Senate To See Lewinsky Tapes

Though senators chose not to call her for live testimony, Monica Lewinsky makes clear in her videotaped deposition that she now has "mixed feelings" for President Clinton and insists he never suggested she file a false affidavit to deny their affair.

With Clinton's impeachment trial a week or less from completion, Ms. Lewinsky, in testimony obtained by The Associated Press late Thursday, cast doubt on Clinton's sworn testimony that he told her she might have to turn over presidential gifts if they were subpoenaed in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

"Did the president ever tell you to turn over the gifts?" Rep. Ed Bryant, R-Tenn., asked in the Monday deposition. "Not that I remember," Ms. Lewinsky answered.

House prosecutors are trying to show that the president's efforts to find Ms. Lewinsky a job were linked to her filing a false affidavit denying their affair and that the hiding of gifts he had given her was part of a scheme by Clinton to obstruct justice.

Ms. Lewinsky at times helped both the prosecutors and the president in the deposition, which was scheduled for public release today. Snippets of the videotape will be played to television viewers at the trial on Saturday.

After rejecting live testimony Thursday, the Senate voted to release the complete transcripts of Ms. Lewinsky, presidential friend Vernon Jordan and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal.

House prosecutors originally wanted live testimony by all three witnesses. But with many Senate Republicans content to admit only the videotape into evidence, the managers scaled back their request to Ms. Lewinsky.

Even then, the Senate responded with a stinging rebuke, rejecting the proposal on a 70-30 vote. Twenty-five Republicans joined all 45 Democrats in opposition.

The trial was in recess today, so both sides could prepare for Saturday's presentations, which also may include White House use of the videotape. Closing arguments will be held Monday, and then deliberations, with a vote expected next Friday or sooner on conviction or acquittal of the president on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Republicans and Democrats agree that the 67 votes needed to convict and remove Clinton are lacking.

Thursday was a day of retreat both for the House managers and Senate Republicans, who abandoned proposals for "findings of fact" that would have declared presidential wrongdoing without removing Clinton from office.

"I do think it's time we get to a vote and we move on" to other issues, Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said.

Lott said some language to disapprove Clinton's conduct was still under consideration by Republicans, but it was unclear whether any GOP proposal would mesh with a planned Democratic censure resolution.

In her deposition, Ms. Lewinsky testified that in a middle-of-the-night telephone call initiated by Clinton on Dec. 17, 1997, the president sugested she could file an affidavit to avoid being deposed in the Jones case. Clinton told her in that conversation that she had been made a potential witness by the Jones attorneys.

But when asked whether the president suggested what she might say in the affidavit, Ms. Lewinsky responded, "There was no discussion of what would be in an affidavit."

"I don't think I necessarily thought at that point it would have to be false," she added.

The questioning turned personal when Bryant asked Ms. Lewinsky whether she still had "feelings for the president" a year after she was thrust unwillingly into the impeachment drama.

"I have mixed feelings," she replied. She answered "yes" twice when asked if she still admired the president and appreciated "what he is doing for this country as the president."

In the Dec. 17 conversation, Ms. Lewinsky testified that Clinton "said it broke his heart ... that my name was on the witness list."

Ms. Lewinsky then asked, "Can I take a break please. I'm sorry."

When the questioning resumed, Ms. Lewinsky was asked to describe her reaction when she learned she might be called as a witness in the politically charged Jones case against the president.

"I was scared," she responded.

Ms. Lewinsky testified that Clinton at one point in the conversation also reminded her of the cover stories they had devised earlier to hide their affair.

"I believe that the president said something like, 'You can always say you were coming to see (Oval Office secretary) Betty (Currie) or bringing me papers'," she said.

"Now, was that in connection with the affidavit?" Bryant asked.

"I don't believe so, no," she said, striking down a theory prosecutors have held that the cover stories had been suggested to her to encourage her to file a false affidavit.

Asked about a Dec. 28, 1997, meeting Clinton, during which they discussed what to do with the subpoenaed gifts, Ms. Lewinsky replied: "And as I've testified numerously, his response was either ranging from no response to 'I don't know or let me think about it.'"

Later that day, Mrs. Currie came to Ms. Lewinsky's apartment to pick up the gifts. House prosecutors concluded that Clinton sent his secretary to get them, but there is no direct testimony to support that.

The White House has attacked the prosecution case on the gift retrieval, especially the House's reliance on a brief phone call from Mrs. Currie to Ms. Lewinsky about 3:30 p.m. that day. White House lawyers noted Ms. Lewinsky testified the transfer took place about 2 p.m.

But in her deposition, Ms. Lewinsky said she had additional phone conversations with Mrs. Currie that day and they discussed "when she was coming."

She said her 2 p.m. estimate may have been wrong.

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