me if I was going to go. I said yes and he said, "Well, maybe we can get together after that."

And I told him I didn't think that was a good idea, that people were going to be watching. I was paranoid anyway and so I said, "I think it's a good idea if we just sort of ignore each other at the party and don't really say anything." And that's what we did.

Q. And what about with respect to a photograph that was taken at the party and whether

A. I mean, we didn't discuss this. I didn't know there was going to be a picture taken. ...

Q. So in that case, that would be a concealment effort, but not one that the president and you had collaborated on.

A. No.

Q. All right. What about an occasion when the president suggested that the two (of) you might attend a movie and sort of bump into each other outside the movie? Tell us about that discussion.

A. He told me he was going to watch a movie with some friends of his and that if I wanted to I could bump into him in the hall outside and then he'd invite me into the movie. ...

And he said yes and I don't remember who he said was going to be there, but I said I didn't think that was a good idea.

Q. And why would you have to make prior arrangements for you to bump into each other rather than having sort of a you know, walk down the hall together to the movie?

A. Well, I

Q. I know it's kind of obvious.

A. For obvious reasons, I guess, because it wouldn't be appropriate. It people would people would wonder what was going on.

Q. Right. Right. Okay. What about the fact that you made that you sent gifts and notes through Betty rather than directly to the president?

Was that something that was done in order to make it less obvious that the notes were actually to the president? ...

A. You can't I mean, you can't send a courier thing to the president, you know, a courier to President Clinton, so

Q. JUROR: Ms. Lewinsky, did you ever discuss with the president whether you should delete documents from your hard drive, either at the office or at home?

A. No.

... Q. JUROR: Did you ever discuss with the president whether you should deny the relationship if you were asked about it?

A. I think I always offered that.

Q. JUROR. In discussions with the president?

A. In discussions I told him I would always I would always deny it, I would always protect him.

Q. JUROR. And what did he say when you said that? What kind of response did you receive? ...

A. ... I in my head, I'm seeing him smile and I'm hearing him saying "That's good," or something affirmative. You know. Not not "Don't deny it." ...

Q. (PROSECUTOR): Ms. Lewinsky, with respect to the weekend visits, did the president ever initiate that idea ...?

A. Yes. The I don't remember if it was the Wdnesday or the Friday when the relationship first started, he said to me at some point, you know, "You can come see me on the weekends. I'm usually around on the weekends." So

Q. And did you understand what that meant?

A. Yes. To me, it meant there aren't as many people around on the weekends. ...

JUROR. ... When you first made the determination that you were moving to New York and you wanted to explore the possibilities of a job in private industry, can you recall how you first got the recommendation about Vernon Jordan's assistance in this endeavor?

A. I can't. I know that it was what I don't remember was if it was my idea or Linda's idea. And I know that that came up in discussions with her, I believe, before I discussed it with the president. I know that I suggested to the president or I I didn't suggest, I asked the president if Mr. Jordan might be able to assist me. ...

JUROR. ... Did you and the president ... ever talk about sort of, you know, that you weren't really having sex? ...

A. Yes.

JUROR: Was there ever sort of an understanding that, well, oral sex isn't really sex? Or did you talk about that?

A. We didn't talk about it. ...
B.
JUROR: After you left the White House, it seems as if you attended a number of public functions where you came in contact with him. Was that by chance? Was that something you wanted to do? Was it a way to see him? Was it something that he suggested? ...

A. Sure. No. Those were all ways for me to get a chance to see him. I'm an insecure person and so I think and I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily and if I hadn't heard from him especially after I left the White House, it was it was very difficult for me and I always liked to see him and it and usually when I'd see him, it would kind of prompt him to call me. So I made an effort. I would go early and stand in the front so I could see him, blah, blah, blah.

Q. PROSECUTOR: Let me ask a follow-up question to that because I think it may have been in about October of `96 when you had a telephone conversation with him just prior to you going to Billy Shaddock to get a photograph.

A. Right.

Q. During the conversation before, did you and the president have any discussion about your dropping by and seeing him at a public departure?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Would you tell us about that?

A. Let's see. I spoke with him I think it was October 22nd, and then I saw him at an event October 23rd and he called that night and I had mentioned to him on I think it was a Tuesday, the first phone conversation, that I was going to be at the White House on Thursday.

And when he called me Wednesday night, he said I was upset with him and so then he said, you know, "Don't be mad. Don't be mad." You know. "Are you coming tomorrow?"

And I said yes.

