This is the statement by David Kendall at the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
Kendall was the President’s attorney.
Statement by President Clinton’s Attorney David Kendall.
REHNQUIST: The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment. The chaplain will offer a prayer.
OGILVIE: Dear God, you know what we need before we ask you. But in the asking, our minds and hearts are prepared to receive your answer.
In this impeachment trial, we’ve learned again that really listening over a prolonged period of time is hard work. Often it’s difficult to hear what is said because of differing convictions. Dissonance causes discordant static. Sometimes our preconceptions about what we think will be said keep us from hearing what is actually said.
Thank you for the commitment of the men and women of this Senate to serve you and our nation by accepting the demanding responsibility of listening for and evaluating truth.
Grant them renewed energy, sensitive audio nerves and discerning minds, for your glory and for the good of America.
The sergeant-at-arms will make the proclamation.
SERGEANT-AT-ARMS OF THE SENATE: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes the majority leader.
LOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Today, we’ll conclude the presentation of the White House counsels. And I understand that the presentation will last approximately four and one-half hours.
As we’ve done previously, we will take periodic breaks throughout the proceedings with the first one coming in approximately one hour and 15 minutes. I believe that would be approximately midway in the presentation of Mr. Counsel Kendall. And then we would probably take at least one more break laster on so that the senators and chief justice would have a chance to stretch and so would have some logical break in the presentations.
As a reminder, we will convene tomorrow at one p.m. to resume consideration of the articles. And at this point I would ask the indulgence of the chief justice and all senators as we would take up some routine matters before we resume consideration of the articles. These have been pre-cleared. I understand, though, that I would need to ask unanimous consent that, notwithstanding the consideration of the articles, that it be order at this time to conduct several routine legislative matters.
REHNQUIST: Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered.
LOTT: Mr. Chief Justice, there are three bills at the desk, and I would like to ask that bills be considered as read a third time. And I further ask that the bills be read a second time en bloc and would object to my own request.
REHNQUIST: Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered.
LOTT: Then the bills would be read a second time on the next legislative day, as I understand it.
REHNQUIST: The leader is correct.
LOTT: Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S. Res. 28, which would change the words “handicapped individuals” to “individuals with disabilities” in Rule 25.
LOTT: I further ask consent the resolution be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.
REHNQUIST: Is there objection? Without objection, it’s so ordered.
LOTT: Then that concludes our regular business. I believe that we are prepared for the concluding presentation by the White House Counsel and I yield the floor, Mr. Chief Justice.
REHNQUIST: If there’s no objection, the journal of proceedings of the trial are approved to date pursuant to the provisions of Senate Rule 16, Resolution 16, the counsel for the president have 18 hours and nine minutes remaining to make the presentation of their case.
The Senate will now hear you. The presiding officer recognizes Mr. Counsel Kendall.
DAVID KENDALL: Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate, managers from the House of Representatives, good afternoon.
I’m David Kendall of the law firm of Williams & Connolly, and since 1993, it has been my privilege to represent the president in the torturous and meandering White Water investigation which approximately a year ago was transformed in a remarkable way into the Lewinsky investigation.
I want to address this morning — this afternoon certain allegations of obstruction of justice contained in Article II of the Articles of impeachment.
Mr. Manager Sensenbrenner remarked that no prior article alleging obstruction of justice has ever been — has ever reached this chamber. So this is a case of first impression. Deputy Counsel Cheryl Mills yesterday addressed the parts of Article II pertaining to gifts and the president’s conversations with Ms. Currie, and I will cover this afternoon the remaining five sub-parts of Article II.
The evidence plainly shows that the president did not obstruct justice in any way and there is nothing in this article which would warrant his removal from office.
As I begin I want to thank you for your open minds, for your attention, for your withholding judgment until you’ve heard all of our evidentiary presentation.
There are a lot of myths about what the evidence is in this case. Some of them are misunderstandings based upon erroneous media reports. Some spring from confusion in the evidence itself, and some are the result of concerted partisan distortion.
I want to talk to you this afternoon about what the record is and what the evidence actually shows. And I apologize to you in advance if the process is tedious. What I think I’ve got to request from you is your common sense and some uncommon patience.
But the evidence, those stubborn facts, are critically important to inform your ultimate vote on these articles.
I’ll do my best to avoid repetition and lawyer talk, although I am a lawyer.
In our trial memorandum, we gave you the citations to the evidence I’m going to be referencing so you can check the facts there. I want to say that I welcome your scrutiny.
My presentation this morning consists of six parts, and I’d like, if I could, to give you those as milestones.
I want to make some remarks generally about evidence, and then I want to consider the specific evidence which is relevant to each of the five subparts I’m going to be talking about.
I’m going to do them out of numerical order, but what I hope is in a logical order. I’m going to cover Article I first, then Article II, then Article V, Article VII and Article IV.
Ms. Mills yesterday has already covered III and VI.
First of all, a few words about evidence. We’ve heard a great deal about the rule of law in the various presentations of the House managers. But what’s at issue here, and I think Mr. Manager Graham made this point very well, is a solemn obligation which is constitutionally committed to this body. Your decision, whatever it is, is not going to have some kind of domino effect that ineluctably leads to that midnight knock at the door.
The rule of law is more than rhetoric. It means that in proceedings like these, where important rights are being adjudicated, that evidence matters. Fairness matters. Rules of procedural regularity matter. The presumption of innocence matters. And proportionality matters.
The rule of law is not the monopoly of the House managers, and it ought to be practiced in these proceedings as well as talked about in speeches.
We’ve heard a lot of pejorative rhetoric about legal hairsplitting that the president and his legal team have engaged in, and as a member of that legal team I’ve paid attention to that rhetoric. But as I sat there listening to the various presentations, they struck me as somewhat odd, because one of the hallmarks of the rule of law is careful procedures and explicit laws which try to define rights for every citizen.
It’s not legal hair-splitting to raise available defenses or to point out gaps in the evidence or to make legal arguments based upon precedent, however technical and politically unpopular some of those arguments may be.
And I think it’s particularly important in a proceeding like this, where the charge is an accusation of crime. And Mr. Manager McCollum was quite explicit in his argument that the first thing you have to determine here is whether the president committed any crimes.
I’m going to try and focus on the facts and the evidence concerning obstruction of justice. I don’t think there is a need for me to go into the law. We have set forth the relevant legal principles in our trial memorandum.
Mr. Ruff and Ms. Mills very ably covered some of the governing principles and Ms. Mills played some videotape excerpts of experts.
So I don’t think there’s any need for me to rehearse that here. Indeed, our primary disagreement with the very able House managers concerns the evidence and what it shows.
Now, in December the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives reported four articles of impeachment to the floor. Two of those — one involving — one alleging perjury in the president’s January 17, 1998 deposition in the Paula Jones case; and one alleging abuse of power were specifically considered by the House and just as specifically rejected, although the House managers have very cleverly attempted to weave into their discussion of the two articles that were adopted, some of the rejected allegations.
Now, on the chart, Article II alleges that the president has in some way impeded or covered up the existence of evidence relevant to the Paula Jones case. That’s the whole focus of this article. It focuses on alleged impact on the Paula Jones case.
It’s important because when we get to subpart 7, we’ll see that there is no way the allegations there could be a part of this article or impact the Paula Jones case.
The president supposedly accomplished this obstruction of justice through — and here I quote — “one or more of the following acts.” Now, here I think I should observe that this one or more menu as it were is plainly defective in a constitutional sense because, as we’ve pointed out in our answer and our trial memorandum, and as Mr. Ruff has made clear in his presentation, such a format makes it impossible to assure the constitutionally required two-thirds of senators voting concur on any particular ground that is alleged. Since the Senate’s rules provide that you can’t split up this menu, you’ve got to cover all seven allegations together, it would be possible for the president to be convicted without that requisite two-thirds majority, because you might get nine or ten votes in favor of the article based on each of the seven different grounds.
The Constitution, of course, gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and it’s exercised that power to adopt Article II. However, several of the allegations about what the president did to obstruct justice, supposedly, in the House managers’ presentation are nowhere contained in these seven sub-parts. They’re simply not there.
For example, you heard repeatedly about the president’s use in his deposition of the term “alone,” was he ever alone with Ms. Lewinsky, and the managers claim that that somehow obstructed justice. The allegation that this consisted of an impeachable offense, however, was rejected when the House of Representatives voted down the one of the four articles alleging deposition perjury.
You’ve also heard reference to the president’s allegedly false and misleading answers to the 81 interrogatories sent to the president in November by the House Judiciary Committee.
Again, an article based upon those interrogatory answers was voted down in the House of Representatives. I’d like you to bear in mind an image which Mr. Manager Hutchinson and Counsel Ruff shared in some way. You will see that they didn’t share it entirely.
Mr. Manager Hutchinson referred to the seven pillars of obstruction. Mr. White House Counsel Ruff referred to the seven shifting sand castles of speculation. Won’t surprise you that I agree with Mr. Ruff’s characterization.
But the important point is that there are seven grounds in this article. There are not eight, there are not 19, there are not seven, there are seven charges. That’s what the House enacted and that’s what we’re going to address and rebut.
Before considering the five articles — the five subparts of Article II that I’m going to be addressing, I’d like to say a few words about the different kinds of evidence that you’re going to have to consider.
There is first direct evidence. Now, this is the most probative kind of evidence because it’s the least ambiguous. It comes directly from the five senses of the witness, and for example when the witness testifies about something the witness did, that is direct evidence.
From the House managers’ very skillful presentation, you would not be aware of the large amount of direct evidence which is in the record which refutes and contradicts the allegations of obstruction of justice. I’m going to cover that in detail this afternoon.
The second kind of evidence is what the law calls circumstantial. And this describes any evidence which is probative only if a certain conclusion or inference is drawn from the evidence. Circumstantial evidence is admissible, but by definition it is to some degree ambiguous because it’s not direct.
Its probative power, or its value, depends upon the strength of the inference you can logically draw from it.
Let me give you an example. You walk out of your house in the morning and you see the sidewalk is completely wet. Now, you might conclude that it had rained the night before and you might be reasonably confident in that conclusion.
However, were your sharp eyes to focus further and observe your neighbor’s sprinkler sitting right by the sidewalk dripping from the sprinkler head, you might want to revise your conclusion.
As one court has stated, “circumstantial evidence presents a danger that the trier of fact may leap logical gaps in the proof offered and draw unwarranted conclusions based on probabilities of low degree.”
If a criminal charge is to be based on conclusions drawn from circumstantial evidence rather than on direct evidence, those conclusions have got to be virtually unavoidable. Most of the obstruction case presented — and they have recognized this. And Mr. Manager Hutchinson recognized it on Sunday — is based on circumstantial evidence. And that evidence is as at best profoundly ambiguous.
