Presidential Crisis: The e-mail evidence charting the end of Bill and Monica's affair

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The Independent Online
IT IS THE most densely documented relationship in history, every gift, thought, word, and deed spelled out in excruciating detail.

The end of Monica Lewinsky's affair with the President - a lingering period that extends nearly a year - is a particularly well-documented saga that is by turns tragic, bathetic and funny.

The electronic mail messages that she exchanged with her friend Catherine Davis spell out every detail of her mood swings as she discusses the end of the relationship, her job prospects, shopping trips in London, Tokyo and Washington, clothes sizes,Diana, the Princess of Wales, high politics and low gossip in one apparently unstoppable narrative of her life.

Ms Lewinsky is, as the Starr report and President Clinton alike remarked, a compulsive teller: and the Internet and e-mail proved the perfect medium, just as they were the chosen carriers for the Starr report to be delivered instantaneously to the world.

All of these messages took place after the relationship ended, though sometimes she seems to believe that it will carry on.

The last "intimate contact" that she had with the President was in March 1997, and in May, he told her that the affair had to end.

But she continued to miss him; and she continued to be deeply enmeshed with the White House, searching for a job there and then elsewhere with the help of the President's friend and close adviser, the fixer-lawyer Vernon Jordan.

She tried to get her life under way again after "D-Day" - Dump Day - and in June she wrote to Ms Davis about another liaison, with a "nutrition guy", with whom she "did it" at a spa resort. "Yeah!Now I can start the count again," she says.

She admits, however, that her life is "not so great". She is still desperately trying to get back into the White House, but every communication is meeting with no luck.

The "big creep" is wearing one of the many ties which she gave him, but it is scant consolation. "I think I'm just going to have to walk away from it all," she confides.

The Starr report itself underlines that while the President was trying to help her get a job, White House staff - including Marsha Scott, and Betty Currie, the President's secretary and a former friend - were becoming increasingly estranged, considering her a "pain in the neck".

Ms Davis replies sympathetically to a message in July about her treatment at the hands of Ms Scott - who seems intent on stopping her return to the White House - telling her to try to cut her losses.

The same day, Ms Lewinsky sent the President a letter accusing him of blocking her return to the White House. On 4 July, had a "very emotional" meeting with the President, the Starr report shows.

"It's illegal to threaten the President of the United States," Mr Clinton told her. Then he was affectionate, telling her that he "might be alone" in three years - implying that his wife, Hillary Clinton, might leave him.

On 14 August, she tells Ms Davis of her fling with "Thomas," and the "boring" meeting with Ms Scott. They had met and the distant possibility of a return to the White House had been raised, though it was never to materialise.

Ms Lewinsky seemed to be accepting the situation. But on 16 August, the Starr report tells us, she tried to resume the relationship with the President, bringing him birthday gifts and making advances. He said "I'm trying not to do this, and I'm trying to be good."

On 3 September, the White House told her that the promised job was not there. In an anguished e-mail, she confides her agony and says she hopes that she never hears from the President again.

Ms Davis agrees: the toll that the bitter end of the affair is taking on her friend is all too evident. "He does not have the balls to tell you straight how it is," she says, even though the President had already ended the relationship back in May.

On 6 October, Ms Lewinsky's former friend Linda Tripp confirms to her that she will never work at the White House again. Her efforts are redirected towards New York, and a job somewhere else - at the UN, if nothing else comes up. She meets Vernon Jordan, who is kind and warm. Unlike the others, he is both the President's friend and, it appears, hers.

While job prospects and her personal life have been her main concern, in the outside world events are conspiring her to bring her to the centre of the stage.

On 19 December, just weeks after the last message, she is served with a subpoena by the lawyers representing the former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones in her sexual harassment case.

The personal life of a young woman has, by now, become public property.

Her contacts with the President, with Ms Davis, and with everybody else have ceased to be just personal: they have now become crucial exhibits that will be used as evidence that might unseat the President of th United States.

What the Browser Saw

June 17: Monica Lewinsky emails her friend Catherine Davis

"I had a good time at the spa (I did it with the nutrition guy" !!!!....) to top it all off the big creep is wearing one of my ties today. I think I'm just going to have to walk away from it all."

July 3: Catherine to Monica

"I'm worried about you, Monica. Again, I think your idea to leave the area or get out of Gov't work is a good one. I think you are in the midst of a dangerous, psychologically, situation. When I read your e-mails sometimes I cannot even believe some of the things you tell me. It all sounds so dramatic and painful for you."

August 14: Monica to Catherine

"Well, Catherine my dear, (jeez... I hate being called "dear" - the creep calls me that sometimes. It's an old person's saying!!!!) I don't have much to write. I am boring. But did I tell you I had sex with Thomas last week? I know. I am soooooooo naughty. It was fun and good. I went over there with some ice cream and pretty much seduced him in a way that made him make the moves on me ... cool or what???"

September 4: Monica in an e-mail to Catherine complains she can't get back in the White House

"So it's all over. I don't know what I will do now but I can't wait any more. In some ways I hope I never hear from him again because he will just lead me on because he doesn't have the balls to tell me the truth."

September 5: Catherine to Monica

"Personally I hope he does not call you anymore either. I think you are correct that he does not have the balls to tell you straight how it is - kind of similar to the way he is as P..."

November 6: Monica to Catherine

"I know it sounds sooooooo ridiculous, but I can't get him out of my heart. I love him a lot. I know it's stupid. I want to hug him so bad right now I could cry."