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Text Of Clinton Testimony (8)

This is part eight of the text of President Clinton's grand jury testimony:

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes, it would. If you had a direct contact with any of these places in the body, if you had direct contact with intent to arouse or gratify, that would fall within the definition.

OIC ATTORNEY: So you didn't do any of those three things with Monica Lewinsky.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: You are free to infer that my testimony is that I did not have sexual relations as I understood this term to be defined.

OIC ATTORNEY: Including touching her breast, kissing her breast or touching her genitalia.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's correct.

OIC ATTORNEY: Would you agree with me that the insertion of an object into the genitalia of another person with the desire to gratify sexually would fit within the definition used in the Jones case as sexual relations?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: There's nothing here about that, is there? I don't know that I ever thought about that one way or the other.

OIC ATTORNEY: The question is, under the definition as you understood it then, under the definition as you understand it now -- pardon me, just a moment. (Pause.) Pardon me, Mr. President. (Pause.) Deposition Exhibit 1, question one, under the -- in the Jones case, definition of sexual relations.

MR. : Do you have that before you, Mr. President? Excuse me.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I do, sir. I've got it right here. I'm looking at it.

OIC ATTORNEY: As you understood the definition then and as you understood it now, would it include sticking an object into the genitalia of another person in order to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person? Would it constitute, in other words, contact with the genitalia if an object --

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't know the answer to that. I suppose you could argue that since section two, paragraph two, was eliminated, and paragraph two actually dealt with the object issue, that perhaps whoever wrote this didn't intend for paragraph one to cover an object and basically meant direct contact. So, if I were asked -- I've not been asked this question before, but I guess that's the way I would read it.

OIC ATTORNEY: That it would not be covered, that activity would not be covered.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's right. If the activity you just mentioned would be covered in number two, and number two was stricken, I think you can infer logically that paragraph one was not intended to cover it. But as I said, I've not been asked this before. I'm just doing the best I can here.

OIC ATTORNEY: Well, if someone were to hold or a judge were to hold that you're incorrect and that definition one does include the hypo I've given to you -- because we're talking in hypos so that you don't -- under your request here -- if someone were to tell you or rule that you're wrong, that the insertion of an object into somebody else's genitalia with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any prson is within definition one --

MR. : Mr. Wisenberg, excuse me. I have not objected heretofore to any question you asked. I must tell you I cannot understand that question. I think it's improper. And if the witness can understand it, he may answer.

OIC ATTORNEY: I'll be happy to rephrase it. If you're wrong and it's within definition one, did you engage in sexual relations under the definition, with Monica Lewinsky?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Mr. Wisenberg, I have said all along that I would say what I thought it meant and you could infer that I didn't. This is an unusual question, but it's a slippery slope. I have tried to deal with some very delicate areas here in the one case, and I have given you a very forthright answer about what I thought that was not within here. All I can tell you is whatever I thought was covered -- and I thought about this carefully.

And let me just point out that this was uncomfortable for me. I had to acknowledge because of this definition, that under this definition I had actually had sexual relations once with Gennifer Flowers, a person who had spread all kinds of ridiculous and dishonest, exaggerated stories about me for money. And I knew when I did that, it would be leaked -- it was -- and I was embarrassed, but I did it.

So I tried to read this carefully. I can tell you what I thought it covered, and I can tell you that I do not believe I did anything that I thought was covered by this.

OIC ATTORNEY: As I understand your testimony, Mr. President, touching somebody's breasts with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire in any person is covered, kissing the breast is covered, touching the genitalia is covered, correct?

MR. : In fairness, the witness said "directly" in each one of those cases.

OIC ATTORNEY: "Directly" -- is covered, correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I believe it is, yes, sir.

OIC ATTORNEY: Oral sex in your view, is not covered, correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If performed on the deponent.

OIC ATTORNEY: -- is not covered, correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's not in reading of this number one.

OIC ATTORNEY: And you're declining to answer the hypothetical about insertion of an object?

I need to inform you, Mr. President -- but we'll go on, at least for now -- but I need to inform you that the grand jury will consider your not answering the questions more directly in their determination of whether of not they're going to issue another subpoena.

Let me switch the topic and talk to you about John Podesta and some of the other aides you met with and spoke to after the story became public on January 21st 1998, the day of the Washington Post story.

Do you recall meeting with him around January 23rd, 1998, Friday, a.m., in your study, two days after the Washington Post story, and extremely explicitly telling him that you didn't have -- engage in any kind of sex in any way, shape or form with Monica Lewinsky, including oal sex?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I meet with John Podesta almost every day. I meet with a number of people. The only thing I -- what happened in the couple of days after what you did was revealed, is a blizzard to me. The only thing I recall is that I met with certain people, and a few of them I said I didn't have sex with Monica Lewinsky or I didn't have an affair with her, or something like that. I had a very careful thing I said, and I tried not to say anything else. And I -- it might be that John Podesta was one of them. But I do not remember the specific meeting about which you ask or the specific comments to which you referred.

OIC ATTORNEY: You don't remember --

PRESIDENT CLINTON: And seven months ago -- I'd have no way to remember, no.

OIC ATTORNEY: You don't remember denying any kind of sex in any way shape or form with him, including oral sex; correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I remember that I issued a number of denials to people that I thought needed to hear them, but tried to be careful and to be accurate in them. I do not remember what I said to John Podesta.

OIC ATTORNEY: Surely, if you told him that, that would be a falsehood; correct?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Oh, I didn't say that, sir. I didn't say that at all. That is not covered by the definition, and I did not address it in my statement.