They told you that they had painted a picture with circumstantial evidence. I think what they’ve in fact done is given you a rorschach test.
I’d like to now turn to the five subparts of Article II which I intend to cover.
And I want to describe as to each the relevant direct evidence in the record, the circumstantial evidence, and the portions of the managers’ presentation which do not in fact constitute either kind of evidence, but in fact represent speculation, theorizing and hypothesis.
What I believe you will find is that the direct evidence disproves the charges of obstruction and the managers have had to rely on contradictory and unpersuasive circumstantial evidence to try to make their case.
Subpart one of Article II alleges that the president encouraged Ms. Lewinsky to execute an affidavit in the Paula Jones case that he knew to be perjurious, false and misleading.
The House managers allege that during a December 17 telephone conversation, Miss Lewinsky asked the president, what she could do if she were subpoenaed in the Jones’ case.
And the president responded, well, maybe you could sign an affidavit. And that’s a statement the president does not dispute making. It’s hard to believe, but this statement of the president to Miss Lewinsky advising her of the possibility of totally lawful conduct is the House managers’ entire factual basis for supporting the first allegation in subpart one.
The managers don’t claim that the president advised her to file a false affidavit, that’s not what subpart one alleges. And there’s no evidence in the record anywhere to support such an allegation. Nor do the managers allege he even told her, advised her, urged her, or suggested to her what to put into her affidavit.
The charge which the managers have spun out of this single statement by the president is refuted by the direct evidence.
First of all, Ms. Lewinsky has repeatedly and forcefully denied any and all suggestions that the president ever asked her to lie. In her proffer, and a proffer of course is an offer made to a prosecutor to try and get immunity, she made one in her own handwriting on February the First, 1998, and she stated explicitly that neither the president nor anyone on his behalf ever told, ever ask or encouraged Ms. Lewinsky to lie.
In an FBI interview conducted on July 27th, she made two similar statements. And you see them up here on the chart. Neither the president or Jordan ever told Lewinsky that she had to lie. Neither the president nor anyone ever directed Lewinsky to say anything or to lie. And it was the FBI agent who transcribed those two comments.
Now, I’d like to focus on the fact that she told the FBI the president never directed her to say anything or to lie. I think that is particularly telling as direct evidence in the context of this allegation that the president supposedly urged her to file an affidavit that he knew would be false.
Finally, in Miss Lewinsky’s August the 20th grand jury testimony, she stated — and she had to volunteer to do it– “no one ever asked me to lie, and I was never promised a job for my silence.”
No one ever asked me to lie, and I was never promised a job for my silence. Is there something difficult to understand here? It’s interesting to see how the House managers try to establish that somehow the president asked Miss Lewinsky to file a false affidavit, but their argument essentially begs the question.
They argue that the president in fact somehow encouraged her to lie, because both parties knew the affidavit would have to be false and misleading to accomplish the desired result.
But again, there’s no evidence to support this conjecture and in fact, the opposite is true. Both Ms. Lewinsky and the president have testified repeatedly that given the particular claims being made in the Jones’ case, they both honestly believed that a truthful, albeit limited, affidavit might, might establish that Ms. Lewinsky had nothing relevant to offer in the way of testimony in the Jones case.
The president explained in his grand jury testimony on at least five occasions in response to the prosecutor’s questions that he believed Ms. Lewinsky could execute a truthful, but limited affidavit that would have established there was no basis for calling her as a witness to testify in the Jones case.
For example, the president told the grand jury, “But I’m just telling you that it’s certainly true what she says here, that we didn’t have — there was no employment, no benefit and exchange. There was nothing having to do with sexual harassment. And if she defined sexual relationship in the way I think most Americans do, then she told the truth.”
Or, again, the president told the grand jury: “I’ve already told you that I felt strongly that she could issue, that she could execute an affidavit that would be factually truthful that might get her out of having to testify. And did I hope she’d be able to get out of testifying on an affidavit? Absolutely. Did I want her to execute a false affidavit? No, I did not.”
It’s important to bear in mind that the Paula Jones case was a sexual harassment case, although it turned out to be legally groundless, and it involved allegations of non-consensual sexual solicitation.
Ms. Lewinsky’s relationship to the president had been consensual, she knew nothing whatsoever about the allegations in the Jones case, there’s no evidence in the record that she’d ever been in Arkansas in her life, and in any event the Jones case arose out of factual allegations dating from May of 1991 when the president was governor of Arkansas, long before Ms. Lewinsky had even met the president.
Now, it’s not simply the president who believed that in the circumstances here, Ms. Lewinsky could have filed an affidavit which could have been truthful and which might have gotten her released from testifying in a Jones case deposition. Ms. Lewinsky also has testified that she might have been able to file a truthful affidavit which have accomplished that purpose.
For example, she told the FBI in an interview after she obtained immunity on July 29th, that she had told Linda Tripp that the purpose of an affidavit was to avoid being deposed, and that she thought one could do this by giving only a portion of the whole story, so the Jones lawyers would not think the person giving the affidavit had anything of relevance to their case.
Again, in the same interview with the FBI, Ms. Lewinsky stated that the goal of such an affidavit was to be as benign as possible so as to avoid being deposed. Again, in her grand jury testimony on August 6th, Ms. Lewinsky testified that “I thought that signing an affidavit could range from anywhere.
“The point of it would be to deter or to prevent me from being deposed, and so that there could range from anywhere between maybe just something — somehow mentioning, you know, innocuous things.”
It’s not disputed that the president showed no interest in viewing a draft of Miss Lewinsky’s affidavit, did not review it and according to Miss Lewinsky, said he did not need to see it.
This fact is obviously exculpatory. If the president were truly concerned about what was going into Miss Lewinsky’s affidavit, surely he would have wanted to review it prior to its summation.
Now, to counter this inference, the House managers offer speculation. Mr. Manager McCollum tried to downplay the significance of this fact by asking you to engage in sheer surmise.
He said on Friday, “I doubt seriously the president was talking about 15 other affidavits that he had supposedly seen of someone else and didn’t like looking at affidavits any more. I suspect, and I would suggest to you, he was talking about 15 other drafts of this proposed affidavit since it had been around the horn, a lot of rounds.”
Well, as the able House manager himself stated, this suggestion is mere suspicion, speculation. It flies in the face of Ms. Lewinsky’s direct testimony. There’s evidence of only a few drafts, and there’s no evidence that the president ever saw any draft.
Now, Ms. Lewinsky was under no obligation to volunteer to the Paula Jones lawyers every last detail about her relationship with the president.
And the fact that the president did not advise her or instruct her to do so is neither wrong nor an obstruction of justice. The fact is that a limited truthful affidavit might have established that Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony was simply not relevant to the Jones case.
The president knew and had told Ms. Lewinsky that a great many other women he knew who had been subpoenaed by the Paula Jones lawyers had tried to avoid — had to tried to avoid the burden, the expense, and the humiliation of a deposition by filing an affidavit in support of a motion to quash the deposition subpoena and by arguing in the affidavit that the subpoenaed woman had no relevant evidence for the Jones case.
The Jones lawyers were casting a very wide net for evidence that they could use to embarrass the president. The discovery cut-off in the case was fast approaching.
That’s the point at which you can’t take anymore discovery. And there was some chance both Ms. Lewinsky and the president felt that she could escape deposition through an accurate, but limited affidavit.
Moreover, there is significant evidence in the record that at the time she executed her affidavit, Ms. Lewinsky honestly could believe, honestly believed that she could deny a sexual relationship given what she believed to be the definition of that term. In an audiotape conversation which Linda Tripp secretly recorded, Ms. Lewinsky declared: “I never even came close to sleeping with the president. We didn’t have sex.”
Again, I would remind you of Mr. Craig’s presentation yesterday concerning Ms. Lewinsky’s understanding of the term “sexual relations” which was the same as the president’s.
Now, there’s another part of the chronology here, and a circumstantial evidence case often rests heavily on chronology, that the House managers simply ignore in their attempt to fit some of the facts into a sinister pattern. Ms. Lewinsky’s name appeared on the Paula Jones witness list, which the managers tell us accurately, the president’s lawyers reviewed with him on Saturday, December 6th.
She was one of a great many people named on the witness list.
Now, if the president’s concern was so intense about the appearance of her name on the list, would he have waited until December 17th to talk to her? There’s no explanation for this delay, which is consistent with intense concern on the president’s part except that her appearance, with a lot of others, was not particularly troubling to him.
The main reason for his phone call on December 17th to Ms. Lewinsky, the unrebutted evidence shows, is that he wanted to tell Miss Lewinsky that Betty Currie’s brother had died. Indeed, three days after that telephone call, Miss Lewinsky attended the funeral of Miss Currie’s brother on December the 20th.
Now, insofar as you want to draw analogy, or you draw inferences from the chronology of events in December, this long delay is circumstantial evidence that the president felt no particular urgency, either to alert Ms. Lewinsky that her name was on the witness list or make any suggestions to her about an affidavit.
Remember her repeated testimony, which is direct evidence, no one ever asked her to lie. Now, subpart two of Article II alleges that the president obstructed justice by encouraging Ms. Lewinsky in that same late night telephone call — two of these articles rest on this same telephone call — to give perjurious, false and misleading testimony, if and when she was called to testify personally in the Jones litigation.
Now, it was interesting to me that a couple of days ago, the House managers released a response to our presentation and they concede here that the president and Ms. Lewinsky did not discuss the deposition that evening of December 17th because Monica — they call her Monica — had not been subpoenaed. Well, that’s true.
There was no deposition subpoena received by Ms. Lewinsky until two days later.
Now, the lawyers in the room know something about what witness lists are and what they contain that the civilian part of the world may not know.
As lawyers get ready to go to trial and the judge requires them to put their witnesses on the witness list, you put every witness you can think of who might conceivably be relevant from, Mr. Aardvark to Ms. Zanzibar, all of them go on the witness list. And that’s what had happened here. It wasn’t until you get something like a subpoena for a deposition that you know a witness is really going to be a significant player in a trial.
Well, let’s look at the allegations here. And remember, these allegations focus on December 17th, two days before Ms. Lewinsky is going to receive her subpoena.
I think you logically begin with the direct evidence.
And the direct evidence is the testimony of the two people involved in the telephone conversation, Ms. Lewinsky and the president. Ms. Lewinsky has repeatedly stated that no one ever urged her to lie and that this plainly applies to this December 17 conversation.
