Presidential crisis: Tripp advised her not to clean dress

Extracts from Monica Lewinsky's testimony
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Q. This grand jury session today is for you to answer questions from the grand jurors.

Q. (Juror) Ms Lewinsky, in your testimony when you were with us on the sixth, you mentioned some of the steps that you took to maintain secrecy regarding your relationship. Were these ways to maintain your secrecy your idea or were they recommended to you by anyone?

A. Some of them were my idea. Some of them were things that I had discussed with the President. I think it was a mutual understanding between us that obviously we'd both try to be careful.

Q. (Juror) Do you recall at all specifically which ones he may have recommended to you as an idea on maintaining the secrecy?

A. Yes and no. The issue of Betty being the cover story for when I came to the White House, it became my understanding I think most clearly from the fact that I couldn't come to see him after the election until unless Betty was there to clear me in and that one time when I asked him why, he said because if someone comes to see him, there's a list circulated among the staff members and then everyone would be questioning why I was there to see him.

Q. Were there ever any discussions between you and the President about what should be done with letters that you - letters or notes that you had sent to him?

A. It was my understanding that obviously he would throw them away or, if he decided to keep them, which I didn't think he did, he would put them somewhere safe.

Q. OK. What about the times that you would visit him? Were those times selected in a way so that there weren't people around or that certain people weren't around?

A. Yes.

Q. OK. Would you tell us about that?

A. There were obviously people at the White House who didn't like me and wouldn't be understanding of why I was coming to see the President or accepting of that and so there was always sort of an effort made that either on the weekends - when I was working in the White House he told me that it was usually quiet on the weekends and I knew that to be true.

Q. And what about particular individual people? Would there be particular individual people who would be - staffers in the oval area that you would try to avoid in order to help conceal the relationship?

A. Yes. Nancy Hernreich, Stephen Goodin, Evelyn Lieberman. Pretty much anybody on the first floor of the West Wing.

Q. How did all these people come to not like you so much? What were you doing? Were you breaking the rules of the White House?

A. Before the relationship started?

A. I don't think there was anything I did before the relationship started that ... the relationship started in November of 1995. I think that the President seemed to pay attention to me and I paid attention to him and I think people were wary of his weaknesses ...

Q. (Juror) But you do admit a lot of the places that you weren't supposed to be you were always found. You do admit that there were things that you were doing, in order to see him that they were feeling that was going against the rules of the White House? ... You know, places that you were - that you weren't supposed to be and hallways that you weren't supposed to be, you were seen in those places?

A. Yes and no. There really weren't any of these staffers who saw me in the places that I wasn't supposed to be.

A. I don't know what they knew.

Q. (Juror) Because if you said you made an effort to hide yourself ... the Secret Service are the ones that saw you.

Q. (Juror) Okay. So how did they know that you were there?

A. I don't know. I've heard reported in the newspapers and on TV that the Secret Service, someone said something to Evelyn Lieberman ...

Q. (Juror) So that interaction that you had with Evelyn Lieberman was when she was telling you what?

A. She stopped me in the hall and she asked me where I worked, in which office I worked, and I told her Legislative Affairs in the East Wing.

And she said, "You're always trafficking up this area." You know, "You're not supposed to be here. Interns aren't allowed to go past the Oval Office."

And she - she really startled me and I walked away and I went down to the bathroom and I was crying because - I mean, when - you know, when an older woman sort of chastises you like that, it's upsetting.

did you ever take routes to get to the Oval Office that seemed calculated to avoid certain Secret Service or White House personnel?

A. Not Secret Service, but I liked or I preferred to sort of meet up with him and then we'd walk in together. And I preferred to go in through the Rose Garden because then I wasn't going - I wasn't risking the possibility of running into someone in the hall right outside the Oval Office.

Q. (Prosecutor) I think you've testified earlier that most of the sexual contact that you had with the president tended to occur in the hallway, rather than in the study, although sometimes it was in the study itself. Did that have anything to do with whether or not it would be easier to see you in the study as opposed to the hallway?

A. I think so.

Q. And would that include the fact that windows in the study tended to be uncurtained?

A. Just that, windows. ...

Q. (Prosecutor) In that regard, you also mentioned that you would move from the oval area or that sometimes you'd start in the Oval Office and then you'd move towards the hallway. Did the president ever initiate that move?

A. I think we both did. I mean, it just depended on the day. It wasn't ...

Q: Was it understood that you wouldn't actually have a sexual encounter in the Oval Office?

A. I'm sure it was understood. I - I - I wouldn't have done that. I mean - so - I'm sure he wouldn't have done that.

Q. What about any discussions with the President about not acknowledging one another at parties or photographs, for example?

A. I was paranoid anyway and - so I said, "I think it's a good idea if we just sort of ignore each other at the party and don't really say anything." And that's what we did.

Q. And what about with respect to a photograph that was taken at the party and whether ...

A. I didn't know there was going to be a picture taken....

Q. So in that case, that would be a concealment effort, but not one that the President and you had collaborated on.

A. No.

Q. All right. What about an occasion when the President suggested that the two [of] you might attend a movie and sort of bump into each other outside the movie? ... why would you have to make prior arrangements for you to bump into each other rather than having sort of a - you know, walk down the hall together to the movie?

