This is the opening statement by Asa Hutchinson in the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
Hutchinson, a Republican congressman from Arkansas, was one of the House Managers who had responsibility for the presentation of the case for impeachment.
His presentation focused on the case for obstruction of justice outlined in the second Article of Impeachment.
- Listen to the final part of Hutchinson’s statement (16m)
Opening statement by House Manager Asa Hutchinson.
REP. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-ARKANSAS), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Mr. Chief Justice, senators, I’m Asa Hutchinson, a member of Congress from the Third Congressional District of Arkansas. I’m grateful for this opportunity, although it is — comes with deep regret to be before you.
I do want to tell you in advance that we have presented to you on your tables a selection of charts that I’ll be referring to here so that everyone will have the advantage of being able to see, at least, in some fashion the charts that I’ll be referring to, and we’ll have the charts here as well.
This is certainly a humbling experience for a small town lawyer. I learned to love and to respect the law trying cases in the courtrooms of rural Arkansas. And the scene is different in this setting, in this historic chamber with the Chief Justice presiding and senators sitting as jurors. But what is at stake remains the same.
In every case heard in every courtroom across this great country, it is the truth, it is justice, it is the law that are at stake. In this journey on Earth, there is nothing of greater consequence for us to devote our energies than to search for the truth, to pursue equal justice and to uphold the law.
It is for those reasons that I serve as a manager. And as you, I hope that I can help in some way bring this matter to a conclusion for our country.
This afternoon I will be discussing the evidence and the testimony from witnesses that we do hope to call. And during my presentation, I’ll be focusing on the evidence that demonstrates obstruction of justice under Article II.
Now, you might wonder, well, why are we going to Article II before we’ve covered Article I on perjury? And the answer is that in a chronological flow Article II, the obstruction facts precede much of the perjury allegations. And so, following my presentation, Manager Rogan will present Article I on perjury.
The presentation that I make will be based upon the record, the evidence, the facts, that have been accumulated. And I want you to know that I am going to be presenting those facts, and from time to time I will argue those facts.
I believe that they’re well supported in the record, but I urge each of you, if you ever find anything that you question, to search the record and verify the facts, because I do not intend to misrepresent anything to this body.
And in fact, we’ll be submitting to each of your offices my presentation with annotations to the record, to the grand jury transcripts, which will tie in the facts that I present to you. And, again, I believe and trust that you will find that they are well supported.
So, let’s start with obstruction of justice. Later on there will be a full discussion of the law on obstruction of justice, but for our purposes it is simply any corrupt act, or attempt to influence or impede the proper functioning of our system of justice. It is a criminal offense, a felony, and it has historically been an impeachable offense.
Let me first say, it is not a crime nor an impeachable offense to engage in inappropriate personal conduct. Nor is it a crime to obstruct or conceal personal, embarrassing facts or relationships. It might be offensive, but there are no constitutional consequences.
But as we go through the facts of the case, the evidence will show in this case that there was a scheme that was developed to obstruct the administration of justice, and that is illegal.
And the obstruction of justice is of great consequence and significance to the integrity of our nation when committed by anyone, but particularly by the chief executive of our land, the President of the United States.
Then Mr. Bryant took us factually up to a certain point pertaining to the job search, and this is chart number one that you have before you. And this puts it in perspective a little bit; and just for a brief review, you go back in the calender, back into October. That’s when Ms. Lewinsky sends the president her wish list for a list of jobs.
And then shortly after that, Ms. Currie faxes Lewinsky — the resume — to Ambassador Richardson. And Ambassador Richardson gets involved in the job search.
October 30, the president promised to arrange a meeting between Lewinsky and Jordan. This was set up, if you go to November — in November. It was actually November five, but preceding that, there was a job offer at the U.N. extended to Ms. Lewinsky. And Ms. Lewinsky decided that she was not interested in a job at the United Nations, she wanted to go into the private sector, and so that was the purpose on November five of the meeting between Jordan and Lewinsky.
And that’s when Mr. Jordan says “we’re in business.” But the facts will show that there was nothing really done in November, and that’s when I will get in a little bit more to my presentation, and then we’ll go into December, when some things happened there that picked up speed on this issue.
The obstruction, for our purposes, started on December 5, 1997, and that is when the witness list from the Paula Jones case was faxed to the president’s lawyers. At that point, the wheels of obstruction started rolling and they did not stop until the president successfully blocked the truth from coming out in the civil rights case.
These acts of obstruction included attempts to improperly influence a witness in a civil rights case — that’s Monica Lewinsky; the procurement and filing of a false affidavit in the case; unlawful attempts to influence the testimony of a key witness, Betty Currie; the willful concealment of evidence under subpoena in that case, which are the gifts of December 28; and illegally influencing the testimony of witnesses, that is the aides that testified before the grand jury — before the grand jury of the United States.
Each of these areas of obstruction will be covered in my presentation today.
As I said, it began on Friday, December 5, when the witness list came from the Paula Jones case. Shortly thereafter, the president learned that the list included Monica Lewinsky. This had to be startling news to the president, because if the truth about his relationship with a subordinate employee were known, the civil rights case against him would be strengthened and it might have totally changed the outcome.
But to compound the problem, less than a week later Judge Wright, federal district judge in Arkansas, on December 11 issued an order, and that order directed that the president had to answer questions concerning other relationships that he might have had during a particular time frame with any state or federal employee. And when I say “relationships,” I’m speaking of sexual relationships.
And so, Judge Wright entered the order that is not in your stack, but I have it here. It is filed on December 11th in the district court in Arkansas, and directs the president that he has to answer those questions within a timeframe, as Mr. Bryant said, which is typical in a civil rights case of this nature.
Now the White House knew that Monica was on the witness list. The president knew that it was likely that she would be subpoenaed as a witness, and that her truthful testimony would hurt his case. What did the president do? What he had to do was he made sure that Monica Lewinsky was on his team and under control.
And then, on December 17th, the president finally called Miss Lewinsky to let her know she was on the list. This was a call between 2:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. in the morning.
Now, what happened in the time between the president learning Monica Lewinsky was on the list and when he notified her of that fact on December 17th, is very important. The president during that timeframe talked to his friend, his confidant and his problem solver, Vernon Jordan.
Mr. Jordan had come to the president’s rescue on previous occasions. He was instrumental in securing consulting contracts for Mr. Web Hubbell, while Mr. Hubbell was under investigation by the independent counsel.
And let me parenthetically go to that point right before Mr. Hubbell announced his resignation from the Justice Department. During that time frame, there was a meeting at the White House at which the president, the first lady and others were present. After that meeting, Vernon Jordan agreed to help obtain financial assistance for Mr. Hubbell. Mr. Jordan did introduce Mr. Hubbell to the right people. The introduction was successful and Mr. Hubbell obtained a $100,000 contract. The right people that Mr. Jordan contacted happened to be the same right people for both Mr. Hubbell and ultimately for Monica Lewinsky, which is the parent company of Revlon. And so, the president was aware that Mr. Jordan had the contacts and the track record to be of assistance to the president in delicate matters.