OIC ATTORNEY: Well, let me ask you then.

If you told him, perhaps he thought it was covered; I don't know. But if you told him, if you denied to him in any way, shape or form, kind of similar to what Mr. Bennett did at the deposition, including oral sex, wouldn't that have been a falsehood?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Now, Mr. Wisenberg, I told you in response to a grand jury's question, you asked me did I believe that oral sex performed on the person who was being deposed, was covered by that definition, and I said no. I don't believe it's covered by the definition. I said you were free to conclude that I did not do things that I believe were covered by the definition, and you have asked me a number of questions and I have acknowledged things that I believe are covered by the definition. Since that was not covered by the definition, I want fall back on my statement.

Look, I'm not trying to be evasive here, I'm trying to protect my privacy, my family's privacy, and I'm trying to stick to what the deposition was about. If the deposition wasn't about this, and didn't cover it, then I don't believe that I should be required to go beyond my statement.

OIC ATTORNEY: Mr. President, it's not our intent to embarrass you, but since we have to look, among other things, at obstruction of justice, questions of obstruction of justice and perjury, the answer for some of these delicate and unfortunate questions are absolutely required, and that is the purpose that we have to ask them for. I'm unaware of any --

PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's not -- Mr. Wisenberg, with respect, you don't need to know the answer or that if the answer -- no matter what the answer is, it wouldn't constitute perjury because it wasn't sexual relations as defined by the judge. The only reason you need to know that is for some other reason. It couldn't have anything to do with perjury.

OIC ATTORNEY: Mr. President, one of the -- one of the nice things about -- one of the normal things about an investigation and a grand jury investigation is that the grand jurors and the prosecutors get to ask the questions unless they're improper and unless there's a legal basis.

As I understand from your answers, there's no legal basis for which you decline to answer these questions. And I'll ask you again to answer the question. I'm unaware of any legal basis for you not to.

CLINTON COUNSEL: Well, if I could -- you could just restate the question, please?

OIC ATTORNEY: The question is if you told John Podesta, two days after the story broke, something to this effect: That you didn't have any kind of sex in any way, shape or form, including oral sex, with Ms. Lewinsky, were you telling him the truth?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: And let me say again, with respect, this is an indirect way to try to get me to testify to questions that have no bearing on whether I committed perjury. You apparently agree that it has no bearing on whether I committed perjury.

OIC ATTORNEY: No, I don't agree. Mr. President, I'm sorry, with respect, I don't agree with that. I'm not going to argue with you about it. I just am going to ask you again, in fact, direct you to answer the question.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I'm not going to answer that question because I believe it's a question about conduct that whatever the answer to it is would -- does not bear on the perjury, because oral sex performed on the deponent, under this definition, is not sexual relations, it is not covered by this definition.

CLINTON COUNSEL: The witness is not declining to tell you anything he said to John Podesta.

OIC ATTORNEY: The -- you denied -- the witness is not declining to tell me anything.

Did you deny oral sex in any way, shape or form to John Podesta?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I told you, sir, before, and I will say again, in the aftermath of this story breaking, and what was told about it, the next two days, the next three days are just a blur to me. I don't remember to whom I talked, when I talked to them, or what I said.

OIC ATTORNEY: So you're not declining to answer, you just don't remember?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I honestly don't remember, no. And I'm not saying that anybody who had a contrary memory is wrong. I do not remember.

OIC ATTORNEY: Do you recall denying any sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky to the following people: Harry Thomason, Erskine Bowles, Harold Ickes, Mr. Podesta, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Jordan, Ms. Betty Currie. Do you recall denying any sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky to those individuals?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I recall telling a umber of those people that I didn't have -- either I didn't have an affair with Monica Lewinsky or didn't have sex with her. And I believe, sir, that -- well, you'll have to ask them what they thought -- but I was using those terms in the normal way people use them. You'll have to ask them what they thought I was saying.

OIC ATTORNEY: If they testified that you denied sexual relations or a relationship with Monica Lewinsky, or if they've told us that you denied that, do you have any reason to doubt -- in the days after the story broke -- do you have any reason to doubt them?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, the -- let me say this: It's no secret to anybody that I hoped that this relationship would never become public. It's a matter of fact that it had been many, many months since there had been anything improper about it in terms of improper contact. I would --

OIC ATTORNEY: Did you deny it to them or not, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let me finish. So what -- I did not want to mislead my friends, but I wanted to find language where I could say that. I also, frankly, did not want to turn any of them into witnesses because -- and sure enough, they all became witnesses. And so --

OIC ATTORNEY: Well you knew they might be witnesses, didn't you?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: And so I said to them things that were true about this relationship, that I used -- in the language I used; I said, "There's nothing going on between us." That was true. I said, "I have not had sex with her" -- as I define it. That was true.

And did I hope that I would never have to be here on this day giving this testimony? Of course. But I also didn't want to do anything to complicate this matter further. So I said things that were true. They may have been misleading, and if they were, I have to take responsibility for it, and I'm sorry.

OIC ATTORNEY: They may have been misleading, sir. And you knew, though, after January 21st, when the Post article broke and said that Judge Starr was looking into this, you knew that they might be witnesses, you knew that they might be called into a grand jury, didn't you?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think I was quite careful what I said after that. I may have said something to all these people to that effect, but I -- I also -- whenever anybody asked me any details, I said, "Look, I don't want you to be a witness or I turn you into a witness or give you information that could get you in trouble." I just wouldn't talk.

Continue To Part 9 of the president's testimony.

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