She said in her handwritten proffer that I had on the chart earlier that the president did not ask her or encourage her to lie. She made that statement when talking to the independent counsel, when her fate was in the hands of the independent counsel, when her immunity agreement could be broken and she could be prosecuted.
She’s nevertheless continued to maintain that nobody asked her ever to lie. She said in the July 27 FBI interview neither the president nor Mr. Jordan ever told her she had to lie, and she said that in her grand jury testimony.
It’s interesting to hear all the ways that the House managers, and they are very skillful, try to minimize the importance of this direct evidence. You’d think Ms. Lewinsky’s statements under oath were irrelevant to this case.
She gave this testimony for the most part when she was subject to prosecution for perjury. It simply cannot be blandly dismissed because it was given under this threat. Indeed, Mr. Manager Hutchinson, and I’d like to quote him, shares this same belief with me. He told you, standing right here, that Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony is credible and she has the motive to tell the truth because of her immunity with the independent counsel, where she gets in trouble only if she lies.
Likewise, the president has consistently insisted he never asked Ms. Lewinsky to lie. In his grand jury testimony last August, he said that he and Ms. Lewinsky might have talked about what to do in a non- legal context at some point in the past if anybody inquired about their relationship, although he had no specific memory of such a conversation and he testified that they did not talk about this in connection with Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony in the Jones case.
He was asked by one of the prosecutors: And in that conversation on December 17 or in any conversation in which you informed her she was on the witness list, did you tell, you know, you can always say that you were coming to see Betty or bringing me letters. Did you tell her anything like that?
The president: I don’t remember. She was coming to see Betty, I can tell you that. I absolutely never asked her to lie. There is, thus, no direct testimony from anybody that on December 17, the president asked Ms. Lewinsky to lie if called to testify in the Jones case.
Here the House managers don’t really even rely on circumstantial evidence to refute the direct testimony of the two relevant witnesses, they rely instead on what they assert is logic.
They claim that while the president maybe didn’t specifically tell her to lie, he somehow suggested that she give a false account of the relationship. What you should infer, according to them, is based upon what they may have said about their relation at other times, previous times, to this late night December 17th phone call, the president somehow suggested that she say the same thing at her deposition, something like, you know, you can always say you were coming to see Betty, or that you were bringing me letters.
Their claim boils down, however, to the inferences to be drawn from the uncontested fact that in the past before this time, before this December 17th phone call, the president and Ms. Lewinsky had had discussions about what she should say if asked about her visits to the Oval Office.
Both have acknowledged that. Not surprisingly, at the time these conversations occurred, they were both concerned to conceal their improper relationship from others while it was going on.
Cover stories are an almost inevitable part of every improper relationship between two human beings. By its very nature the relationship is one that has to be concealed and therefore misleading cover stories inevitably accompany that relationship.
Now, to say that is not to excuse it or to exonerate it or justify it, but rather to emphasize that the testimony about “visiting Betty” or “bringing me letters” is in the record, but it’s not linked in any way to the December 17 phone call or to any testimony or affidavit with regard to the Jones case.
Here again, I want to go to the direct evidence that’s relevant on count two because it undercuts the managers’ suggestion that this discussion of the cover stories actually occurred in the context of the discussion about the Paula Jones case.
Now, here on a chart we have a blowup of Ms. Lewinsky’s — part of Ms. Lewinsky’s handwritten proffer to the independent counsel on February 1, which makes it clear that she does recall having the discussion with the president in which he said that if anyone questioned her about visiting him she should say she was either bringing him letters or visiting Betty Currie, but Ms. Lewinsky states there is truth to both of these statements.
It was a cover story, but there was some truth in it.
She also went out of her way in this proffer to emphasize that while she did not recall precisely when the discussions about cover stories occurred, they occurred prior to the subpoena in the Paula Jones case. That’s what you see in her paragraph 11.
Her paragraph 11 refers back to paragraph 2, and her point is that while she and the president did have these discussions, it was not in the context of her testimony.
In paragraph 4, also, as you see from the chart or from your handout, as to the contents of any possible testimony, Ms. Lewinsky wrote that to the best of her recollection, she did not believe she discussed the content of any deposition during the December 17th conversation with the president.
Now in an FBI interview on July the 31st, after she had received immunity from the independent counsel, the FBI agent noted what Ms. Lewinsky had told him. Lewinsky advised, though they did not discuss the issue in specific relationship to the Jones matter, she and Clinton had discussed what to say when asked about Lewinsky’s visits to the White House.
This is direct evidence. Nobody denies that there was a discussion of cover stories early in the relation, but there is no evidence that it occurred in connection in any way with the Jones case.
Now again, despite Ms. Lewinsky’s direct and unrefuted testimony about the December 17th telephone call, the House managers ask you to conclude that the president must have asked her to testify falsely because she had, by her own account, on prior occasions assured the president that she would deny the relationship.
Think for a moment about that. They ask you to accept their speculation in the face of contradictory evidence from both parties and use that as a basis on which to remove the president. Again, Ms. Lewinsky never stated that she told the president anything about denying their relationship in December 17 or at any other time when she’d been identified as a witness. Indeed, she testified in the grand jury that that discussion did not take place after she’d learned she was a witness in the Jones case.
And again we have her grand jury testimony displayed on the chart. A grand juror’s asking her questions.
Question: “Is it possible that you also had these discussions about cover stories or denying the relationship after you learned that you were a witness in the Paula Jones case?”
Ms. Lewinsky: “I don’t believe so.”
Juror — and these jurors were very good at questioning witnesses throughout this proceeding.
“Can you exclude that possibility?”
Ms. Lewinsky: “I pretty much can’t. I really don’t remember it.”
Direct testimony given when Ms. Lewinsky was covered by an immunity agreement that could only be divested by her perjuring herself.
There’s another thing which I think is relevant here, and that is that Ms. Lewinsky has stated several times that while these were cover stories, they were not untrue. In her handwritten proffer, as you’ve seen, she stated that she asked the president what to say if anyone asked her about her visits, and he said, you could mention Betty Currie or bringing me letters. And she added that there was truth to both of these statements, and that neither of those statements was untrue.
Indeed, she testified to the grand jury that she did in fact bring papers to the president. And that on some occasions she visited the Oval Office only to see Ms. Currie.
Question, the grand jury: Did you actually bring the president papers at all? Yes.
All right tell us a little about that. It varied. Sometimes it was just actual copies of letters.
And again in her August 6, 1998 grand jury appearance, Ms. Lewinsky testified, I saw Betty on every time that I was there. Most of the time, my purpose was to see the president, but there were some times when I did just go see Betty, but the president wasn’t in the office.
Ms. Lewinsky and Ms. Currie were friends and they did have a separate social relationship. Now, the managers assert that these stories were misleading and the House committee report on the articles of impeachment declared that these stories about Ms. Currie and delivering papers was a rouse. It had no legitimate business purpose. In other words, while the so-called stories were literally true, the explanations might have been misleading.
But the literal truth here, while it may appear legalistic and hairsplitting, is in fact a defense to both the perjury and the obstruction of justice charges under the rule of law.
While the president and Ms. Currie — and Ms. Lewinsky had discussed cover stories while their improper relationship was in progress, there is simply no evidence that they discussed this at any time when Ms. Lewinsky was a witness in the Jones case.
The next sub-part I want to consider is sub-part five. Sub-part five alleges that at the deposition the president allowed his attorney to make false and misleading statements to a federal judge, characterizing an affidavit, in order to prevent questioning deemed relevant by the judge.
It alleges obstruction solely because the president did not say anything when his attorney, Mr. Bennett, cited Ms. Lewinsky’s affidavit in an unsuccessful argument to Judge Wright that evidence concerning Ms. Lewinsky should not be admitted at that point because it was irrelevant to the Jones case.
At one point, Mr. Bennett, the president’s lawyer, states that according to the affidavit there’s no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form. Now, this claim, which also is presented in the perjury section, as Mr. Craig pointed out, is deficient as an allegation of obstruction both as a matter of fact and as a matter of law.
But I will say one thing. The direct evidence on this point is uniquely available because there is only one witness who can testify about what was in his thoughts at a given moment, and the president has testified at great length in his grand jury testimony about what he was thinking at this point.
The president told the grand jury that he was simply not focusing closely on the exchange between the lawyers but was instead concentrating on his own testimony.
He said, “I’m not even sure I paid much attention to what he [ Mr. Bennett] was saying. I was thinking. I was ready to get on with my testimony here, and they were having these constant discussions all through the deposition.”
And again the president testifies: “I didn’t pay any attention to this colloquy going on. I was waiting for my instructions as a witness to go forward. I was worried about my own testimony.”
And I think Mr. Craig provided you with a background yesterday that I won’t repeat here, but I would refer you to, about what was on the president’s mind at the time.
Now, Mr. Manager McCollum made a very polished and articulate presentation to you, and he predicted that the president’s lawyers were going to argue that the president sat in silence because he wasn’t paying attention.
And we have indeed argued this and it is the truth, based upon what the president has testified he was thinking about.
But Mr. McCollum went on to argue that there was circumstantial evidence available from the videotape of the president at this deposition. He stated, I quote him, “We’ve already seen the video. And you know that he was looking so intently. Remember, he was intently following the conversation with his eyes. I don’t how anybody can say this man wasn’t paying attention. He certainly wasn’t thinking about anything else. That was very obvious from looking at the video.”
Well, you all saw the video during the House managers’ presentations and we saw a lot of the president at the deposition yesterday when Mr. Craig played the first part of it.
If you observe the president throughout the time you see him on the video in the deposition, you will conclude that the look on his face was no different from when it was during other discussions or arguments of counsel about evidentiary or procedural matters.
The videotape does not, fairly considered, indicate that the president was in fact focusing on the lengthy colloquy among his lawyers or that he knowingly made a decision not to correct his own lawyer.
Now the president has received a great deal of criticism because at one point in his grand jury testimony, when asked about Mr. Bennett’s statement, the president responds to the prosecutor that whether Mr. Bennett’s statement is true depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.
That is, there’s no sex of any kind. That’s gotten its share of laughs.
But when you read the president’s grand jury transcript in context, this was a serious matter and it’s apparent that the president was not in any way describing what was in his own mind at the time of the deposition, but he’s rather discussing Mr. Bennett’s statement from the vantage of the president’s later grand jury testimony. He’s interpreting what his own lawyer was saying, and Mr. Craig pointed this out yesterday.
That interpretation was not perjury in Article I and it’s not obstruction of justice in Article II.
What the exchange was was that the president in response to one of the prosecutors explains why on one reading Mr. Bennett’s statement may not be false.