Now, let’s go back a little. Monica Lewinsky had been looking for a good paying and high profile job in New York since the previous July, as I pointed out. She had been offered a job at the U.N., but she wanted to work in the private sector. She wasn’t having much success, and then in early November it was Betty Currie who arranged a meeting with Vernon Jordan, which ultimately was on November 5. At this meeting, Ms. Lewinsky met with Mr. Jordan for about 20-minutes.
Now, let’s refer to Mr. Vernon Jordan’s grand jury testimony on that meeting that occurred on November 5. And you have that, it should be your chart number two, or Exhibit 2 .
As Mr. Jordan testified before the federal grand jury on March 3, 1998, in reference to the November 5 meeting, he testifies “I have no recollection of an early November meeting with Ms. Monica Lewinsky. I have absolutely no recollection of it and have no record of it.”
He goes on to testify at page 76 of the grand jury testimony; question: “Is it fair to say that back in November getting Monica Lewinsky a job on any fast pace was not any priority of yours?”
His answer: “I think that’s fair to say.”
Now, let’s stop there for a moment. What happened as a result of this meeting? No action followed whatsoever. No job interviews were arranged, and there were no further contacts with Mr. Jordan. Mr. Jordan made no effort to find a job for Ms. Lewinsky for over a month. Indeed, it was so unimportant to him that he had no recollection of that early November meeting, and in fact he testified that finding her a job was not a priority.
And then you will see that during this timeframe the president’s attitude was exactly the same. And so, look at the same Exhibit 2, the last item on that chart, where it refers to Monica Lewinsky’s grand jury testimony. And there she is referring to a December 6 meeting with the president.
“I think I said that I was supposed to get in touch with Mr. Jordan the previous week, and that things did not work out, and that nothing had really happened yet on the job front.”
And the question was, did the president say what he was going to do. The answer: “I think he said he would. You know, this was sort of typical of him, to sort of say, Oh, I’ll talk to him, I’ll get on it.”
And so you can see from that it was not a high priority for the president either, it was, Sure, I’ll get to that, I will do that. And it was clear from Monica Lewinsky that nothing was happening.
But then the president’s attitude suddenly changed. What started out as a favor for Betty Currie dramatically changed after Ms. Lewinsky became a witness, and the judge’s order was issued again on December 11. And at that time the president talked personally — personally to Mr. Jordan and requested his help in getting Ms. Lewinsky a job.
And that would be, again, back on Exhibit 2 on that chart, the third item of testimony there, back to Mr. Jordan, his grand jury testimony May 5th of 1998.
The question is: “But what is also clear is that as of this date, December 11, you are clear that at that point you had made a decision that you would try to make some calls to get — help to get her a job?”
His answer: “There is no question about it.”
And so, what triggered — let’s look at the chain of events. The judge — the witness list came in, the judge’s order came in, that triggered the president into action and the president triggered Vernon Jordan into action. That chain reaction here is what moved the job search along.
Now, if we had Mr. Jordan on the witness stand, which I hope to be able to call Mr. Jordan, you would need to probe where his loyalties lie, listen to the tone of his voice, look into his eyes and determine the truthfulness of his statements. You must decide whether he is telling the truth or withholding information.
And so, let’s go to Exhibit 3 in your booklet. Again, recalling Mr. Jordan, he testifies about that meeting.
He testifies on his March 3, 1998 grand jury testimony: “I am certain after the 11th that I had a conversation with the president. And as a part of that conversation, I said to him that Betty Currie had called me about Monica Lewinsky. And the conversation was that he knew about her situation, which was that she was pushed out of the White House, that she wanted to go to New York and he thanked me for helping her.”
Remember what else happened on that day again. That was the same day that Judge Wright ruled that the questions about other relationships could be asked by the Jones attorneys.
Now, let’s go back again to Mr. Jordan’s testimony. What does he say about the involvement of the President of the United States in regards to these jobs? If you look at Exhibit 4 that is in your booklet, this is, again, Vernon Jordan’s grand jury transcript of June 9, 1998.
Now, the question is on a different issue. The question is about why did he tell the White House that Frank Carter — Frank Carter was the attorney for Monica Lewinsky — that Vernon Jordan arranged and introduced to Monica Lewinsky. He was hired and whenever, at that point that he was terminated, then Vernon Jordan notified the president. And so the question relates to that.
“Why are you trying to tell someone at the White House that this happened?” — Carter had been fired.
Answer: “Thought they had a right to know.”
And here the answer is what is critical for my point: “The president asked me to get Monica Lewinsky a job. I got her a lawyer. The “Drudge Report” is out, and she has new counsel. I thought that that was information that they ought to have.”
“The president asked me to get Monica Lewinsky a job.”
Clear, straightforward testimony, no doubt about it.
And then go on down to page 58 of his grand jury testimony of June 9th.
The Question: “Why did you think the president needed to know that Frank Carter had been replaced?”
Answer: “Information. He knew that I had gotten her a job. He knew that I had gotten her a lawyer. Information. He was interested in this matter. He is the source of it coming to my attention in the first place.”
“He is the source of it coming to my attention in the first place.”
Remember, he had already met with Betty Currie. Nothing was happening in the November timeframe. Nothing was happening. Vernon Jordan was — it was not a priority. And then the President of the United States called him, and it became a priority. And that is who he was acting for in trying to get Monica Lewinsky a job.
At this point, we do not know all that the president was telling Vernon Jordan, but we do know that there were numerous calls back and forth between Mr. Jordan and the president. There were numerous calls being made by Mr. Jordan on behalf of Monica Lewinsky, searching for a job. And that despite the fact that Monica Lewinsky did not know that she was a witness — she did not know she was a witness — the president knew that she was a witness during his intensified efforts to get a job.
Now, the president’s counselors have made a defense that the job search started before Monica Lewinsky was a witness, and there was nothing wrong with that. My response to that is, it is true, there is nothing wrong with a public official, under the right circumstances, helping someone get a job.
And what might have started out being innocent, if you accept that argument, crossed the line — crossed the line — whenever it was tied and interconnected with the president’s desire to get a false affidavit from Monica Lewinsky. And whenever the job is out there and procuring the false affidavit, you will see that they are totally interconnected, intertwined, interrelated, and that’s where the line is crossed into obstruction.
For example, when the president was waiting on Ms. Lewinsky to sign the false affidavit in the Jones case, during the critical time in January, a problem developed. The job interviews were unproductive, despite the numerous calls by Mr. Jordan.
On one particular day, Monica called Mr. Jordan and said the interview with Revlon did not go well. Mr. Jordan, what did he do?
He picked up the phone to the CEO — the president of the company, Mr. Perelman, to, as Vernon Jordan testified, “make things happen if they could happen.”
That is the request from Mr. Jordan to the CEO of a company after a job interview with Monica Lewinksy did not go well.
What happened? Things happened.
He did — he made things happen. Monica Lewinksy got a job. The affidavit was signed. And the president was informed by Mr. Jordan through Betty Currie “that the mission was accomplished.” End quote.
The question here is not why did the president do a favor for an ex-intern? But why did he use the influence of his office to make sure it happened?
The answer is, that he was willing to obstruct, impede justice by improperly influencing a witness in order to protect himself in a civil rights case.
