The People Who Fear Him May Know Something We Don’t; Deposition Snippets From Lindsey, Monica, Blumenthal

Ladies and gentlemen, now that the trial is coming to an end, I’d like to introduce my witnesses. I’ll stick with snippets-snippets from the Kenneth Starr grand jury (and in two cases, Paula Jones depositions) never heard before, but contained in Government documents.

The first witness is Monica Lewinsky’s mother. Remember Marcia Lewis breaking down at the courthouse last February? Before she did, she testified succinctly about the two main players.

Marcia Lewis:

Q. Did it strike you as unusual that your daughter, a 23-year-old, was writing Valentine’s Day messages to the President and referring to him as Handsome?

A. Yes.

Q. She continued to exhibit some sort of romantic interest?

A. I think so.

Q. And as a loving mother, what was your reaction to that?

A. I was very concerned and not happy.

Q. Why not?

A. Because I would like my daughter to find a nice young man and get married and I would like grandchildren.

Ms. Lewis said she didn’t think her daughter was having sex with the President. She was in denial. She wasn’t alone.

Marsha Scott , Arkansan, longtime aide to the President.

Monica’s sobbing. And she said, “There are other women.” And she named them. And I went, “Monica, that’s bullshit. You know it.” I absolutely did not believe her. Because we happen to have a young, attractive, charismatic, very outgoing President who has many women as friends, he was raised by a single mom, some of his best and closest and oldest friends are women, and they come in all shapes and sizes and colors and every one of them has had something noted about the sex. This is the most sexist environment I have ever worked in, which is this town and the media frenzy that follows this White House. Women in this country ought to be furious at the singling out that women in this Administration have had to take simply because they work with a man who is an interesting, handsome, charismatic President.

Handsome was the biggest denier of all.

Harry Thomason , producer and longtime Friend of Bill, on his coaching the President to make the famous “that woman” denial of Jan. 26, 1998.

Q. Did you tell him to clench his jaw?

A. No I did not. I just told him he should make a strong, forceful denial. And I guess that comes from working with actors. I don’t believe you should demonstrate, I believe you should tell them, you know, here is the end goal. How you get there is up to you.

Q. And one of the ways somebody with your background would go about doing that is to say-you need to point your finger or you need to clench your jaw, that sort of thing.

A. No. I didn’t do it. And I would have, actually-I would have told him not to point his finger.

In fairness, the President’s shame was heightened by the sexless White House culture created by strivey meritocrats.

Evelyn S. Lieberman , a close associate of Hillary Clinton and former deputy chief of staff, on Monica Lewinsky.

Her skirts were probably too short. It doesn’t take much more than that to set me off. Because I just think it’s inappropriate attire in the White House, in any professional place … She was what we used to call a clutch. And that she was always someplace she shouldn’t be. It’s a slightly derisive term for somebody who, whenever he or she sees the President, or any of the principals, would want to be around, or would hover or be close.

And remember how people said, “It would be one thing if he wants to have a discreet affair with Shelia Lawrence, that cool slivery blonde, the widow of the Ambassador to Switzerland who got the military funeral?” Dude, the control freaks were dead against it.

Leon Panetta , former Clinton chief of staff.

I think, you know, there may have been one time when he may have ridden in a car with [name deleted] and we just were concerned about the appearance of that. And the only other thing we took-we wanted to make sure that he did not stay at the Lawrence house, in San Diego. To make sure that that would not happen, and it didn’t happen.

Q. Was that based on any rumor you have heard?

It was just that the President of the United States we felt ought not to be staying at, you know, a woman’s house. I believe this was after the death of her husband.

The only one we know the President didn’t deny Monica to was someone who would understand, another casualty of a sex scandal.

Dick Morris , describing his last phone conversation with the President, in January 1998:

The second or third thing that I said to him, I said, “It occurred to me that I may be the only sex addict you know and maybe I can help you.” … Then he said, “You know, ever since the election, I’ve tried to shut myself down, I’ve tried to shut my body down, sexually, I mean. But sometimes I slipped up and with this girl I just slipped up. And I said, I know. You know. Addicts fall off the wagon. I said, “This is an addiction just like drugs or alcohol and you just have to recognize it and fight it.”

The President had a question for Mr. Morris. Was it true that two years before he had let Sherry Rowlands, a prostitute, listen in on his phone calls to the White House? Mr. Clinton seemed to be worried that the prostitute may have heard Monica!