Now, it may be hairsplitting and it may be professorial and it may be technical, but the important thing is, it’s a retrospective assessment. The president is not talking about himself, he’s talking about how to construe Mr. Bennett’s statement. And what he says is, there is a way in which Mr. Bennett’s statement at the deposition is accurate. That is, if Mr. Bennett was referring to the relationship between the president and Ms. Lewinsky on that date, it was an accurate statement, because the improper relationship was over a long time earlier.
Now, the relevant point here is that the president’s disquisition on the word “is” and its meaning was not an attempt to explain his own thinking at the time of the deposition, but was rather his later interpretation of what Mr. Bennett had said at the deposition.
In light of the president’s direct, unequivocal testimony, the speculation about what was in his mind is simply baseless, and there is in fact no evidence to support the charge leveled in subpart 5 of Article II.
There’s another reason to reject the charge and that is that the law imposes no obligation on the client to monitor his or her lawyers’ every statement and representation.
Particularly in a civil deposition in which the client is being questioned. Clients are routinely advised to focus on the questions posed, think carefully about the answer, answer only the question asked and ignore distractions.
And sometimes, sad to say, the statements of one’s own lawyer can be a distraction. And those of you who are lawyers and have defended people in depositions know that that’s the advice you give the client.
There was good reason for the president to be thinking about his own testimony and leave the legal fencing to the lawyers.
Because whatever else may be said about it, there can be no doubt that the Jones case itself was a vehicle for partisan attack on the president and that he was going to be facing a series of hostile and difficult questions at the deposition.
Now, Judge Wright ultimately ruled that giving Ms. Jones every benefit of the doubt, she’d failed both legally and factually to present allegations that merited going to trial. But while it was legally meritless, while it was going on the case did impose a significant toll on the president both personally and politically.
And let’s be clear about one other thing while we’re looking at this deposition and while you review the significance of the president listening in silence to Mr. Bennett’s conduct.
As Mr. Craig described yesterday, Judge Wright in fact interrupted Mr. Bennett in mid-sentence as he was describing Miss Jones’ affidavit. She didn’t allow him to complete his objection in which he cited the Lewinsky affidavit. She quickly interjected — and this is sometimes what judges do to the most learned of lawyers — she quickly interjected and said no, just a moment. Let me make my ruling, and then she proceeded to allow the very line of questioning that Mr. Bennett was trying to prevent.
So the president’s silence, whatever motivated it, had absolutely no impact on the conduct of the Jones deposition.
And also, let’s be clear about one other thing. Nothing about this interchange between Mr. Bennett and Judge Wright blocked the ability of the Jones lawyers to obtain information about the president’s relationship with Miss Lewinsky, because the Jones lawyers had been briefed the night before in great detail by Ms. Linda Tripp.
Ms. Tripp had already gotten her own immunity agreement from the Office of Independent Counsel and had set up a lunch with Ms. Lewinsky at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the day before the deposition, Friday, January 16th.
And at that lunch, of course, Ms. Lewinsky was apprehended by the office of independent counsel and held for the next 12 hours.
In the meantime, however, Ms. Tripp goes back to her home where she meets with the Jones lawyers that Friday night before the deposition, and loads them up with all the information she has obtained from her illegal secret audiotaping of Ms. Lewinsky.
That’s why they were able to ask the questions they did with such specificity and conviction. Indeed, there is one point in the examination of the president where he says to the Jones lawyer whose examining Mr. Fisher, he asks a question and Fisher says, “Sir, I think this will come” — he asked a question about “Can you tell me why you’re asking these specific questions?” And Fisher replies, “Sir, I think this will come to light shortly, and you will understand.”
Well, ironic that I’m making a presentation today on July 21 because it did come to light just as Mr. Fisher knew it would, just as Ms. Tripp knew it would. It came to light one year ago exactly when the story broke in the Washington Post.
This leading exchange between Mr. Bennett and Judge Wright, before she overruled his objection, couldn’t and didn’t have any impact on the Jones lawyers conduct.
Now, I want to look briefly at one other part of subpart five, because it alleges, it continues to make one other allegation. Such false and misleading statements at the deposition by Mr. Bennett allegedly were subsequently acknowledged by Mr. Bennett in a communication with the judge.
Now, if you look at Mr. Bennett’s letter, however, that’s not at all what the letter says. Mr. Bennett wrote to the judge on September the 30th of last year, this is after the referral had come to Congress and after the House of Representatives had seen fit to release Ms. Lewinsky’s grand jury testimony. Mr. Bennett does not, as the article alleged, acknowledge that he, himself, made false and misleading statements or that the president, either by his words or silence, made such statements.
What Mr. Bennett do in this letter, as you can see, is call the court’s attention to the fact that Ms. Lewinsky herself had testified before a federal grand jury in August and, contrary to her earlier statement, she stated that portions of her affidavit were, according to her, false and misleading.
Mr. Bennett’s letter bringing this to the judge’s attention was a matter of professional obligation and responsibility. It in no way is evidence supporting subpart 5.
Could we take a break?
REHNQUIST: Chair recognizes the majority leader.
LOTT: Mr. Chief Justice, is Mr. Kendall indicating that he’s about halfway through his presentation?
That’s correct (OFF-MIKE).
LOTT: I would then ask that we have a temporary recess for 15 minutes, Mr. Chief Justice.
REHNQUIST: Without objection, it’s so ordered.
REHNQUIST: The Senate will be in order. The chair recognizes the majority leader.
LOTT: Mr. Chief Justice, I believe that the Senate is ready to proceed now with the presentation by Mr. Counsel Kendall.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Counsel Kendall.
Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
KENDALL: Subpart 7 — we have two more subparts to go, I want to take them out of order. Subpart 7 of Article II alleges that the president obstructed justice when he relayed, told certain White House officials things about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that were false and misleading.
Now, this is another example of double billing in the two articles. This charge is leveled in Article I and it appears here in Article II.
Yesterday, Mr. Craig explained why these statements didn’t constitute perjury, and I’d like to take just a few minutes this afternoon to explain why they don’t constitute an obstruction of justice either.
First of all, and most obviously, there is no way — I said this in the beginning — there is no way that the statements of the aides could be in any way part of a scheme to deny Ms. Jones evidence. I think on this ground alone subpart 7 fails.
Because if you look at what is alleged in Article II, it is that the president obstructed justice in order to delay, impede et cetera existence of evidence and testimony related to Ms. Jones’ lawsuit. There’s no way here that whatever the president said to his aides could have done that.
The statements which this sub-part seven addresses were statements that the president made very shortly after the Paula Jones — or the Lewinsky publicity had broken to Mr. Bowles, Mr. Podesta, Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Ickes — none of whom were witnesses in the Paula Jones case.
They were on none of the witness lists and they had no evidence at all relevant to the Paula Jones case since they’d been working for the president. They weren’t working for the president when he was governor of Arkansas in May of 1991, and since they weren’t individuals subject to discovery. So these four aides just had evidence whatsoever that they could contribute to the Paula Jones case.
But there is another more fundamental reason why this article is flawed as a matter both of the evidence and the law. The president has admitted misleading his family, his staff and the nation about his conduct with Ms. Lewinsky.
And he has expressed profound regret for that conduct.
Subpart 7, however, alleges that he should be impeached and removed from office simply because he failed to be candid with these particular four White House aides and misled them about the nature of his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.
Now, these allegedly impeachable denials to the four aides occurred, as I said, right after the publicity broke. Indeed, one of them occurred on January the 21st last year, and then also on the 23rd and the 26th.
This was at the very time the president was denying he’d had sexual relations with Miss Lewinsky in nearly identical terms on national television to whoever across the United States happened to be watching at that time.
Now, having made this denial to the entire country, it’s simply absurd to regard it any differently when made to four aides in the White House directly and person to person rather than through the medium of television.
The president talked to these individuals about the Lewinsky matter because of his personal relationship and his direct professional exposure to them on a daily basis.
He spoke to them, however misleadingly, in an attempt to ally their concerns once the allegations about Miss Lewinsky became public.
Now no discovery here — we haven’t yet found a place in which a discovery would benefit the case for either side — but no discovery here is going to illuminate the record in any way. These four witnesses have testified before the independent counsel’s grand jury on several occasions.
I think it’s important to observe also that there is no way this interchange between the president and his aides could have affected evidence, because his statements to them were hearsay, which they would have reported accurately to the grand jury when asked. And by hearsay, all they could testify to is what the president told them. And they could do that accurately.
But their own testimony, based on whatever knowledge or observation or direct sensory evidence they might have, was not affected in any way by the president’s statements.
None of these aides had any independent knowledge of the relationship between the president and Ms. Lewinsky, and therefore the only evidence they could offer would be a hearsay repetition of what the president had told them. And that was the same public denial that he had told everyone, including, presumably, any member of the grand jury who had his or her television set on that Monday, January 26.
But under the strained theory — and you really have to focus on this — under this theory, any citizen of the United States who heard that denial could form the basis for an allegation of impeachable conduct and removal of the president from office.
I think this subpart of article VII fails for a number of reasons. It’s not related to the Paula Jones case and it violates common sense.
Let me turn to subpart 4. This subpart alleges that the president obstructed justice when he intensified and succeeded in an effort to secure job assistance to Ms. Lewinsky in order to corruptly prevent her truthful testimony.
The claim here is of a quid pro quo — a this for that. This job assistance was allegedly in order to prevent her truthful testimony. Now I want to not a couple of things here. First of all, this word “intensified.” This word “intensified” is a pretty slippery word. It doesn’t say “originated” or “began.” It says “intensified.”
And that allegation implicitly recognizes — it tries to avoid the thrust of its own logic. It recognizes that the job search Ms. Lewinsky was conducting had begun long before there was any connection to the Paula Jones case, and the undisputed facts are going to reveal that Vernon Jordan and others were trying to help her long before she appeared on the list of witnesses Ms. Jones was considering calling.
The second thing I want to emphasize is the quid pro quo nature of the allegation.
Quid pro quo. One of those good Latin terms meaning this for that. In order to is the allegation of subpart 4. The job assistance was in order to prevent Miss Lewinsky’s truthful testimony.
Well, I want to review the evidence of this, because there is not only no evidence in the record, there’s a lot of contradictory evidence, both direct and circumstantial.
We’ve heard a great deal in the various presentations about Mr. Jordan’s assistance to Miss Lewinsky. But I was surprised to sit right over there through 11 hours and 52 minutes by my watch of the House managers’ very able presentation, and I heard almost nothing about what actually happened in New York City as a result of Mr. Jordan’s efforts.
But when we review the evidence — and it’s all right here, don’t worry, I’m not going to review every page of it, but it is all here — when we review this evidence, which is available, all you got to do is read it, we get a very different picture from what we got from the able House managers.