The next step in the obstruction is the false affidavit. And this is directly related to the job mission. The president needed the signature of Ms. Lewinsky on the false affidavit, and that was assured by the efforts to secure her a job.
Again, the president brought Ms. Lewinsky into the loop on December 17th, over 10 days after the witness list was received by the president. Now, the president was ready to tell Monica the news. And that time frame is important.
He gets the witness list. He could have called Monica Lewinsky immediately, but he waited seven days because he needed to make sure the job situation was in gear. And in fact, the day after — if you look back on Exhibit 1– you’ll see that the day after the December 17 time frame that she was informed that she was on the witness list, the next day they already had lined up job interviews for her. So she felt confidence.
But she was notified on December 17th. Between 2 and 2:30 a.m., her phone rang. It was the President of the United States. The president said that he had seen the witness list in the case and her name was on it. Ms. Lewinsky asked what she should do if subpoenaed.
And the president responded, quote, “Well, maybe you can sign an affidavit,” end quote.
Well, how would this work? Both parties knew that the affidavit would need to be false and misleading in order to accomplish the desired result. Clearly, truthful testimony by Monica Lewinsky would make her a witness, would not keep her away from testifying. Only a false affidavit would avoid the deposition.
And so let me look at what I’ve marked as Exhibit 4.1, which is just a review of the key dates on this job search. Again, November 5th was the first meeting between Jordan and Lewinsky. In November, nothing happened. According to Jordan, not a high priority.
December 5th, the president receives the witness list. The 11th, things intensify with Judge Wright’s order. The 11th, the president talks to Mr. Jordan about the job for Monica. He gets into action. On the 17th, they’re ready to tell Monica that she is on the witness list. And then on the 19th, she is actually served with a subpoena.
And so, again, remember that after she was finally notified, it was the next day that she had the job interviews.
Now, still, we’re going to spend some time on this December 17, the conversation — the day that Monica Lewinsky was notified that she was on the witness list. And during that conversation, the president had a very pointed suggestion for Ms. Lewinsky, and a suggestion that left no doubt about its purpose and the intended consequences.
He did not say specifically: “Go in and lie.” And this is something that you will hear — and Monica Lewinsky testified in her grand jury testimony, “The president never told me to lie.” Well how do you tell people to lie? You can tell them the facts that they can use that would in substance be a false statement. Or, you can say go in and lie and make up your own false testimony.
The president chose to give her the ideas as to what she could testify to that would be false, but he never said the words: “You need to go in and lie.” And so, what he did say to her was, quote, “You know, you can always say you were coming to see Betty, or that you were bringing me letters.” End quote.
That, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, is a false representation –is a false statement that he is telling Ms. Lewinsky to utter.
Now remember at this point, the president knows she’s a witness. And what does he do, as evidenced by the testimony of Monica Lewinsky? He encourages her to lie. To say, you can always say you were coming to see Betty or that you were bringing me letters.
It should also be remembered that the president, when questioned about encouraging Monica Lewinsky to lie, has denied these allegations, and therefore there is certainly a conflict in the testimony. It is our belief that Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony is credible and that she has the motive to tell the truth, because of her immunity agreement with the independent counsel, where she gets in trouble only if she lies. Whereas the president has the motive to cover up and to testify falsely.
In order to understand the significance of this statement made by the president, it is necessary to recall the cover stories that the president and Ms. Lewinsky had previously concocted in order to deceive those people who might inquire. It was to deceive those people that they worked with.
The difference in the initial cover stories, though, to protect the president and Monica from an embarrassing personal relationship from friends, and co-workers and the media; now it is in a different arena, with a pending civil rights case, and Ms. Lewinsky being on the witness list. Despite the legal responsibilities, the president made the decision to continue the pattern of lying which ultimately became an obstruction of the administration of justice.
We’re still on December 17, when the president called Monica at 2 a.m. on that particular day to tell her she was on the witness list, he made sure to remind her of the cover stories. Miss Lewinsky testified that when the president brought up the cover story she understood that the two of them would continue their preexisting pattern of deception.
And it became clear that the president had no intention of making his relationship with a subordinate federal employee an issue in that civil rights case, no matter what the federal courts told him he needed to answer. And he would use lies, deceit and deception to carry out that purpose.
It’s interesting to note that the president, when he was asked by the grand jury whether he remembered calling Monica Lewinsky at 2 a.m. on that December 17th day, he responded, quote, “No, sir I don’t. But it would — it is quite possible that that happened.” End quote.
And when he was asked whether he encouraged Monica Lewinsky to continue the cover stories of coming to see Betty or bringing the letters, he answered, quote, “I don’t remember exactly what I told her that night.” End quote.
This is not a denial, and therefore, I believe, you should accept the testimony of Monica Lewinsky. If you say in your mind, “Well, I’m not going to believe her,” then you should first give us the opportunity to present this witness so that you as jurors could fairly and honestly determine her credibility.
As expected, two days later on December 19th, Ms. Lewinsky received the subpoena to testify in the Jones case. And this sets about an immediate flurry of activity. There is a series of telephone calls between Ms. Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan, the president and his staff. You will see this pattern of telephone calls repeated, and generated at any point in time when it appears that the truth may be told in the civil rights case.
Now, let’s look at Exhibit 5 which is the activity on Friday, December 19. This is the day that Monica Lewinsky is served with a subpoena. Now, if you look after Mr. Jordan is notified that Monica Lewinsky is served with a subpoena, what does he do? The 3:51, 3:52 notation, Jordan telephones the president and talks to Debra Schiff (ph), his assistant. So, the subpoena’s issued, Monica calls Jordan, Jordan immediately calls the president. He makes some other telephone calls.
Lewinsky, that day, meets with Mr. Jordan and requests that Jordan notify the president about her subpoena, and this is at 4:47 p.m. Presumably in the middle of that meeting, at 5:01 p.m., the president of the United States telephones Mr. Jordan, and Jordan notifies the president about Ms. Lewinsky’s subpoena.
And then, that’s whenever he arranges for Ms. Lewinsky’s attorney, Jordan telephones the attorney Frank Carter for the representation, and that night Vernon Jordan goes to the White House, later that evening, to meet privately with the president on these particular issues.
Now, in that meeting — and I’m speaking of the meeting that happened late that night at the White House — Mr. Jordan told the president again that Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed and related to the president the substance and details of his meeting with Ms. Lewinsky. It wasn’t a casual conversation, the details were discussed, including her fascination with the president, and other such issues.
This led Mr. Jordan to ask the president about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, and the response by the President of the United States was the first of many denials to his friends and aides.
The president stated in his deposition that he does not recall that meeting. But you should remind yourselves of the testimony and description provided by Vernon Jordan when he said, quote, “The president has an extraordinary memory,” end quote. In fact, we all know that he is world famous for that memory.
Now the subpoena had been delivered, but the testimony of Monica was not scheduled until January 23, and the president’s deposition, which is even more critical, was not scheduled until January 17th. And so, the president and his team had some time to work.
The work was not the business of the nation, but it was the distraction of self-preservation in the civil rights case. Under the plan, Mr. Jordan would be the buffer. He would obtain an attorney, which was Mr. Carter, and that attorney would keep Mr. Jordan informed on the progress of the representation; including reviewing a copy of the affidavit, knowing about the motion to quash, and the general progress of the representation.