A. For obvious reasons, I guess, because it wouldn't be appropriate.... people would wonder what was going on.

Q. (Juror) Did you ever discuss with the president whether you should deny the relationship if you were asked about it?

A. I think I always offered that.

Q. (Juror) In discussions with the president?

A. In discussions - I told him I would always - I would always deny it, I would always protect him.

Q. (Juror) And what did he say when you said that? ...

A. I ... in my head, I'm seeing him smile and I'm hearing him saying "That's good," or ... something affirmative. You know. Not - not "Don't deny it."

Q. (Prosecutor) Ms Lewinsky, with respect to the weekend visits, did the president ever initiate that idea ...?

A. Yes. The ... I don't remember if it was the Wednesday or the Friday when the relationship first started, he said to me at some point, you know, "You can come see me on the weekends. I'm usually around on the weekends."

Q. And did you understand what that meant?

A. Yes. To me, it meant there aren't as many people around on the weekends....

Q.(Juror) When you first made the determination that you were moving to New York and you wanted to explore the possibilities of a job in private industry, can you recall how you first got the recommendation about Vernon Jordan's assistance in this endeavour?

A. I can't. I know that I suggested to the President or I, I didn't suggest, I asked the president if Mr Jordan might be able to assist me.

Q. (Juror) After you left the White House, it seems as if you attended a number of public functions where you came in contact with him. Could you just tell us a little about that?

A.Those were all ways for me to get a chance to see him. I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily and if I hadn't heard from him. I would go early and stand in the front so I could see him, blah, blah, blah.

Q. (Prosecutor) Let me ask a follow-up question to that because I think it may have been in about October of `96 when you had a telephone conversation with him just prior to you going to Billy Shaddock to get a photograph.

A. Right.

Q. During the conversation before, did you and the President have any discussion about your dropping by and seeing him at a public departure?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Would you tell us about that?

A. Let's see. I spoke with him - I think it was 22 October, and then I saw him at an event 23 October and he called that night and I had mentioned to him on - I think it was a Tuesday, the first phone conversation, that I was going to be at the White House on Thursday.

And when he called me Wednesday night, he said - I was upset with him and so then he said, you know, "Don't be mad. Don't be mad." You know. "Are you coming tomorrow?"

And I said yes. So he said, "Well, why don't you stop by Betty's office, stop by to see Betty and then maybe you can come see me for a few minutes before I leave."

Q. Okay. All right. The reason I was asking that as a follow-up is that's sort of a prearranged semi-public occasion for the two of you to see each other.

A. Right. I don't, I don't know necessarily that I was going to go to the departure.

Q. I see.

A. But that was maybe kind of a cover story.

Q. I understand.

A. Or I'm not - I know he had a departure and I know that I was going to see him for a few minutes before the departure because I thought - I remember thinking that I might get to kiss him, so ...

Q. (Juror) Okay. Could you tell us a little about that?

A. Sure. I - the short of it is that I didn't end up seeing him because Evelyn Lieberman was hanging around and left with him that day.

Q. (Juror) She was someplace where she didn't belong?

A. He had this big 50th birthday party at Radio City Music Hall and there was a cocktail reception and at the ... when he came to do the rope line and he ... after he greeted me and talked to me, he was talking to a whole bunch of people in and around my area. I had my back to him and I just kind of put - put my hand behind me and touched him.

Q. Touched him in the crotch area?

A. Yes.

Q. (Juror) Did anybody see you?

A. No. And it wasn't - it wasn't a - it was maybe sort of a grazing over of that area, but it wasn't, it wasn't how you might imagine it if someone described this, from a scene from a movie. It wasn't like that, but it was - you know. I don't even know if he remembers. I don't think it was to necessarily gratify him or arouse him. It was just playful.

Q. (Juror) Were there times when the President would touch you either on the breasts or in the genital area directly to the skin or was it always through clothing?

A. Directly to the skin. Both.

Q. When you said that in your conversations with Linda Tripp you kind of had to exaggerate some things about the president to her, you exaggerated on some of the things you said to her about the president -

A. I'm not sure about that. I - I don't know if exaggerate is the right - is maybe the word I would choose.

Q. Monica, why did you keep that black dress? ... Blue dress.

A. I didn't have a reason. If I remember correctly, I didn't really realize that there was anything on it until I went to go wear it again ... I had shown the dress to Linda at that point and had just sort of said to her ... "Isn't this stupid?" Or, you know, "Look at this, isn't this gross?" Or whatever. I don't really remember exactly what I said.

And she told me that I should put it in a safe deposit box because it could be evidence one day. And I said that was ludicrous because I would never - I would never disclose that I had a relationship with the president, I would never need it. And then when Thanksgiving time came around and I told her that I was going to wear it for Thanksgiving, she told me I looked fat in the dress, I shouldn't wear it. She brought me a jacket from her closet ... to try to persuade me not to wear the dress.

So I ended up not wearing it and then I was going to clean it. I took it with me up to New York and was going to clean it up there and then this broke, so.