There’s no secret about it, nor is there any conflict in the testimony of these witnesses. There’s no need for further discovery here, as I’ll show, because the testimony is consistent.
Now, the proof that is in the record is that there was no corrupt linkage, no assistance whatsoever which was designed and focused to get Ms. Lewinsky to do anything, nothing which tied the job assistance to what was going on in the Jones case.
Mr. Jordan did help open doors, and Ms. Lewinsky went through those doors, and she either succeeded or failed on her own merits. Two of the companies declined to offer her a job, and at the third she did get an entry-level job which she received on her own merits.
There was no fix, no quid pro quo, no link to the Jones case. And also, there was no urgency to Mr. Jordan’s assistance to her. He started assisting her well before she showed up on the Jones witness list and he helped her whenever he could consistently with his own heavy travel schedule.
There’s the allegation of a quid pro quo, but there’s nothing in the evidence to support the “pro” part of it. What the House managers have tried to do, and they are skillful prosecutors — they are able, they are experienced, and they are polished, and they know what they’re doing. They’ve tried to juxtapose unrelated events and by a selective chronology try and establish causation between two wholly unrelated sets of an event — of events.
And it’s — there’s an old logical fallacy that — you’ve had enough Latin today — that just because something comes after something, it was caused by the preceding event. It’s like the rooster crowing and taking credit for the sun coming up. When you look at the House managers’ case, there’s a lot of that going on because we’ll see there’s no real existence of causal connection. And we’ll also see that a lot of the chronology you’ve been given is erroneous.
As I said earlier, there is no evidence either direct or circumstantial to support this quid pro quo allegation.
Now, let’s start with the direct evidence, the most logical place to begin. It could not be more unequivocal. Let’s start with Ms. Lewinsky.
First of all, her New York job search began on her own initiative long before any involvement in the Jones case. Moving to New York was her own idea, and it was one she raised in July of 1997.
This geographical move did not affect in any way her exposure to a subpoena in the Paula Jones case. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, of course, a witness can be subpoenaed in any federal district, no matter where the case is pending. And, indeed, a great many of the depositions in the Paula Jones case took place outside the state of Arkansas.
And for this reason, Mr. Manager Barr’s assertion that the president wanted Miss Lewinsky to go to New York because it would, and I quote, “make her much more difficult if not impossible to reach as a witness in the Jones’ case.” That statement is entirely untenable.
She was just as vulnerable to subpoena in New York as she was in Washington. And, indeed, she was already under subpoena in January when she was finalizing her move. This contention just doesn’t withstand scrutiny.
Now, Ms. Lewinsky testified, “I was never promised a job for my silence.” You can’t get any plainer than that. She testified that her job search had no relation to anything she might do in the Jones case.
In her July 27 interview with the FBI, the FBI agent recorded her statement that there was no agreement with the president, with Mr. Jordan, or anyone else that she had to sign a Jones affidavit before getting a job in New York.
She told the FBI agent explicitly that she had never demanded from Mr. Jordan a job in exchange for a favorable affidavit and that neither the president nor Mr. Jordan nor anyone else had ever made this proposition to her.
Now, Mr. Jordan, who is an eloquent and exceedingly articulate man, took care of that claim in his own grand jury testimony. He was asked about any connection between the job search and the affidavit. He said there was absolutely none.
He said on March 5, as far as he was concerned, these were two entirely separate matters. And in his grand jury appearance on May the 5th, he was asked whether the two were connected, and Mr. Jordan said, and I quote “unequivocally, indubitably, no.”
The president has likewise testified that there was no connection between the Jones case and Ms. Lewinsky’s job search. He told the grand jury, “I was not trying to buy her silence or get Vernon Jordan to buy her silence. I thought she was a good person. She had not been involved with me for a long time in any improper way — several months — and I wanted to help her get on with her life. It’s just as simple as that.”
Quid pro quo, no. The uncontested facts bear out these categorical denials of the three most involved people.
Ms. Lewinsky began looking for a job in July of 1997, and the event that hardened her resolve to move to New York was a report by her ostensible good friend, Ms. Linda Tripp, on about October the 6th that one of Ms. Tripp’s friends at the National Security Council said that Miss Lewinsky would never, ever get a job in the White House again.
Now, it turns out that this disclosure, like so much else Ms. Tripp said, is false. Ms. Tripp’s NSC friend said no such thing. But it did have a profound impact on Ms. Lewinsky, who described it as the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was plain to her then that she was never going to be able to get another White House job.
Mr. Jordan’s assistance to Ms. Lewinsky began about a month before Ms. Lewinsky learned, about six weeks before she learned she was a possible witness in the Jones case.
Ms. Lewinsky testified that she had discussed with Linda Tripp sometime in late September or early October the idea of asking for Mr. Jordan’s assistance, and Ms. Lewinsky indicated she couldn’t recall if it were her idea or Linda Tripp’s idea.
But in any event, Mr. Jordan became involved sometime later at the direction not of the president, but of Ms. Currie, who was a longtime friend of Mr. Jordan and who had discussed with Ms. Lewinsky her job search. Now, Ms. Currie had previously assisted Ms. Lewinsky in making contact with Ambassador Bill Richardson at the UN.
Ms. Lewinsky’s first meeting was with Mr. Jordan on November the 5th, and Ms. Lewinsky testified that the meeting lasted about 20 minutes and that they had discussed a list of possible employers she was interested in. She never told Mr. Jordan that there was any time constraint on his assistance and both she and Mr. Jordan travel a great deal out of the country and in the country in that November- December period.
Now, Mr. Jordan testified unequivocally that he never at any time felt any particular pressure to get Ms. Lewinsky a job. This is plain and powerful and unrebutted testimony. He was asked in the grand jury if he recalled any kind of a heightened sense of urgency by Ms. Currie or anyone at the White House about helping Ms. Lewinsky during the first half of December, and he replied, “Oh, no, I do not recall any heightened sense of urgency.
What I do recall is that I dealt with it as I had time to do it.”
Now, let me just pause here and observe that if there had been any improper motive for any sinister effort to silence Ms. Lewinsky, it would have been extremely easy for the president to have arranged for her to be hired at the White House. If there were some corrupt intent to silence her, that was an obvious solution because she very much wanted to go back to work at the White House. It mattered a great deal.
But while she was interviewed a couple of times by White House officials in the summer of 1997, those interviews never resulted in a job offer. The fix was not in. There was no corrupt effort to bring Ms. Lewinsky back, give her a White House job, or indeed transfer her in any way from her Pentagon job.
Now, she continued her job search efforts with the assistance of some of the White House people.
In late October or early November, she told her boss at the Pentagon, Mr. Kenneth Bacon, that she wanted to leave and move to New York City. She enlisted in trying to help her get a private sector job, and he helped her because she’d done good work for him. He had a positive impression and testified that he wanted to do whatever he could for her.
In November of 1997, her supervisor at the Pentagon indicated that Ms. Lewinsky gave notice of an intention to quit her Pentagon job at the year end.
Now before we get to the private sector firms that Ms. Lewinsky went to, I want to pause and make the point that she had a United Nations delegation job in her back pocket. Back pocket is a male image — perhaps in her purse. She had it in her hand and available all during this period.
In early October, at the request of Ms. Currie, Mr. Podesta, Mr. John Podesta, who was then the White House deputy chief of staff, had asked Ambassador Bill Richardson to consider Ms. Lewinsky for a position at the UN.
The ambassador testified that he did not take this as a pressure call. He said there was no pressure anywhere by anybody to hire Ms. Lewinsky. Ms. Currie testified to the grand jury without contradiction that she was acting on her own as Ms. Lewinsky’s friend in trying to help her.
Now, Ms. Lewinsky interviewed for the UN position on October 31 with Ambassador Richardson, and he, through his staff, offered her a job on November the 3rd. Ambassador Richardson testified to the grand jury that he never spoke to the president or Mr. Jordan about Ms. Lewinsky; that he was impressed by her; that he made the offer on the merits; and that no one had pressured him to hire her.
He testified specifically to the grand jury on April the 30th, and I quote “this was my decision to hire. I did not do it under any pressure or anything. I felt that she would be suitable for the job and I didn’t feel I had to report to anybody. It’s not in my nature. I don’t take pressure well on personnel matters. I’m a cabinet member.
“I don’t have to account for anything. This was mine — my choice, my decision — and I stand behind it.”
He also declared, “What I did was routine.”
Now, this fact is highly significant because, although this job was not precisely the job Ms. Lewinsky wanted, it was a job in New York and she kept this open until January 5, when she finally turned it down.
Now, it was Mr. Manager Bryant who referred to this in passing, just kind of walked around it, he disparaged it in the way that a good trial lawyer does, to recognize it’s there, but then move around and away from it. But it’s an important fact, and it tears a very large hole in their circumstantial evidence case.
Because she had in her hand, I will say, this job offer all through this period of November and December and into January. It wasn’t precisely what she wanted, but it was a good job, it was in New York City, and there was no urgent necessity for her connected with her private sector job search.
Once again, quid pro quo, no.
Now, there’s a lot of further direct evidence concerning her job search, and this is contained in a great many interviews and grand jury transcripts from the people at the various New York firms Mr. Jordan contacted on Ms. Lewinsky’s behalf.
Again, there is simply no direct evidence whatsoever from any of these people of any kind of quid pro quo treatment.
While Mr. Jordan made the contacts on her behalf, there was no urgency about them, there was no pressure, and they were wholly unrelated to the Jones case.
Let’s recognize the obvious here. The president’s relation, the improper relation with Ms. Lewinsky had been over for many months. He continued to see her from time to time. He did what he could to be of assistance to her as she sought employment in New York because, as he testified, she was a good person, and he was trying to help her get on with her life.
Mr. Jordan was able to open doors, but once open, there was no inappropriate pressure. He really opened three doors for her: At American Express, at Young & Rubicam, and at Revlon.
And she batted one for three. And actually, in job searches as in baseball, I at least would take that batting average any day of the week. But she succeeded on her own once she was through the door, and her getting through the door had no relation to the Paula Jones case.
Let’s first of all take a look at what happened with American Express and see whether in the direct or circumstantial evidence, there’s any evidence of a quid pro quo here. The independent counsel conducted a very large number of interviews and also summoned a great many witnesses from each of these three sets of companies.
Mr. Jordan was a member of the American Express board of directors and he telephoned a Ms. Ursula Fairbairn (ph), the executive vice president of human resources at American Express, on December 10th or 11th. And he told Ms. Fairbairn (ph) that he wanted to send her the resume of a talented young woman in Washington to see whether she matched up to any openings at American Express.