All along the way, when Mr. Jordan gets information, what does he do with that? Mr. Jordan keeps the president informed, both about the affidavit, and the prospects of the job in New York, on which Ms. Lewinsky was totally dependent on the help of her friends in high places.
Now, let me go back again. There is nothing wrong with helping someone get a job. But we all know there’s one thing forbidden in public office: We must avoid a quid pro quo. That is, this is for that. But Vernon Jordan testified that he kept the president informed on the status of the false affidavit, the job search and the status of Ms. Lewinsky’s representation.
Why? Is this just idle chatter with the president of the United States? Or are these matters the president is vitally interested in, and in fact coordinating. Mr. Jordan answers this question himself at page 25 of his grand jury testimony where he testified, quote “I knew the president was concerned about the affidavit and whether or not it was signed. It — he was obviously.”
And that was his March 5th, ’98 grand jury testimony. The president was concerned not just about the affidavit, but specifically whether it was signed. The president knew that Monica was going to make a false affidavit. He was so certain of the contents that when Monica Lewinsky asked if he wanted to see it, he told her no — that he had seen 15 of them.
Besides, the president had suggested the affidavit himself and he trusted Mr. Jordan to be certain to keep things under control. In fact, that was one of the main purposes of Mr. Jordan’s continued communication with Monica Lewinsky’s attorney Frank Carter.
Even though Mr. Jordan testifies at one point he never had any substantive discussions on the representations of Mr. Carter, he contradicts himself in his March 3 grand jury testimony where he states, quote “Mr. Carter, at some point told me,” this is after January, “that she had signed the affidavit; that he had filed a motion to quash her subpoena; and that, I mean, there was no reason for accountability, but he reassured me that he had things under control” end quote.
Mr. Jordan was aware of the substance of the drafting of the affidavit, the representation, the motion to quash, he even had a part in the redrafting. This was clearly important to Mr. Jordan and it was clearly important to the president.
Now, let’s go to the time when the false affidavit was actually signed, January 5, ’98, and these will be Exhibits 7, 8 and 9 that is front of you.
Let’s go to January 5. This is sort of a summary of what happens on that day.
Ms. Lewinsky meets with her attorney, Mr. Carter for an hour. Mr. Carter drafts the affidavit for Ms. Lewinsky on the deposition. And then, let’s go to the second paragraph. Ms. Lewinsky telephones Betty Currie stating that she needs to speak to the president.
This is about an important matter. Specifically, that she was anxious about something she needed to sign an affidavit. Frank Carter drafts the affidavit. She’s concerned about it. She calls the president.
The president returns Monica Lewinsky’s call. Big question: Should the president return Monica Lewinsky’s call? He does. That day, quickly, Lewinsky mentions the affidavit she’d be signing, offers to show it to the president, and that’s where he says, no, that he’s seen 15 others.
Let’s go to the next day. The next exhibit, January 6. On this particular day, Monica Lewinsky picks up the affidavit — the draft affidavit — at 2:08 to 2:10 p.m. And delivers that affidavit to whom? Mr. Jordan. That’s after she got it. Delivers it to Jordan.
And then, at 3:26 p.m., Mr. Jordan telephones Mr. Carter. At 3:38, Mr. Jordan telephones Nancy Hernreich (ph) at the White House. Again, Mr. Jordan telephones Lewinsky — telephones Lewinsky — about the draft affidavit. And at 3:49, you’ll see in red, that both agree to delete a portion of the affidavit that created some implication that maybe she had been alone with the president, and so, Mr. Jordan was very involved in drafting the affidavit and the contents of that.
And then at 4:19 — presumably, this is in response to some of the calls by Mr. Jordan earlier in the day — the president telephones Mr. Jordan, and they have a discussion, and then Mr. Jordan telephones Mr. Carter, and the conversations go back and forth. At the end of the day, Mr. Jordan telephones the White House.
And so, the affidavit is still in the drafting process.
Go to the next day, Exhibit 9. Here Monica signs the affidavit. At 10 a.m., Miss Lewinsky finds the false affidavit in Mr. Carter’s office. Then what does she do? She delivers the signed affidavit to Mr. Jordan. And then what does he do? The usual. At 11:58, Mr. Jordan telephones the White House. At 5:46, Mr. Jordan telephones the White House. At 6:50, Mr. Jordan telephones the White House and tells the president that Miss Lewinsky signed the affidavit. Is this important information for the president to know? He was vitally interested in it.
And then go to the next day, Exhibit 10, January 8th. After the affidavit is signed, what is important the next day? That the other part of the arrangement, that she has the job interview with McAndrews in New York, and she had that job interview. The only problem was it went poorly. The interview went very poorly. And so, at 4:43 p.m. on this particular day, Ms. Lewinsky telephones Jordan and advises that the New York interview went very poorly.
And so what does Mr. Jordan do? Mr. Jordan telephones Ron Perelman, the CEO, the subsidiary of Revlon, to make things happen if they could happen. And what does he do next? Jordan telephones Lewinsky saying “I’m doing the best I can to help you out,” and they set up another interview for the next day. Jordan telephones the White House counsel’s office. And then in the evening Revlon in New York telephones Lewinsky to set up a follow-up interview.
They said the first interview didn’t go well, but because Mr. Jordan intercedes, and he intercedes — why? — because the false affidavit has been signed. We want to make sure all of this is carried out. And then at 9:02, Lewinsky telephones Jordan about the Revlon interview in New York that presumably, hopefully, it went better on that particular day. And then on January 9, Exhibit 11, Monica is confirmed that she has the job. Lewinsky is offered the Revlon job in New York and accepts. Lewinsky telephones Jordan, and then, at 4:14, Jordan notifies Currie, calls Betty Currie and says, mission accomplished and requests that she tell the president. Jordan notifies the president of Lewinsky’s new job offer, says, thank you very much for the president.
And then that evening, the president telephones Currie, and so on. But the president is notified that the job has been secure, mission is accomplished. Now, let me ask you the question, after I’ve gone through these exhibits. Would Mr. Jordan have pushed for a second interview without cooperation on the affidavit?
Would Monica Lewinsky have received the support in securing a job if she had said: “I don’t want to sign an affidavit? I’m just going to go in there and tell the truth. Whatever they ask me, I’m going to answer and I’m going to tell the truth.”
Does anyone in this room believe that she would have been granted — that Mr. Jordan had made that call to get that second interview — that she we would ever had the help from the — her friends in high places?
And now, the affidavit has been signed, the job is secure, Monica Lewinsky is on the team and the president of the United States is armed for the deposition. So, let’s move there.
Just how important was Monica Lewinsky’s false affidavit to the president’s deposition? Well, let’s look to see. What did the president’s attorney, Robert Bennett, say about that affidavit to the federal judge during the deposition?
That false affidavit allowed Mr. Bennett, the attorney for Mr. Clinton, when talking about the question of whether there was a relationship between the president and Miss Lewinsky, it allowed him to assert, quote, “There is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form with President Clinton,” end quote.
And that is the statement of Robert Bennett, his representation to the court about that relationship. It is a representation that he had to later, probably based upon his own professional embarrassment, he had to withdraw and to correct that inaccurate part of the record.
