Panic, anger, and confusion as Monica flies in for questioning

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JUST AS the Senate trial of President Bill Clinton seemed to be stuttering to a close, a dea ex machina landed on the scene, creating panic and confusion all around her. Monica Lewinsky, the whole reason why the President stands impeached, flew into Washington at dusk yesterday, summoned urgently for questioning by Mr Clinton's nemesis, Kenneth Starr.

From the moment her plane touched down at Dulles airport to her disappearance into the Mayflower Hotel in central Washington, she was in the crush of television cameras - as hounded as any Hollywood superstar. Dwarfed by burly security men and with a navy blue baseball cap pulled down over her famous forehead, Ms Lewinsky was lodged across the road from her lawyers' offices and a mere three blocks from the White House.

Only a little over a year since her name was first linked with that of Bill Clinton, Monica was back in town, and her arrival brought the White House sex scandal full circle. It was her first appearance in Washington since her testimony to the grand jury last summer and she was expected to meet her own lawyers, and Mr Starr's team, within hours.

Ms Lewinsky's name had been on every Senator's lips since the morning, when word spread that a judge had ruled that she could be questioned in the presence of the House of Representatives "managers", who are leading the prosecution of Mr Clinton in the Senate. They want to find out whether she would be a useful witness for their cause in the Senate before they take the risk of summoning her to testify. But Ms Lewinsky had refused to submit to such questioning voluntarily.

News of the judge's ruling spread anger and confusion in the Senate, shattering a fragile cross-party peace and bringing the flagging Senate trial to life. Furious Democrats and White House lawyers accused Republicans of bad faith and threatened an end to their cooperation: the prospect of Ms Lewinsky testifying for the prosecution is the White House lawyers' worst nightmare.

Report page 16