Ms. Fairbairn (ph) told the FBI that it was not at all unusual for American Express board members or other company officers to recommend young people for employment.
Ms. Fairbairn (ph) — Ms. Fairbairn (ph) said that Mr. Jordan did not in fact mention any White House connection that the applicant had and he exerted no pressure at all on her to hire the applicant.
Ms. Fairbairn (ph) recalled that Mr. Jordan had made another employment recommendation about two months earlier and indicated this was simply not an unusual request.
Now, the Office of Independent Counsel also, you see it on the chart, interview Thomas Schick (ph) at American Express. He’s the executive president for corporate affairs and communications. Ms. Fairbairn (ph) had sent the name and resume to Mr. Schick (ph) because she thought that that’s where Ms. Lewinsky might fit in and he interviewed Ms. Lewinsky on December the 23rd in Washington.
He decided after this interview not to hire Ms. Lewinsky because she felt — he felt that she was lacking in experience and he also thought that American Express was probably not the right kind of company for her given what she had told him she was interested in at the interview and that she’d probably be better off going to a public relations firm.
Now, the decision not to hire her, he told the FBI, was entirely his own. He felt no pressure to either hire or not hire Ms. Lewinsky and never talked to Mr. Jordan at any time during this process.
Once again, quid pro quo? No.
Now the second company is actually two companies, and it’s Young & Rubicam and Burson-Marsteller. Mr. Jordan called Peter Georgescu, the chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam, the large New York advertising agency.
Mr. Jordan had no formal connection with the company but he’d been a friend of Mr. Georgescu’s for over 20 years.
Mr. Georgescu was interviewed by investigators from the Office of Independent Counsel and said that sometime in December, 1997, Mr. Jordan had telephoned him, and had asked him to take a look at a young person from the White House for possible work in the New York area. Mr. Georgescu had responded, we’ll take a look at her in the usual way.
And he stated that that was kind of a code between he and Mr. Jordan and it meant that if there was an opening for which she was qualified, she would be interviewed and hired, but there would be no special treatment. He testified that Mr. Jordan understood that and he also said that Mr. Jordan did not engage in any kind of sales pitch about Lewinsky.
Mr. Georgescu said that he then initiated an interview for the — on behalf of Ms. Lewinsky, but his own involvement was arms length and that she succeeded or failed totally on her own merits. He recalled that Mr. Jordan had made another similar request on a previous occasion and he said that he and Mr. Jordan frequently exchanged opinions about people in the advertising business on an informal basis.
As a result of this telephone call, Ms. Lewinsky was interviewed by another person — a Ms. Celia Burke (ph), who was the director of — excuse me, she was the managing director of human resources at Burson-Marsteller, a public relations firm that was a division of Young & Rubicam.
According to Ms. Burke (ph), this interview was handled by the book, and while the Lewinsky interviews were a little bit accelerated, they went through the normal steps.
Ms. Burke (ph) testified that while no one put — she testified that nobody put any pressure on her, and she said that both she and the director of corporate practice at Burson-Marsteller, Ms. Erin Mills (ph), and another corporate practice associate, Mr. Ziad Tabasi (ph), had all like Ms. Lewinsky and thought she was well qualified. The chairman of the corporate practice group, Mr. Gus Weill (ph), had decided not to hire Lewinsky.
Ms. Mills (ph) testified that the procedure under which Ms. Lewinsky was considered involved nothing out of the ordinary. Not a single one of these witnesses testified there was any urgency connected with Mr. Jordan’s request.
Mr. Mills (ph) — Ms. Mills (ph) also told the FBI that despite the fact that Ms. Lewinsky had been referred by the chairman of Young & Rubicam (ph), their consideration of her was entirely objective. She thought that Ms. Lewinsky was poised and qualified for an entry- level position, but Mr. Weill (ph) decided to take a pass.
Once again, quid pro quo? No.
Now, Mr. Jordan was a member of the board of directors of Revlon, a company wholly owned by MacAndrews & Forbes Holding Company, and Mr. Jordan’s law firm had done legal work for both of these companies.
The corporate structure here is complicated, but I’ll be talking basically about two firms, Revlon — I think we all know what Revlon does — and its parent company, MacAndrews & Forbes Holding.
Now, Mr. Jordan telephoned his old friend, Mr. Richard Halperin, at the holding company on December 11th and said he had an interviewee or he had an applicant that he wanted to recommend, and he gave Mr. Halperin some information about her.
Mr. Halperin testified to the grand jury that it wasn’t unusual for Mr. Jordan to call him with an employment recommendation. He’d done so on at least three other times that Mr. Halperin could recall.
On this occasion, Mr. Jordan told Mr. Halperin on the telephone that Ms. Lewinsky was bright, energetic, enthusiastic, and he encouraged Mr. Halperin to meet with her. Mr. Halperin didn’t think there was anything unusual about Mr. Jordan’s request and he testified that in the telephone call, Mr. Jordan did not ask him to consider Ms. Lewinsky on any particular timetable — no acceleration of any kind.
Indeed, far from there being some heightened sense of urgency, Mr. Halperin explicitly told the FBI that there was no implied time restraint or requirement for fast action.
Now, Ms. Lewinsky came up to New York City and she interviewed with Mr. Halperin on December 18, 1997, and Mr. Halperin described her as follows, “as a typical young capable enthusiastic Washington, D.C.- type of individual” — I don’t know if that’s pejorative or not — who described her primary interest as being in public relations.
He and Ms. Lewinsky talked about the various companies that McAndrews and Forbes (ph) controlled, and Ms. Lewinsky identified Revlon as a company that she would like to be considered at, and Mr. Halperin decided to send her there for an interview.
Mr. Halperin sent her resume to another person at the holding company, not at Revlon, at the holding company, to Mr. Jamie Durnan (ph), who is a senior vice president there. He got the resume in mid-December and he decided to interview her in early January.
Now, you have at the holding company two sets of interviews of Ms. Lewinsky going on. When he returned in early January, Mr. Durnan (ph) also scheduled an interview and he met with Ms. Lewinsky on January the 8th.
His decision was made entirely independently or Mr. Halperin’s decision, and he wasn’t even aware that Mr. Halperin had seen Ms. Lewinsky when he met with her on January the 8th.
Now, Mr. Durnan (ph) met with Ms. Lewinsky in the morning, and he thought — now this is his view; you’re going to get two views of this interview — Mr. Durnan (ph) thought that she was an impressive applicant for entry-level work. He was impressed with her particularly by her work experience at the Pentagon, he told the FBI. He felt she would fit in with the parent company but there weren’t any openings there.
Based upon what she had said about what her interests were, he decided to send her resume over to Revlon because it thought it matched up well with her interests. He sent the resume over and he left a message — and now we’re going to come to a Revlon person — and he left a message with Ms. Ellen Seidman (ph), who was the senior vice president for corporate communications at Revlon.
Now cut to Ms. Lewinsky. Ms. Lewinsky had had a very good interview with Mr. Halperin, both she and Mr. Halperin thought. However, for reasons the record don’t make clear, the Ms. Lewinsky’s impression of the Durnan (ph) interview were dismal. She thought the interview had not gone well. She thought it had gone poorly. She described herself as being upset and distressed.
She had no idea of his positive reaction to her, and this is not just a late analysis. He’d already send her resume — he sent her resume over to Revlon immediately after their interview. But in any event, Ms. Lewinsky was afraid it had gone poorly; that she’d embarrassed Mr. Jordan; so she called up Mr. Jordan and on that same day later, January the 8th, Mr. Jordan spoke by telephone to the CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes, his friend Mr. Ronald Perelman.
He mentioned to Mr. Perelman that Ms. Lewinsky had interviewed at MacAndrews & Forbes, but he made no specific request, and he did not ask Mr. Perelman to specifically intervene in any way.
Now, later that day, and I know this is complicated, Mr. Durnan happened to speak — Mr. Durnan is the second interviewer of Ms. Lewinsky — happened to speak to Mr. Perelman, and Perelman mentioned he had a call from Mr. Jordan about a job candidate. Perelman then said to Durnan, let’s see what we can do, and Durnan indicated that he’d already on his own initiative been working on this, had talked to Ms. Lewinsky and sent her resume over to Revlon.
Mr. Perelman later that day phoned Mr. Jordan back to say everything is all right, she appeared to be doing a good job. The resume was over at Revlon.
Mr. Jordan expressed no urgency, no time constraints. Mr. Perelman didn’t say anything out of the ordinary had happened, because it hadn’t.
Now, later that same day after speaking to Mr. Perelman, Mr. Durnan phones Ms. Seidman at Revlon. He’d sent the resume over earlier in the day. He didn’t say that Mr. Perelman had mentioned Ms. Lewinsky to him. He simply said to Ms. Seidman, look, I’ve sent you a resume, I’ve met with this young woman. If you think she’s good, you should hire her.
According to Mr. Durnan, Mr. Perelman never said or implied that Ms. Lewinsky had to be hired, and indeed Mr. Durnan had already interviewed her and formed a positive impression.
According to Ms. Seidman, who’s at Revlon, Mr. Durnan gave her a similar account that he gave to the grand jury. He said that he thought she ought to interview Ms. Lewinsky, make her own decision, hire her if she thought she was a good candidate only.
The record is crystal clear that Ms. Seidman over at Revlon had no knowledge that Mr. Perelman had ever spoken to anyone about Ms. Lewinsky. Ms. Seidman testified that she made an independent assessment of Ms. Lewinsky. She interviewed her the next day. She told the grand jury that she’d found Ms. Lewinsky to be a talented, enthusiastic, bright young woman who was very eager — “I like that in my department.”
At the conclusion of the interview, she intended to make an offer to Ms. Lewinsky, but it was contingent on the opinion of two other people, a Ms. Jenna Sheldon (ph), who was a manager of human resources at Revlon, and Ms. Nancy Risdon (ph), who was manager of public relations for corporate affairs.
Ms. Seidman testified that after they had both interviewed Ms. Lewinsky, Mr. Risdon (ph) told her that she’d found her very impressive and Ms. Sheldon (ph) had also been very impressed.
Ms. Risden (ph) told the FBI that she’d been impressed with Ms. Lewinsky who, although she had no public relations experience, was bright and articulate.
On the basis of all this, Ms. Seidman decided to offer Ms. Lewinsky an entry-level job as public relations administrator. The offer was made and Ms. Lewinsky accepted. And I repeat, the record evidence is uncontradicted that the fix was not on at all in this process. This was the third company Ms. Lewinsky had interviewed with and on this series of interviews, she was successful.