When questioned by his own attorney in the deposition, the president stated specifically the key paragraph of Miss Lewinsky’s affidavit was, quote, “absolutely true.” And that paragraph eight of her affidavit states: “I have never had a sexual relationship with the president.”
Now, if it enters your mind at this point as to what was meant by sexual relationship, please remember that this affidavit was draft upon common understanding of that phrase at that point, and not based upon any definition used in the deposition of the president.
I’m sure it was the president’s hope and belief that the false affidavit used in the deposition to bolster his own testimony would be the end of the matter. But that was not the case. We know in life one lie leads to another. Well, so it is when we attempt to thwart the administration of justice. One obstruction leads to another.
And now, we move to another key witness, Betty Currie.
By the time the president concluded his deposition, he knew there were too many details out about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. He knew that the only person that could probably be talking was Ms. Lewinsky herself. He knew the cover story that they had carefully created, converted into the false statements in the affidavit, was now in jeopardy. It had to be backed, at this point, by the key witnesses — Monica Lewinksy and Betty Currie.
After the deposition, the president needed to do two things: He had to contact Ms. Lewinsky to see if she was still on the team, but he also had to make sure his secretary, Betty Currie, would lie to protect him. And so, let’s look at how the concern became a frenzied and concerted effort to keep the holes plugged in the dike. And let’s look at Exhibits 12 and 13.
What happened on the day of the deposition, really the night of the deposition on January 17th? The president finishes testifying in the deposition around 4 p.m. At 5:38 p.m., the president telephones Mr. Jordan at home, and then at 7:02 the president telephones Ms. Currie at home, doesn’t get to her. At 7:02, the president places a call to Mr. Jordan’s office. And then at 7:13 he gets Ms. Currie at home, finally, and asks her to meet with him on Sunday.
It’s vitally important that he meet with Ms. Currie at this point, because he knows his whole operation is coming unglued. And so, the next day on January 18th, which is Exhibit 13 — now there’s a whole flurry of activity here, I’m not going go through all of them. But you can see the frantic pace at the White House.
Because at 6:11 in the morning, the president had some more bad news. The “Drudge Report” was released, and that created a greater flurry. Then between 11:49 and 2:55 p.m., three phone calls were made between Mr. Jordan and the president. And then at 5 p.m., we see the meeting — that’s on the second page — at 5 p.m. — Ms. Currie meets with the president and the president then tells Ms. Currie to find Monica Lewinsky.
The telephone calls were generated and there was no success in that. And then that evening, the president calls Ms. Currie at home to try once again to see if she had found Monica Lewinsky. But it was on that day that there was that critical meeting — on that Sunday — in the Oval Office between Betty Currie and the President of the United States.
And for that reason we need next to hear from Betty Currie, the president’s personal secretary, as to what occurred during that most unusual meeting on Sunday following the deposition.
Betty Currie testified in the grand jury that the president said that he had just been deposed, and that the attorneys had asked several questions about Monica Lewinsky. And this was a violation of the judge’s gag order, and the president, you know, made some comments that were not in line with that. He had some choices to make and he made the wrong choices.
But let’s look at Exhibit 14 which covers the series of statements made to Ms. Currie at this point. This is the testimony of Betty Currie. She is reciting to the grand jury each of the statements the president made to her after his grand jury testimony.
The first one, “I was never alone with Monica Lewinsky, right?”
Second, “You were always there — here when she was here, right?” “Monica Lewinsky came on to me and I never touched her, right?”
I’m not going to read each one of those. You can read them for yourself. You’ve heard those as well. But the president is making those simple, declaratory statements to her.
There’s three areas that are covered here. First of all, the president makes the case that he was never alone with Monica Lewinsky. Secondly, he’s making the point to her that she was the aggressor, not me. And the third point he is making, I did nothing wrong. Those are the basic three points of those five statements that the president made to Betty Currie.
During Betty Currie’s grand jury testimony, she was asked whether she believed that the president wished her to agree with the statement. Now. let’s look at Betty Currie for a second. She is the classical reluctant witness. Where are her loyalties as you would examine her testimony? Where is she uncomfortable in her testimony? When she’s asked a question, how does she shift in the chair? Those are the kinds of ways you have to evaluate the truthfulness of the testimony, where their loyalties lie and where their motives are. But during the question she’s clearly reluctant.
But she’s asked a series of questions, and she finally acknowledges that it was — that the president was intending for her to agree with the statements that were made. She says, “That is correct.” And that is at page 74 of Betty Currie’s grand jury testimony.
Now, when the president testified in the August 17 grand jury, he was questioned about his intentions when he made those five statements to Ms. Currie in the office on that Sunday. And the president’s explanation is as follows to the grand jury.
The president: “I thought we were going to be deluged by the press comments and I was trying to refresh my memory about what the facts were.”
And he goes on to testify: “So, I was not trying to get Betty Currie to say something that was untruthful, I was trying to get as much information as I quickly could.”
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, you have to determine what the purpose of those five statements to Betty Currie were. Were they to get information, or were they to get her to falsely testify when she was called as a witness?
Logic tells us that the president’s argument that he was just trying to refresh his memory is, well, so much of a novel legal defense strategy. First, consider the president’s option after he left the deposition. He could have abided by the judge’s gag order and not said anything.
Secondly, he could have called Betty Currie in and asked a question, an open-ended question: “Ms. Curry, or Betty, what do you remember happened?” The third option was to call her in and to make these declaratory statements, violate the judge’s order, and tamper with the anticipated testimony of Betty Currie. And that is the course that the president chose.
He made sure it was a face-to-face meeting, not a telephone call. He made sure no one else was present. He made sure that the meeting was on his territory, in his office, where he could feel comfortable and he could utilize the power and prestige of the — of his office, the greatest influence on her future testimony.
After Ms. Currie was in the president’s office, he made short, clear, understandable declarative statements telling Ms. Currie what the story was. He was not interested in what she knew. Why? Because he knew the truth, but he did not want Ms. Currie to tell the truth. The only way to ensure that was by telling her what to say, not asking her what she remembered.
You do not refresh someone’s memory by telling that person what he or she remembers. And you certainly do not make declarative statements regarding factual scenarios of which the listener was unaware. The statements that were made to her, Betty Currie could not have any possible knowledge about as to whether they were ever alone; as to whether she came on to him. No, this was not any attempt for the president to refresh his recollection. It was witness tampering, pure and simple.
Understanding the seriousness of the president’s attempting to influence the testimony of Ms. Currie, his attorneys have tried to argue that those statements could not constitute obstruction of justice because she had not been subpoenaed, and the president did not know that she was a potential witness at this time.
Well, the argument is refuted by both the law and the facts. The law is clear that a person may be convicted of obstructing justice if he corruptly influenced the testimony of a perspective witness. The witness does not actually have to give testimony. The witness does not have to be under any subpoena. The witness does not have to be on any witness list. And so the law is clear.
Secondly, let’s examine the defense in light of the facts. The president himself brought Ms. Currie into the civil rights case as a corroborating witness when he repeatedly used her name in the deposition. And just as significantly, the president had to be concerned about a looming perjury charge against him in light of his false testimony in the deposition. At least six times in that deposition, the president challenged the plaintiff’s attorneys to question Ms. Currie about a particular issue. You don’t have it in front of you, but you will see it when we distribute the copies of my remarks.