So he said, "Wel, why don't you stop by Betty's office, stop by to see Betty and then maybe you can come see me for a few minutes before I leave." So

Q. Okay. All right. The reason I was asking that as a follow-up is that's sort of a prearranged semi-public occasion for the two of you to see each other.

A. Right. I don't I don't know necessarily that I was going to go to the departure.

Q. I see.

A. But that was maybe kind of a cover story.

Q. I understand.

A. Or I'm not I know he had a departure and I know that I was going to see him for a few minutes before the departure because I thought I remember thinking that I might get to kiss him, so ...

JUROR: Did you get to see him that day?

A. No, I didn't.

JUROR: Okay. Could you tell us a little about that?

A. Sure. I the short of it is that I didn't end up seeing him because Evelyn Lieberman was hanging around and left with him that day.

JUROR: She was someplace where she didn't belong.

A. ... He had this big 50th birthday party at Radio City Music Hall and there was a cocktail reception and at the when he came to do the rope line and he after he greeted me and talked to me, he was talking to a whole bunch of people in and around my area and I had can I stand up and show you?

MR. EMMICK: Sure. Sure.

A. Okay. If this is the rope line and here are all the people and the president's standing here, as he started to talk to other people, I had my back to him and I just kind of put put my hand behind me and touched him.

MS. IMMERGUT. Touched him in the crotch area?

A. Yes.

... A JUROR. Did anybody see you?

... A. No.

A JUROR. But there were people around.

A. There were, but it was he was talking everybody was enamored with him. .. He was always very close to me when whenever he'd do these rope lines and would sort of make a point of talking to me ... while other people were there and he'd usually hold my hand you know, sort of shaking hands and just would continue to just touch me somewhere. I mean, not intimately, not ...

MR. EMMICK. Right. Just to set the scene, are there a lot of people kind of bunched together at the time?

A. ... If everybody in the room came and stood in this one small corner, that's I mean, that's how crowded it was. So it was and my back was to him and he was, he was holding onto my I think he was holding onto one of my arms or something, I had a sleeveless dress on.

... And it wasn't it wasn't a it was maybe sort of a grazing over of that area, but it wasn't, it wasn't how you might imagine it if someone described this, from a scene from a movie. It wasn't like that, but it was you know. I don't even know if he remembers ...

^UNDATED: he remembers.

A. I'm not really sure, because I don't think it was to necessarily gratify him or arouse him. ...

... It was just playful, not something I'd eve thought I'd have to discuss publicly.

JUROR: ... Out of all of the times you had intimate contact, were there times when the President would touch you either on the breasts or in the genital area directly to the skin or was it always through clothing?

A. Directly to the skin. Both.

A JUROR: I have some questions about the 50th birthday. That's when you gave the President the yellow tie. There's been some press accounts about that tie, last night and today. My question to you is have you authorized your attorneys or any other spokesperson through you to discuss that evidence?

A: Gosh. I don't think I've necessarily given a direct authorization.

... There have been a lot of instances since the beginning of this thing that there's been information that's come out from places where I hadn't expected it and that includes my own the people on my team. ...

JUROR: So you don't know whether that information is coming from people that you have discussed it with?

A. ... I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there was confirmation or some of that information came from there.

... I'm sure it was somewhat limited because with my agreement, we're not allowed to talk to the press. We're not supposed to. ...

Q. BY MR. EMMICK: So I guess there's let me just rephrase it. It sounds like you wouldn't be surprised by it, but do you have any direct knowledge that it occurred?

JUROR: On the day you were here testifying, there was a report on the TV

A. Right.

A JUROR: The president in the Rose Garden wearing that tie. Did you see that?

A. That evening I did.

JUROR: When you saw him with the tie, what did that say to you?

A. I understand you had to do what you had to do. That's what it meant to me. I had looked because I had seen him wear this tie prior, a few other occasions since January, I had looked the day before my testimony because I thought he's just the kind of person that's going to wear this tie to tug on my emotional strings one last time before I go into the grand jury and say this under oath. And he didn't.

And him wearing it the day I came to testify sort of having to know that I wasn't going to see it until the end of the day, to me was just kind of you know, hey, you had to do what you had to do. But

... A. JUROR: Do you think that he would remember that it's from you? ..

A. Ties were a big issue with us and I used to bug him all the time on the phone, "Well, when are you going to wear one of my ties?" ...

And I used to say to him that "I like it when you wear my ties because then I know I'm close to your heart." So literally and figuratively.

A JUROR: Can you tell me what your thoughts were when you saw the pictures of Nelvis wearing the first tie that you gave the President?

... A. I had two very different thoughts. My first thought was "You jerk. You're trying to show me how litte you care about me ... to show me that you gave it to someone else, it meant so little to you now."