Nobody at any of these companies suggested there was any quid pro quo link. The only person — only person in this record who talked about trying to have Ms. Lewinsky use signing of the affidavit as leverage to get a job was none other than Linda Tripp — that paragon of faithful friendship.
On the audiotapes, it’s Ms. Tripp who frequently urges Ms. Lewinsky not to sign an affidavit until she had a job in New York.
It’s not clear if Ms. Tripp knew about the UN job that Ms. Lewinsky had. She, on the audio tape, Ms. Lewinsky sometimes professes agreement with Ms. Tripp’s advice, saying that she will not sign an affidavit until she has a job. But as Ms. Lewinsky testified to the grand jury — and again, Ms. Lewinsky is testifying under the threat of perjury which will blow away her immunity agreement — she was lying to Ms. Tripp when she said she would wait to sign the affidavit until she got a job.
As Ms. Lewinsky testified to the grand jury, her statement to Ms. Tripp about Mr. Jordan assisting her in a quid pro quo sense was not true, she said it only because Ms. Tripp was insisting that she promise her not to do this. But, in fact, the affidavit was already signed when Ms. Lewinsky made that promise.
Once again, quid pro quo? No.
That’s some of the direct evidence. Now let’s look at the circumstantial evidence, the alleged circumstantial evidence.
The quid pro quo theory rests on assumptions about why things happen, and on facts about when things happen. The former is — requires logic, but the second is a matter of fact.
I mentioned previously that Article II — or the subpart 4 here uses the word “intensify.” It didn’t say that the job search began as an effort to silence Ms. Lewinsky, it only says that it intensified as a result of that process. The original charge made by the independent counsel — and it’s there in the independent counsel’s referral, at page 181 — was an allegation that the president helped Ms. Lewinsky obtain a job in New York at a time when she would have been a witness against him. However, the House committee looked at the evidence, I think, in the five volumes, and even though they haven’t referred to it here very much, decided that that theory would not get off the runway. So they revised their claim and gave us a kind of wimpified version alleging, not initiation, but intensification.
Now, under the right circumstances it’s plain that helping somebody find a job is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. There’s nothing wrong with it. Mr. Manager Hutchinson told you that, and I quote here: There is nothing wrong with helping somebody get a job, but we all know there’s one thing forbidden in public office; we must avoid quid pro quo, which is this for that.
Now, he went on to assert, that the president’s conduct crossed the line, as he put it, when the job search assistance became tied and interconnected — those are his words, with the president’s desire to get a false affidavit — and then he went on to say you will see — it’s a prediction that Mr. Manager Hutchinson made to you — you will see that they are totally interconnected, intertwined, interrelated; and that is where the line has crossed into obstruction.
Now, Mr. Manager Hutchinson pointed to a critical event for their quid pro quo theory and that’s the entry on December 11th, 1997, by Judge Wright, who was the judge in the Paula Jones case, of an order pertaining to discover in the Paula Jones case.
This is the critical event, according to the managers.
But let’s look closely at this so-called critical event, because it’s the only claim, only factual claim, the managers make of some causal relationship between the job search and the Jones case, and that claim is dead wrong and it’s demonstrably dead wrong.
The managers have argued that what brought Mr. Johnson (ph) into action to help Ms. Lewinsky find a job, what really jump started the process, was Judge Wright’s December 11 order. And that order concerned discovery of relationships that president had allegedly had during a certain period of time with women who were state or federal employees.
In the House, Chief Counsel Schippers powerfully made the point about how important this December 11 order was. “Why the sudden interest,” he asked, “why the total change in focus and effort? Nobody but Betty Currie really cared about helping Ms. Lewinsky throughout November, even after the president learned that her name was on this prospective witness list. Did something happen to move the job search from a low to a high priority on that day? Oh, yes, something happened.
On the morning of December 11, 1997 Judge Susan Webber Wright ordered that Paula Jones was entitled to information regarding these other women.
Now, Mr. Manager Hutchinson again emphasized that the impact of this December 11th order was dramatic. He stood here and told you that the president’s attitude suddenly changed, and what started out as a favor for Betty Currie in finding Ms. Lewinsky a job dramatically changed into something sinister after Ms. Lewinsky became a witness.
And so, Mr. Manager Hutchinson says, 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.
Remember what else happened on that day December 11th — again, that was the same day that Judge Wright ruled that the questions about other relationships could be asked by the Jones attorneys.
Mr. Manager Hutchinson presented in his very polished and able presentation, a chart to you. It was exhibit 1. And I’ve taken the liberty of borrowing it for our own purposes. But you see that he has outlined in detail what happened on December 11th here.
The very first item is that Judge Susan Webber Wright issued order allowing testimony of Lewinsky. Then second meeting between Lewinsky and Jordan, leads provided, recommendation calls placed, and then later, the president and Jordan talk about a job for Lewinsky.
Well, that’s what the chart says, but when you look at the uncontested facts, this isn’t even smoke and mirrors. It’s worse.
First of all, Ms. Lewinsky entered Mr. Jordan’s building for their meeting at 12:57 on December 11th, as we see here from the chart, the entry chart of Mr. Jordan’s law firm. Ms. Lewinsky’s name is misspelled, but she identified this as her entry into the law firm.
But this did not spring from, magically, the entry of the judge’s ordered. It was scheduled three days earlier, on December 8, and even that telephone call was pursuant to an agreement made between Ms. Lewinsky and Mr. Jordan two weeks before that. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the judge’s order. Indeed after her first meeting with Mr. Jordan, on November 5, Mister — Ms. Lewinsky testified that she had a follow-up conversation by telephone with Mr. Jordan around Thanksgiving, and he advised her he was working on the job search as he had time for it; he asked her to call him back in early December.
Mr. Jordan testified that he was out of the country from the day after Thanksgiving until December 4th. He also testified that, on December 5th — this is before the witness list — Ms. Currie called and reminded him that Ms. Lewinsky was expecting his call. He asked Ms. Currie to have Ms. Lewinsky call him, and she did so on December 8th, and they agreed to meet at Mr. Jordan’s office on December 11. So this meeting — this sinister meeting was arranged by three people who had no knowledge whatsoever about the Paula Jones witness list at the time they acted.
Now, Ms. Lewinsky herself was also out of Washington for most of the period from Thanksgiving to December the 4th, first in Los Angeles and then overseas.
Inexplicably, but I think significantly because it says something about the strength of the case, the House managers ignore this key piece of testimony about when the meeting was set up. It’s uncontradicted. The point is that the contact between Mr. Jordan and Ms. Lewinsky resumed in early — or in December, not because of something having to do with the order, but because they had agreed it would. The gap is attributable, the gap in timing, to Mr. Jordan’s travel schedule.
Now, let’s look at when this discovery order was entered. It was in fact entered late in the day of December 11, after the conclusion of a conference call among all the counsel in the Paula Jones case. We have here on the chart a blow-up of the clerk’s minutes.
Now, it’s a great accommodation to lawyers when in a case judges will have conference telephone calls because it means you don’t have to travel to the same city.
And there were a number of these held in the Jones case. This is a conference call that began as the clerk’s minutes indicate, at 5:33 p.m. Little Rock time in the afternoon. That would be 6:33 in Washington, D.C., and it ended at 6:50 p.m. in Little Rock, or 7:50 in Washington, D.C.
Now quite late in the conference call, Judge Wright took up other matters and advised counsel that an order on the plaintiff’s motion to compel testimony had been filed, and Barry (ph) — that’s Barry Ward (ph), the judge’s clerk — will fax a copy of that order on the motion to compel to counsel.
So sometime after 7:50 p.m., counsel get the witness list. Notice that this proceeding is so late in the day — I don’t know if you can see it, but when the clerk’s minutes are filed, they’re filed not on December the 11th, but on December 12th.
Finally, while we don’t even have evidence of a telephone call between the president and Mr. Jordan.
We’re back now to Mr. Hutchinson’s — Mr. Manager Hutchinson’s chart number one. We don’t have any evidence that the president in fact ever placed a call to Mr. Jordan on this date. The president was out of the city. But if the call occurred, it must have occurred by 5:55 p.m.
Now, let’s — again, look at this chart. December 11th is so important that the managers have put it on the chart twice. It’s the only date on any of the chart that appears — any of this chart that appears twice. The president and Jordan talk about a job for Lewinsky.
Clearly what they’re telling you is that first you get the order, that energizes, that jump-starts the process, and then the president talks to Vernon Jordan.
Well, as I said, if a call occurred on that day, the earliest you could have had any knowledge of the order would have been 7:50 p.m.. There is a problem, though, when you think that maybe the president and Vernon Jordan talked on this date, even if we don’t have evidence of it.
And the problem is that at 7:50 p.m., Mr. Vernon Jordan was high over the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.
He was on his way to Amsterdam. He testified that “I left on United Flight 946 at 5:55 from Dulles Airport.” That is where Mr. Jordan was on the evening of December 11. He’d taken off even before the conference call. This makes no sense. The managers’ theory just makes no sense.
His meeting with Ms. Lewinsky and his calls on her behalf had taken place earlier in the day. The president could not have spoken to him about the entry of Judge Wright’s discovery order. The entry of that order had nothing whatsoever to do with Mr. Jordan’s assistance to Ms. Lewinsky. This claim of a causal relation totally collapses when you look at the evidence.
Now, the other chart purporting to show causation are also riddled with errors. I only want to show a few of them. And, again, we’ve borrowed a chart from Mr. Manager Hutchinson, his charter number 7.
Now, he showed you this chart and it purports to be an account of what happened on January the 5th, 1998.
You see how the president and Ms. Lewinsky appear to be conferring about the affidavit that she’s going to be filing in the Jones case. But when you look at the real fact the chart becomes a fiction.
Mr. Manager Hutchinson told you, and I quote, “Let’s go to January 5th, this is a sort of summary — this chart is a sort of summary of what happened on that day. Ms. Lewinsky meets with her attorney, Mr. Carter, for an hour. Carter drafts the affidavit from Ms. Lewinsky. Just a few minutes later,” and Mr. Manager Hutchinson continued, “Frank Carter drafts the affidavit, she is so concerned about it. She calls the president. The president returns Ms. Lewinsky’s phone call.”
Now, the suggestion here, and this our old circumstantial evidence problem, the suggestion from this fact pattern is that Ms. Lewinsky obtained a draft affidavit from her lawyer, Mr. Carter, on January 5. Then, in a call with the president later that day, she offered it to him for his review. Possible? Yes. True? No.
This is — the facts here, simply, do not bear out this chart. Why is that?
Well, it’s because Mr. Carter’s (ph) grand jury testimony is very clear that he drafted the affidavit on the morning of January 6 and he even billed for it on that morning. He did not draft it and Ms. Lewinsky did not have it on January 5th. There’s no causation here; no linkage.