Dick Morris:

“By the way, Dick, do you know the date of the, uh, time with the woman?” And I said, “What do you mean, sir?” And he said, “The time, you know, with the woman at your hotel, the prostitute, listening in on the calls?” And I told the President that that was not true. I said, “As I’ve said before, I never had her eavesdrop on a conversation with you. What I did was to put the phone up to her ear for one minute so I could be a big shot and have her hear that I was talking to you and she just caught the sound of your voice.”

And he said, “Well, what date was that?”

And I said, “Sir. A dozen times.”

Someone else Mr. Clinton talked about sex with was Texas lawyer Dolly Kyle Browning. The big blonde had known “Billy” since high school, and she testified that they had a longtime affair. Once when he was governor he let his hair down.

Dolly Kyle Browning:

When I confronted him with the issue of sexual addiction he did not object. He listened attentively. He nodded. At one point, he cried. He brought up incidents. Generalized things like, “Women are everywhere. I can’t even walk down the street without someone literally trying to pick me up.” He asked me questions. At one point, when he was upset, I said we don’t have to talk about this, and he said, “I can take it if you can.” I am fairly sure I asked him at least 20 questions. I just don’t recall now. I do recall that the big question was, Have your sexual activities jeopardized your life goals?

Q. And how did he respond to that question?

A. He was visibly upset.

The next witness will flesh that part out. You’re not going to like her. But she’s a great observer, and if it makes you feel any better, she’s going to jail, before Vernon Jordan.

Linda Tripp , former White House secretary, on her encounter with campaign volunteer Kathleen Willey after Willey’s meeting with the President, in November 1993:

She said, “I need help, I need a job,” and he said he was sorry about her news, but she didn’t feel that he was connecting or was going to get right on it. She said he wasn’t really engaged. Then suddenly he got closer and said something like, “This is something I’ve wanted to do since the first time I laid eyes on you.” It went from Kathleen telling him about the job to whoa, there goes the coffee, what’s going to happen with the coffee? And oh my God, Kathleen’s tiny and he’s huge, and she said it was just so forceful and completely took her breath away. She was very graphic describing it to me. She said “His tongue was down my throat.” And I said, “Did you kiss him back?” And she said, “Well, I think I did.” And she kept telling me the powerfulness of it and the forcefulness of it. And she kept saying, ‘He put my hand on his penis. It was [adjective deleted].’ I said, ‘What?’ And she said, ‘I am not kidding. This is exactly what happened.’ And the most significant thing I noticed was that her lipstick was totally gone. I had never seen Kathleen without lipstick.

It’s always better to get a concrete description of compulsive behavior than be given some jargony word like addiction. Everyone agrees.

Sidney Blumenthal:

Q. Did you prepare the President and/or First Lady for responding to any questions about sexual addiction?

A. No. We never expected the press to ask a question like that, and so we’ve never prepared the President for a question like that. I guess we would regard it as outrageous. And we understand that, you know, there’s a lot of innuendo and gossip and talk, and there’s a lot of speculation, and there are people on TV saying whatever they want to say.

Join me now in a moment of silence for Sid Blumenthal’s reputation. A creditable political writer for 30 years, author of countless books. But what a lousy judge of character! And because he happens to bump into the President in a moment of need, and toolishly chooses to accept the “stalker” smear, his name is turned forever to mud. Of course Sid’s not the only one.

Bruce Lindsey , close adviser to the President, testifying last August, after the President’s admission that he had had improper relations with Monica Lewinsky:

Q. Do you care what your historical legacy is, Mr. Lindsey?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And this whole Monica Lewinsky matter has been going on for now seven months. It’s a matter that not only the President’s statements and conduct will be judged by history, but also your role in that will be fairly or unfairly, judged historically. Will you agree with that?

A. Correct.

Q. So I think it’s a fair question to ask, what you think about the extent your reputation has been put in jeopardy or maybe undermined by being close to somebody who outright lied to you about the particulars of this matter?

A. I do not believe there is any legal significance to this Grand Jury as to what my personal feelings are about this.

Q. So are you just too embarrassed to answer the question, sir?

A. I do not believe the purpose of the Federal Grand Jury is to have me describe to them what my personal feeling are about what the President has or has not done.

Q. Is there any subject matter the President of the United States could lie to you about that would make you so upset that you would say, “I’m not going to work for you anymore”?

