`Whole Monica' revealed on tape

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The Independent Online
AS AMERICANS waited, agog, to watch the "whole Monica" - the sight and sound of Monica Lewinsky in synchronisation for the first time - the transcript of her evidence showed her still protective of the President and careful not to incriminate him. The transcript, at times defiant, at times vague, was made public yesterday in accordance with a Senate vote on Thursday to release the sworn evidence that she and the other two witnesses - Vernon Jordan and Sidney Blumenthal - had given to prosecutors earlier in the week.

Answering questions from Ed Bryant, the Republican House prosecutor, Ms Lewinsky upbraided him when he referred to "the first so-called salacious occasion" with the President, saying: "Can you call it something else?... I mean, this is my relationship." "What would you like to call it?" Mr Bryant asked. "It was my first encounter with the President, so I don't really see it as my first salacious ... that's not what this was."

Like the other witnesses, Ms Lewinsky professed memory lapses on some crucial issues, such as whether Mr Clinton had asked her to pass the gifts he had given her to his secretary. "Not that I remember," she said. Implicating the President in the concealment of the gifts would help to support the charge that he set out to obstruct justice, as Ms Lewinsky had by then been summoned to testify in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

Excerpts from the video recording of Ms Lewinsky's testimony, and that of the other witnesses, will be played to the Senate impeachment trial today. The session will be televised.

Meanwhile, a movement was growing in the Senate to have the final debate on the conviction or acquittal of the President held in public rather than, as the rules stipulate, in closed session. Republican and Democrat Senators have presented a draft motion to open the debate to the media.