The theory on this chart doesn’t stand up and if I may take something else from the House managers, not simply their chart, but borrow Mr. Manager Bryant’s expression, that dog won’t hunt.
Ms. Lewinsky could not have offered to show the president a draft affidavit she herself could not have had on January 5th. The idea that the telephone call on that day is about that affidavit is sheer, unsupported speculation, and even worse, it’s speculation demolished by fact.
Let’s kick the tires of another exhibit. Chart number eight, which was shown to you by Mr. Manager Hutchinson, purports to describe the events of January the 6th, and again it sets forth a chain of events which makes it look at though Mr. Jordan was himself intimately involved in drafting Ms. Lewinsky’s affidavit.
Mr. Manager Hutchinson told you when he showed you this chart — and I want to quote his exact words — “The next exhibit is January 6. On this particular day, Ms. Lewinsky picks up the draft affidavit. At 2:08 to 2:10 p.m. she delivers that affidavit. To whom? Mr. Jordan. At 3:48, he telephones Ms. Lewinsky about the draft affidavit. And at 3:49 — you will see in red — both agree to complete a portion of the affidavit that created some implication that maybe she had been alone with the president. So Mr. Jordan was very involved in the drafting of the affidavit and the contents of that.”
That’s the theory proposed by the chart, that’s the hypothesis which they offer on the basis of the circumstantial evidence, but there are problems that absolutely destroy it. Because when we look beyond the suggested juxtapositions and consider material overlooked by the managers, a very different picture emerges.
The key fact that chart 8 tries to establish is the statement that at 3:49, Mr. Jordan telephoned Ms. Lewinsky to discuss the draft affidavit, and they allegedly agreed to delete implication that she had been alone with the president.
There’s a very serious difficulty with this theory. The chart blithely states that both agreed to delete the implications that she had been alone with the president. But that’s not what the evidence shows. Ms. Lewinsky testified that she spoke to Mr. Jordan because she had concerns about the draft affidavit.
According to her testimony, when asked whether Mr. Jordan agreed with what were clearly Ms. Lewinsky’s ideas about changes in the affidavit, Ms. Lewinsky said, yes, I believe so.
Now Mr. Jordan recalled a conversation in which Ms. Lewinsky raised the subject of her draft affidavit. He remembered her saying that she had some questions about the draft of the affidavit. But his testimony was emphatic that he was not interested in the details, that the problems she had with what had been drafted for her signature were for her to work out with her counsel, and that she would have to talk to her lawyer about it.
And Ms. Lewinsky did talk to her lawyer about it. The record is perfectly clear about that. Indeed, it couldn’t be clearer, although you wouldn’t know this from chart eight that the idea of deleting the reference to her being alone with the president came from her own lawyer, Mr. Carter (ph).
He testified to the grand jury — this is the lawyer who’d actually drafted the affidavit — that — and he was referring to the passage about her being alone with the president — he said: Paragraph six has in its draft form as the last part of that last sentence and would not have been a private meeting — that is, not behind closed doors.
According to Mr. Carter, this paragraph was modified when we sat down in my office on January 7th, the day after the events described on chart eight. Mr. Carter further testified that before the meeting on the seventh — before the meeting — it was my opinion that I did not want to give Paula Jones’ attorney any kind of a hint of a one-on- one meeting. What I told Monica was, if they ask you about it, you will tell them about it, but I’m not putting it in the affidavit. I was not going to give them that lead to go after in the affidavit, because my objective is not to have you be deposed.
It’s clearly Mr. Carter who deleted the reference to being alone with the president. The bottom line is that the insinuations on that chart just don’t survive scrutiny.
I want to say a final thing about all the charts involving circumstantial evidence. You remember how many telephone calls were up on those charts? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s a secret that a lot of you who are lawyers know. It’s pretty easy to get telephone call records and to identify telephone calls. But it’s a common trick to put them up, even though you don’t know what’s going on in the telephone calls, and ask people to assume some insidious relationship between events and the telephone call. No matter how many telephone calls are listed on a chart, you don’t know, without testimony, what was happening in that phone call unless the mere existence — and there are cases where the mere existence of a phone call is probative, but not in these cases.
Here they’re trying to weave a web, and no particular call is of significant importance.
The uncontroverted evidence shows that in fact Mr. Jordan spoke to the president on many, many, many occasions. He was a friend of — he’s been a friend of the president since 1973, and a call between them was a common occurrence.
When asked in the grand jury if he believed — he, Mr. Jordan, believed that the pattern of telephone calls to the president was striking, Mr. Jordan replied: “It depends on your point of view. I talk to the president of the United States all the time, so it’s not striking to me.”
Mr. Jordan also testified that he had never had a telephone conversation with the president in which Ms. Lewinsky was the only topic. The House managers ask you to believe simply on faith that if two things happen on the same day, they are related. But in fact this relation is logical but not necessarily factual.
To take — I just want to make this point with a couple telephone calls. Let’s take Mr. Manager Hutchinson’s chart for December 17, 1998, the day of the president’s deposition in the Jones case. This chart suggests there are two calls between Mr. Jordan and the president after the president had concluded his deposition. One call is at 5:38, the other is at 7:02.
The chart does not tell you several important things. First these two calls, each lasted two minutes. Second, and more significantly, Mr. Jordan testified to the grand jury as to both telephone conversations. On Saturday the 17th, he said, in the two conversation I had with the president of the United States, we did not talk about Monica Lewinsky or the deposition. Mr. Jordan was asked or the questions asked him in the deposition and he replied, “that is correct.”
In another exchange with the prosecutors they asked Mr. Jordan “did the president ever indicate to you in these two telephone conversations that Ms. Lewinsky was one of the topics that came up? Mr. Jordan replied, “he did not.”
Finally the prosecutors asked did the president ever indicate to you in these two conversation that your name had come up in the deposition as it related to Ms. Lewinsky and Mr. Jordan answered, “He did not.”
The managers, in the absence of evidence that anyone endeavored to obtain Ms. Lewinsky a job in exchange for her silence — indeed, in the face of direct testimony that all of those involve that it didn’t happen — ask you to simply speculate.
They ask you to speculate that since they’ve thrown a lot of telephone calls up there, they must have some sinister meaning; and they ask you to speculate that a lot of those phone calls must have been about Ms. Lewinsky. And they ask you to speculate further that in one of those identified, unknown phone calls, somebody must have said: Let’s get Ms. Lewinsky a job in exchange for her silence. There is no evidence for that; it’s not there; it’s just a theory.
With regard to all this evidence about the job search, when you look at the dates of various events, when you have the right chronology in mind, and when you look at the relevant and uncontested facts — these facts are there, they don’t have to be discovered — there’s just no evidence of wrong doing of any kind in connection with Miss Lewinsky’s job search efforts in New York.
Now, this is not a case of the managers presentation resting on even circumstantial, as opposed to direct evidence; they don’t even have circumstantial evidence here.
All they have is a theory about what happened which isn’t based on any evidence either direct or circumstantial.
Nothing in this evidence is really contested when you get right down to it. Strictly as a matter of who said what to whom or when. When lawyers ask you to keep your eye on the big picture, when they ask you, don’t lose the forest for the trees, don’t get lost in the details, that’s usually because the details, those stubborn facts, refute and contradict the big picture.
And so it is here. You can keep adding zero to zero to zero for a very long time, indeed forever, and you’ll still have zero. The big picture here just doesn’t exist, and no matter how many times the House managers keep making the assertion, there is just no evidence of any kind.
I realize that it has taken a good bit of time and painstaking, perhaps even painful attention, for each one of you to walk through these facts in a lawyerly manner.
I am also keenly aware of the old saying that, “When all is said and done with a lawyer, there’s more often said then done.” But we needed to take a look carefully and specifically at this evidentiary material with regard to these five grounds — in the same way that Ms. Mills took you through, very specifically yesterday, with regard to the other two grounds — to try and dispel the popular misconception that we were either unwilling or unable to rebut the facts. We have rebutted the facts.
The simple fact is that there is no evidence in the record to support the allegation that the president obstructed justice in his December 17th telephone call with Ms. Lewinsky, in his statements to his aides, and his statements to Betty Currie with relation to gifts or the job search.
It’s sometimes been claimed by the managers that we have adopted a “so what” defense, trying to take lightly or to justify the improper actions which are at the root of this case.
Well, senators with all respect, that argument is easy to assert, but it’s false. It’s a straw man asserted only to be knocked down. We’ve tried in our presentations the last two days and today to treat the evidence in a fair and a candid and a realistic way about the facts as the record reveals them.
We’ve tried to show you that the core charges of obstruction of justice and perjury cannot be proven. We’re not saying that the alleged conduct doesn’t matter. We’re saying that perjury didn’t occur and obstruction justice didn’t happen.
We haven’t tried to sugar coat or excuse conduct that is wrong. I think that Mr. Manager Buyer used the right phrase when he referred to self-inflicted wounds.
There is no doubt that there are self-inflicted wounds here, wounds that are very real and very painful and very public. There’s just no question about that. The question before you is whether these self-inflicted wounds rise to such a level of lawless and unconstitutional conduct that they leave you no alternative, no choice but to assume the awesome responsibility for reversing the results of two national elections.
On that question, what the situation demands is not eloquence, which the very able managers have in abundance, but rather a relentless focus on the facts, the law, and the Constitution, all of which are on the side of the president.
It’s a great honor for me to stand here. This body has been called the anchor of the Republic.
And it’s that constitutional stability, that political sanity that is needed now.
There’s a story which is perhaps apocryphal that when Thomas Jefferson returned from France where he’d served as ambassador while his colleagues were writing the Constitution, that he met with George Washington, and he asked Washington why they had found it necessary to create the Senate.
Washington is said to have silently removed the saucer from his teacup and poured the tea into the saucer and told Jefferson that like the act he had just performed, the Senate would be designed to cool the passions of the moment.
Historically, this place has been really a haven of sanity, balance, wisdom. You’ve debated controversial issues which have been passionately felt with candor, with courage and civility.
And so, once again, I think it is your responsibility, and yours alone, committed to you by the Constitution, to make a very somber judgment.
The president has spoken powerfully and personally of his remorse for what he’s done. Others have pointed out that the poisonous partisanship led the other body to send you articles of impeachment on the narrowest partisan vote in it’s history. I think that the bipartisan manner, however, you’ve conducted this impeachment trial is a welcome change from the events of the last year. We ask only that you give this case, and give this country, the constitutional stability and the political sanity which this country deserves. The president did not commit perjury, he did not obstruct justice, and there are no grounds to remove him from office. Thank you.