I’ll go through those six times. At page 58 of the deposition, president, when asked whether he was alone with Ms. Lewinsky, said — the president said that he was not alone with her or that Betty Currie was there with Monica.
At page 70, when asked about the last time the president saw Ms. Lewinsky, he falsely testified the only — he only recalled that she was there to see Betty. At page 64, he told the Jones lawyers to ask Betty whether Lewinsky was alone with him in the White House or not, or with Betty in the White House between the late hours.
At page 65 of the deposition, the president was asked whether Ms. Lewinsky sent packages to him, and he stated that Betty handled the packages.
At page 72, the president was asked whether he may have assisted in any way with the job search. He stated that he thought Betty suggested Vernon Jordan talk to Ms. Lewinsky.
At page 74, he said that Monica asked Betty to ask someone to talk to Ambassador Richardson. He asserted Betty as a corroborating witness at least six times in the deposition. There is no question but that Ms. Currie was a prospective witness and the president clearly wanted her to be deposed as a witness as his “ask Betty” questions testimony demonstrates.
But there’s another very important fact that has been, thus far, overlooked, and let me draw your attention to this. Two days before the president’s deposition, Betty Currie receives a call from Michael Isikoff, a report with Newsweek magazine, inquiring about the records of the — the courier records of gifts going from Ms. Lewinsky to the president.
You’ve got a news reporter for a national publication, two days before the president’s deposition, talking to the president’s secretary saying, I need to see the courier records of the White House.
What does Betty Currie do? She testified that she probably told the president this, then she tells Bruce Lindsey. But she also goes to see Vernon Jordan. Why? Why would the secretary go see Vernon Jordan because she had a press inquiry? The reason is, as we see later on — remember, this is January 15th.
What happened on December 28th, that we’ll get to a little bit later? December 28th, Betty Currie went and put those gifts under her bed. Why is she nervous? Because Michael Isikoff is calling about the gifts that are presently under her bed.
And she’s nervous. I would be nervous. And so, she goes to see Bruce Lindsey, she goes to see Vernon Jordan — I need help. What do I do? And she probably told the president. She — it’s all breaking loose. The house of cards is falling down, and she is either going to report to Mr. Jordan or to seek advice from him. Either way, she knows it’s serious and it all has legal consequences and she is a witness to it all.
And not only does Betty Currie’s testimony talk about this call from Michael Isikoff and going to see Vernon Jordan, but Vernon Jordan’s testimony confirms this visit as well. The president claims that he called Ms. Currie into work on that Sunday night only to find out what she knew. But the president knew about the truth on the relationship, and if he told the truth in the deposition the day before, he would have had no reason to be refreshed by Betty Currie.
More importantly, the president’s demeanor, Ms. Currie’s reaction, and the suggested lies clearly prove that the president was not merely interviewing Ms. Currie, rather, he was looking for corroboration for his false cover up, and that is why he coached her. He needed a witness for him, not against him.
Now let’s go to Exhibit 5 of Betty Currie’s testimony; excuse me, Exhibit 15. This is Betty Currie’s testimony before the grand jury on January 27, 1998. And Betty Currie is asked about this.
Now remember, it was on a Sunday that Betty Currie was first called into the White House to go through these five statements, this coaching by the president. And then she testified to the grand jury
Question: “Did there come a time after that you had another conversation with the president about some other news about what was going on — that would have been Tuesday or Wednesday — when he called you into the Oval Office?”
Betty Currie’s answer: “It was Tuesday or Wednesday. I don’t remember which one this was, either. But the best I remember, when he called me in the Oval Office, it was sort of a recapitulation of what we had talked about on Sunday, quote, ‘You know, I was never alone with her,’ that sort of thing.”
Question: “Did he pretty much list the same?”
Answer: “To my recollection, sir, yes.”
Question: “And did he say it in sort of the same tone and demeanor that he used the first time he told you on Sunday?”
Answer: “The best I remember, yes, sir.”
And this needs to be emphasized. Not only was that witness coaching taking place on Sunday, but it took place a couple of days later. It was twice repeated by the president to Betty Currie. He needed to have her good and in line.
This is more than witness tampering, it is witness compulsion of false testimony by an employer to a subordinate employee. This has nothing to do with facts, nothing to do with media inquiries. It has to do with keeping his team on board, keeping the ship from sinking and the hiding of facts that are important.
At this point we’re not talking about hiding personal facts from inquiring minds, but an effort to impede the legitimate and necessary functioning of our court system.
And now let’s go to Martin Luther King holiday, almost exactly a year ago, Monday, January 19th. And again, you’ll see the example of the frantic search for Monica Lewinsky; it continues. Exhibit 16 — and I’m just — I’m not going to go through all of this, but I want just want to briefly show the frantic activity on this particular day.
First of all, you’ll see Betty Currie is trying to fulfill her responsibility to get a hold of Ms. Lewinsky. She uses the pager system, and she says “Please call Kay at home.” Now, “Kay” is the code name that is used for Betty Currie; that’s the agreed-upon signal. And she uses three messages: “Please call Kay.” “Please call Kay.” “Please call Kay.”
And then she starts using different techniques to get her attention — it’s a social call. And then she later uses, it’s a family emergency. And then she later uses, It’s good news. She uses every means possible to get the attention of Monica Lewinsky.
And then at 8:50 a.m. the president telephones Currie at home. At 8:56 a.m. the president telephones Jordan, going on down to 10:56 a.m. the president telephones Jordan at his office. And so what is going on here? They’re nervous. They’re afraid. It is all breaking loose. They’re trying to get a hold of Monica Lewinsky to find out what is going on, why — who she is talking to.
Later that day, things continue to destabilize for the president. At 4:54 p.m. Mr. Jordan learned from the Attorney Frank Carter that he no longer represented Ms. Lewinsky. And so, Mr. Jordan’s link had been cut off. Mr. Jordan continued to attempt to reach the president, or someone at the White House.
Between 4:58 and 5:22 p.m., he made six calls trying to get a hold of someone at the Whitc House — the president. When Mr. Jordan was asked why he was urgently trying to get a hold of the White House. He responded, quote, “Because the president asked me to get Monica Lewinsky a job.”
And he thought it was, quote, “Information they ought to have.” Well, Jordan finally reaches the president about 6:00 p.m. and tells him that Mr. Carter had been fired. Why this flurry of activity? It shows how important it was for the president of the United States to find Ms. Lewinsky. Betty Currie was in charge of contacting Monica and it could not happen — it did not happen.
Ms. Lewinsky was a co-conspirator in hiding this relationship from the federal court, and he was losing control over her fast. In fact, she ultimately agreed to testify truthfully under penalties of perjury in this matter, and this was trouble for the president. And so, now let’s continue. Let’s continue exploring the web of obstruction, but to do this, we have to backtrack to what I’ve already referred to, and that was the incident on December 28th, the episode with the gifts.
On December 28th, another brick in the wall of obstruction was laid. It was the concealment of evidence. Ms. Lewinsky testified that she discussed with the president the fact that she had been subpoenaed, and that the subpoena called for her to produce gifts.