And my second thought was that it was sort of some sort of message of some sorts. I don't know what. Because I could see the president kind of saying to Nel, you know, "Oh, why don't you" I could even see him spilling something on Nel on purpose and that morning and then sort of saying, "Oh, here, just wear this tie," or something like that. I mean he's funny that way. But I thought there was some sort of deliberateness to it. ...

... A JUROR. You really think he would have remembered that first tie?

A. I know he did. ... I don't know if you all know this or not, but I worked in a men's necktie store when I was in college for four years and so that was my thing. ... And so I love ties. And I, I mean, I can pick out you know different designers and stuff. And so that was a big thing for me. And then, and I liked to give him ties and I liked to see him wearing them.

... But ties were such a big issue between the president and me that I really couldn't have imagined that he didn't, that he didn't know.

A JUROR: Okay. I have a question that's a bit on the delicate side. ...

Did you and the president ever engage in sexual relations using cigars?

A. Yes.

... Just once. Just once.

JUROR: When you last testified, you told us that photographs that you saw of the president and first lady when they were away that were romantic in nature upset you.

When you had an opportunity to speak with the president about those photographs or any film that was taken during these romantic moments, what did he say? ... I'm just curious as to whether or not they were staged. ...

A. ... I don't believe we discussed them. ...

JUROR: Did you think any conversations to him about his wife were inappropriate?

A. I don't know if inappropriate is the right word. I tried not to. I there were very few discussions and I tended to say things like, "Well, when you're alone," you know, "Call me when you're alone," kind of a thing. ...

A JUROR: Ms. Lewinsky, I wondered if you ever had any trouble with the Secret Service in trying to be near the President.

A. No. ...

A JUROR: I have a question about Linda Tripp.

A. Ugh. Sorry.

A JUROR. In your conversations with Ms. Tripp, was her opinion always that she must be truthful or was there a time where your impression was that she was going to provide you with cooperation as far as keeping the secrecy?

A. There are two areas of that, I guess. Linda always told me she would always protect me and she would never tell anybody and keep my secret, up until the Paula Jones case came about.

And I had never had any reason to think that she would ever need to discuss this under oath because I was certainly always going to deny it and I couldn't even imagine a situation whre that would really come up.

But there was a point in the period prior to my learning about her being subpoenaed in the Paula Jones case, most specifically, Jan. 9, when she led me to believe that she was not going to tell about my relationship and that she was going to be vague on the truth about Kathleen Willey and was just not going to really remember anything else and that was why I agreed to meet with her on Tuesday the 13th. ...

(PROSECUTOR): I'd like to ask a clarifying follow-up because I wasn't sure I understood all of the sort of ins and outs, if you will, of when Linda was going to maintain the secret and when she was going to reveal it. It sounded like prior to the time when Linda got a Paula Jones subpoena, your understanding was she was doing to keep the secret.

A. Correct.

Q. And then after she got the Paula Jones subpoena, then she told you that she was going to disclose things and tell the truth. Is that right?

A. Yes. Yes.

Q. OK. And then in this conversation on Jan. 9, she indicated some willingness to consider keeping the secret a bit longer.

A. No, considered that she was going to do that.

Q. That she was going to. All right. That's what I wanted to clarify.

A. Sure.

(PROSECUTOR): Thank you.

JUROR: When you said that in your conversations with Linda Tripp you kind of had to exaggerate some things about the president to her, you exaggerated on some of the things you said to her about the president

A. I'm not sure about that. I I don't know if exaggerate is the right is maybe the word I would choose. ...

A JUROR. ... why do you think that you had to not tell her some things that did actually happen, true things, in talking to her?

A. That really came about in relation to the Paula Jones case. ... there were some occasions, one in particular that I remember, when I didn't disclose a contact that I had with the president ... after the Paula Jones case, I was scared to death. I mean, I was panicked that she was going to tell. So ... some of the things I said about Mr. Jordan, I said, you know, oh, the president told me I have to lie, I don't even remember everything I said, but I know that there were certainly lies at that point, not even exaggerations. ...

Q. What were the nature of the lies that you were telling to Linda Tripp during that January period?

A. Oh, gosh. They went from I guess a non-disclosure of my meeting with him on the 28th, no my phone call with him on the 5th of January, to ranging to things that he said I had to do or told me to do.

I haven't I haven't seen transcripts of those days, thank goodness, but I just know that I was I was scared to death. And I thought any influence that anybody would have, my mother, Mr. Jordan, the president, anybody, would I used.

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