And this is what Ms. Lewinsky was telling the president at the meeting with him on December 28th. She testified before the grand jury she recalled telling the president that the subpoena in question had requested the hat pin and other items, and this concerned her — the specificity of it — and the president responded, it bothered him, too.
Well, let’s look at the testimony of Ms. Lewinsky, which is Exhibit 7 in your booklet. She’s referring to this meeting. Excuse me, I’m sorry, Exhibit 17, thank you. Exhibit 17.
This is Lewinsky testifying about the meeting: “And then at some point I said to him, the president, well, you know, should I — maybe I should put the gifts away outside my house somewhere, or give them to someone, maybe Betty,” end quote.
And he sort of said, I think he responded, I don’t know or let me think about that, and left that topic. Not exactly the response you would hope for, or expect from the president. But the answer led to action. Later that day Ms. Lewinsky got a call from Ms. Currie who said, “I understand you have something to give to me,” or, according to Ms. Lewinsky, “The president said you have something to give me.”
She wasn’t exactly sure of the phrase, but it was either “I understand you have something to give me,” what Betty Currie said, or Betty Currie said, “The president said you have something to give to me.” And, so, ladies and gentlemen, if you accept the testimony of Monica Lewinsky on that point, you must conclude that the directive to retrieve the gifts came from the president.
I will concede that there is a conflict in the testimony on this point with the testimony of Betty Currie. Ms. Currie, in her grand jury testimony, had a fuzzy memory, a little different recollection. She testified that the best she can remember Ms. Lewinsky called her, but when she was asked further she said, that maybe Ms. Lewinsky’s memory is better than hers on that issue.
But there is helpful evidence to clear up this discrepancy, or this inconsistency. Monica, you recall, in her deposition said she thought that Betty had called her and she thought that the call came from her cell phone number. Well, it was not know at the time of the question of Monica Lewinsky, but since then the cell-phone record was retrieved. You don’t have it in front of you, but it will be available. The cell-phone record was retrieved that showed on Betty Currie’s cell phone calls that a call made at 3:32 from Betty Currie to Monica Lewinsky.
And this confirms the testimony of Monica Lewinsky that the follow-up to get the gifts came from Betty Currie. The only way she would know about it, if the president directed her to go retrieve the gifts, as was discussed with Monica earlier.
Now, the president will argue that Monica’s time-line does not fit with the time of the cell phone call, but remember, the cell phone record was retrieved subsequent to both the testimony of Monica Lewinsky and Betty Currie before the grand jury, and therefore the record was not available to refresh the recollection or to make inquiry with them about that.
Monica Lewinsky’s time estimate as to when Betty Currie arrived to pick up the gifts was based upon her memory, without the benefit of records. The questions raised by the president on this issue are legitimate, and demonstrate the need to call the key witnesses to the trial of this case, and to assess which version of the events is believable and substantiated by the corroborating evidence.
This is certainly an area of testimony where the juror needs to hear from Betty Currie and Monica Lewinsky, and to examine all of the circumstantial evidence and documentary evidence to determine the truth. It is my belief, based upon common sense and based upon the documentary evidence, that the testimony of Monica Lewinsky is supported in the record, and it leads to the conclusion that it was the president who initiated this retrieval of the gifts, and the concealment of the evidence.
Now, there are many lawyers here in this room, and you know that in federal cases all across this country judges instruct juries on circumstantial evidence. We have presented to you a great amount of direct evidence, grand jury testimony, eyewitness testimony, documentary evidence, but juries can use circumstantial evidence as well.
And a typical line from the instruction that is given to federal courts — federal juries all across the land: The law makes absolutely no distinction between the weight or value to be given either to direct or circumstantial evidence, nor is a greater degree of certainty required of circumstantial evidence than of direct evidence.
And so, I think it’s incumbent upon you to evaluate the circumstances very carefully in addition to the testimony.
Now, let’s examine the key question for a moment: Why did Betty Currie pick up the gifts from Monica Lewinsky? Monica Lewinsky states that she did not request this, and the retrieval was initiated by the call from Betty Currie. This was after the meeting with the president. Monica Lewinsky’s version is corroborated by the cell phone record and the pattern of conduct on the part of Betty Currie.
What do I mean by that? As a loyal secretary to the president, it is inconceivable that she would go to retrieve gifts that she knows the president is very concerned about and could bring down the whole house. Betty Currie, a subordinate employee, would not engage in such activity on such a sensitive matter without the approval and direction of the president himself.
In addition, let’s look further at the actions of Betty Currie. It becomes clear that she understands the significance of these gifts, their evidentiary value in the civil rights case, and the fact that they’re under subpoena. She retrieved these items, and where does she place them? She hides them under bed, significantly, a place of concealment.
Now, let’s look at the president’s defense. The president stated in his response to questions 24 and 25 that was submitted from the House to the president, he said he was not concerned about the gifts. In fact, he recalled telling Monica that if the Jones lawyers request the gifts, she should just turn them over to him. The president testified he is not sure if he knew the subpoena asked for gifts. Now, why in the world would Monica and the president discuss turning over gifts to the Jones lawyer if Ms. Lewinsky had not told him that the subpoena asked for gifts?
On the other hand, if he knew the subpoena requested gifts, why would he give Monica more gifts on December 28th? This seems odd. But Ms. Lewinky’s testimony reveals the answer. She said that she never questioned, but that, quote, “that we were ever going to do anything but keep this private.” End quote. And that means to take quote “whatever appropriate steps need to be taken.” End quote. That’s from Monica’s grand jury testimony of August 6th.
Why would the president even meet with Monica Lewinsky on December 28th when their relationship was in question and he had a deposition coming up? Certainly he knew he would be questioned about it. Certainly if Monica became a witness, she would be questioned about the relationship; that she would be asked: “When was the last time you met with the president?” And now they have to say December 28th if they were going to tell the truth.
The answer is the president knew he had to keep Monica Lewinsky on the team and he is willing to take more risk so that she would continue to be a part of the conspiracy to obstruct the legitimate functions of the federal court in the civil rights case.
It should be remembered that the president has denied each and every allegation of the two articles of impeachment. He has denied each element of the obstruction of justice charges, including this allegation, that he encouraged a scheme to conceal evidence in a civil rights case. This straightforward denial illustrates the dispute in the evidence and testimony. It sets the credibility of Monica Lewinsky, the credibility of Betty Currie, the credibility of Vernon Jordan, and others, against the credibility of the President of the United States.
How can you, as jurors, determine who is telling the truth? I pointed to the corroborating evidence, the circumstantial evidence, as well as common sense, supporting the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, but let me ask you two questions: Can you convict the president of the United States without hearing personally the testimony of one of the key witnesses?
The second question is: Can you dismiss the charges under this strong set of facts and circumstances without hearing and evaluating the credibility of the key witnesses? Now, let me take this a step further and evaluate the credibility of the president.
Let’s first look back at his testimony on the December 28th meeting that he gave in his deposition. In that case, he seriously misrepresented the nature of his meeting with Miss Lewinsky, and that was the gift exchange.
First he was asked:
Question: “Did she tell you that she had been served with a subpoena in this case?”
The president answered flatly: “No, I don’t know if she had been.”
Again, this is his testimony in the deposition.
He was also asked in the deposition if he ever talked to Monica Lewinsky about the possibility of her testifying.
His answer, quote, “I’m not sure,” he said.
He then added he may have joked that the Jones lawyer might subpoena every woman he’d ever spoken to, and that “I don’t think we ever had more of a conversation about it than that.”
Not only does Monica Lewinsky directly contradict this testimony, but the president later had to answer questions in the grand jury about these same set of circumstances, and the president directly contradicted himself. Speaking of this December 28 meeting, he said that, quote, “He knew by then, of course, she had gotten a subpoena,” and they, quote, “Had a conversation about the possibility of her testifying,” end quote.
I submit to this body that the inconsistencies of the president’s own testimony, as well as common sense, seriously diminish his credibility on this issue.
Now, let’s go forward once again to the time period in which the president gave his deposition in the Paula Jones case. The president testified under oath on January 17th, and immediately thereafter, remember he brought Betty Currie in to present the set of false facts to her, seeking her agreement and coaching her.
But the president is fully convinced he can get by with his false denials because no one would really be able to prove what did or did not happen in the Oval Office. There were no witnesses. And it boils down to a he said/she said scenario, and as long as that’s the case he believes he can win. If the president can simply destroy Monica Lewinsky’s credibility in public and before the grand jury, then he will escape the consequences for his false statements under oath and the obstruction in the civil rights case.
Now, remember, this viewpoint, though, is all before the DNA tests were performed on the blue dress, forcing the president to acknowledge certain items. In order to carry out this cover-up and obstruction the president needed to go further. He needed not only Betty Currie to repeat his false statements, but also other witnesses, that would assuredly be called before the federal grand jury, and who would also be questioned by the news media in public forums. And this brings us to the false statements that the president made to his White House staff and presidential aides.
Let’s call Sidney Blumenthal and John Podesta to the witness stand, and I would concede that they would be adverse witnesses. And this is referred to in Exhibit 18 — Exhibit 18 that you have in front of you.
First, the testimony of Sidney Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal — to put this in perspective — is testifying about his conversations when the president called him in to go through these facts and what happened. And so, Mr. Blumenthal testified that it was at that point, that he, referring to the president, gave his account as to what happened to me. And he said that — and it was coming very fast — he said, “Monica Lewinsky came at me and made a sexual demand on me.” He rebuffed her. He said, “I’ve gone down that road before; I’ve caused pain for a lot of people; and I’m not going to do that again.”
Look at this next line. “She threatened him. She said that she would tell people they had an affair, that she was known as a stalker among her peers, and that she hated it, and if she had an affair or she had an affair, then she wouldn’t be the stalker anymore.”
And he said — he talks about this character in the novel, and I haven’t read that book — but the last line, “And I said to him, I said, ‘When this happened with Monica Lewinsky, were you alone?’ He said, ‘Well, I was within eyesight or earshot of someone.’ ”
Now, let’s go to John Podesta’s testimony, where he was called in the same fashion. The president talked to him about what has happened. “OK” — question: “OK, share that with us.”
Answer: “Well, I think he said that there was some spate of, you know, what sex acts were counted, and he said that he had never had sex with her in any way whatsoever. OK, that they had not had oral sex.”
And then just briefly, Dick Morris, we’ve heard this, I’ll just briefly refer to the last, “They’re not ready for it” — meaning the voters — and he told the president, “Well, we just have to win then.”
As the president has testified before the grand jury, he knew these witnesses would be called before the grand jury. At page 106 of the president’s testimony before the grand jury — I just want to confirm this point because it’s important — he testified — the question was, “You know that they” — and this is referring to John Podesta, Sidney Blumenthal and his aides — “that they might be witnesses. You knew they might be called in to the grand jury, didn’t you?”
His answer: “That’s right.” So there’s no question that these were witnesses that were going to testify before the grand jury. He was giving them false information and he did not limit it to that.
But his false statements then constitute witness tampering and obstruction of justice. But I think there are two significant points in the statements the president made to his aides.
First of all, the president who wants to do away with the politics of personal destruction indicates a willingness to destroy the credibility and reputation of a young person who worked in his office for what reason? In order to preserve, not only his presidency, but more significantly, to defeat the civil rights case against him.
It’s not a matter of saying he didn’t do it, because he could have simply uttered a denial. But he engaged in character assassination that he knew would be repeated to the federal grand jury and throughout the republic. She was a stalker. She threatened me. She came on to me. And it was — it was repeated.
Secondly, it makes it clear in his statements to John Podesta that he denies any sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, including oral sex. There’s no quibbling about definitions in his statement, it clearly reflects an intent to deceive, lie and obstruct our system of justice.
In this case, at every turn, he used whatever means available to evade the truth, destroy evidence, tamper with witnesses, and any other actions required to prevent evidence coming forth in the civil rights case that would prove a truth contrary to the president’s interest. He had obstructed the administration of justice before the United States district court in a civil rights case and before the federal grand jury.
But as we move toward a conclusion, let’s focus on the supporting — not just on the supporting cast that we’ve talked about, but we need to look at the direct and personal actions of the president.
And I want to look at Exhibit 20. And this just summarizes the seven pillars of obstruction. What did the president do that constitutes evidence of obstruction? He personally encouraged a witness, Monica Lewinsky, to provide false testimony.
Number two. The president had direct involvement in assuring a job for a witness. Underline direct involvement. He made the calls. And Vernon Jordan did. And it was connected with the filing of the false affidavit by that witness.
Third, the president personally, with corrupt intentions, tampered with the testimony of a perspective witness, Betty Currie.
Fourthly, the president personally provided false statements under oath before a federal grand jury.
Fifth, by direct and circumstantial evidence, the president personally directed the concealment of evidence under subpoena in a judicial proceeding.
Sixth, the president personally allowed false representations to be made by his attorney, Robert Bennett, to a federal district judge on January 17th.
Seventh, the president intentionally provided false information to witnesses before a federal grand jury, knowing that those statements would be repeated with the intent to obstruct the proceedings before that grand jury, and that is the statements that he made to the aides.
The seven pillars of obstruction case were personally constructed by the president of the United States. It was done with the intent that the truth and evidence would be suppressed in a civil rights case pending against him. The goal was to win and he was not going to let the judicial system stand in his way.
At the beginning of my presentation I tried to put this case into perspective for myself by saying that this proceeding is the same as to what takes place in every courtroom in America: The pursuit of truth, seeking equal justice, and upholding the law. All of that is true, but we know there is even more at stake in this trial. What happens here affects the workings of our Constitution. It will affect the presidency in future decades and it will have an impact on a whole generation of Americans. What is at stake is our Constitution and the principle of equal justice for all.
I have faith in the Constitution of the United States, but the checks and balances of the Constitution are carried out by individuals, individuals who are entrusted under oath with upholding the trust given to us by the people of this great land. If I believe in the Constitution, that it will work, then I must believe in you.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I trust the Constitution of the United States, but today it is most important that I believe in you. I have faith in the United States Senate. You have earned the trust of the American people, and I trust each of you to make the right decision for our country.
Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.