A. Yes.

Q. And what kind of lie would that have to be?

A. I have no-I don’t know.

Q. But you think there is some category that he could cross the line on, and this just isn’t it?

A. Yes. I-I don’t know if this isn’t it, frankly. I-I-you know. I have not resigned, that’s correct.

Q. All right. But you’ve told us that you and others were misled by the President personally about his conduct on this issue, correct?

A. Correct.

Mr. Lindsey has a tough side.

Dick Morris:

I said I doubted the President would arrange for hush money to Webb Hubbell because he’s too much of an ingrate. And Bruce called me and said the President really bristled at that comment. And I said, he is. But there was a tone in Bruce’s commentary to me of you’d better watch out, you’re pissing the President off. There was a tone. Once I called the President and he said, “You really shouldn’t have called me an ingrate.” And I said, “You are an ingrate. You’re just so focused on doing what you want to do on public policy, when you’re finished with people you throw them away and you move on to new people and that’s the way a President has to be.”

The President’s most trusted aides picked up their people skills in Arkansas. Marsha Scott. Buddy Young. Betsey Wright. All the President’s henchmen.

Roger Perry , Arkansas state trooper:

Buddy Young was a user, and used people, and he started out the conversation, “How you doing, Roger?” “Fine. How are you, Buddy?” Me and Buddy never lost any love for each other, and here he was acting like we were long-lost friends. And I said, “What can I do for you, Buddy?” And he said, “Well I want to talk. Is it true what I hear that you’re going to go public with the sexual stories on Bill Clinton?” And I said, “Well, Buddy, we hadn’t made our mind up yet.” Then he said, “Well, let me give you some advice. If you do, you will be destroyed. Your reputation will be destroyed. And I represent the President of the United States.” Exactly what the man said.

That was 1993. The President offered jobs for silence, which may be a crime. And that’s not all he did.

Linda Tripp:

One day, I went to McDonald’s and I offered everyone in the immediate office if they’d like me to get them something, never thinking the President would want anything, and sure enough he came out and said, “Would you mind getting me-” I think he either said grilled or broiled chicken filet sandwich. And I said, yes, I would. And I didn’t know that McDonald’s doesn’t make those, or didn’t at the time, and I stood in line all that time and I got everyone’s order and when it came time to order his, I said, “And please make sure that this is grilled or broiled,” and he said, “We don’t do that here.” And I said, “Oh please. Please just-could you just take your filet and put it on the grill, I’ll wait.” And he said, “Lady, we don’t do that here.” I said, “Please, would you think about doing it.” There was no other fast food restaurant there that I could fake it. And I just couldn’t face going back and saying, “Sorry.” So I begged him again and here’s a big line in back of me and the guy just looked at me and goes, “Lady, I don’t care if this is for the President of the United States, we don’t grill chicken sandwiches.” And I said, “I understand.”

I had to get that in somewhere. But back on point: The destruction of anyone who might talk about the President’s sexual past. The reason Dick Morris is so rabid about the President is, he understands this. After Mr. Morris resigned over the prostitute, he came to believe that the White House leaked his personnel file, containing his own confidences about his sexual indiscretions, to the National Enquirer .

Dick Morris:

I have always been suspicious of the use of detectives and files and this kind of almost blackmail to try to get women not to implicate Clinton. It’s kind of the way Nixon’s professionals felt about the Watergate burglar crew. I mean, the amateurs running around screwing things up.… I had two conversations with Betsey [Wright] about that. And she said, “Sometimes it involves trying to persuade women not to talk to reporters … Most of the women that Clinton’s been involved with are pretty savvy types, they’re career types, and they’ve got a lot to lose and they generally don’t want to be public and they don’t want a lot of attention.… And what we do is we work on getting material on them to try to induce them not to compromise the President.” And she gave me to believe-I don’t recall her exact words-that that involved detectives digging up material on women.

One of those women was Dolly Browning. After Gennifer Flowers went public in the Star , the tabloid offered Dolly $100,000 for her story. She turned them down. But she made the mistake of giving Billy a heads up.

Dolly Kyle Browning:

My relationship ended with him when I warned him about the Star magazine article and he threatened to destroy me. And we didn’t speak again until the high school reunion.

The reunion was in Hot Springs, in 1994. Mrs. Browning gave the President the cold shoulder. He pulled her aside, and they spent 45 minutes talking, as other members of the class wondered what was going on. And guess who was hovering? The queen of black-is-white.

Marsha Scott:

Listen, this was a woman who seemed on the verge of going out of control. I thought the woman was an absolute nut. And [Arkansas friend and former aide] Patty Criner, who did know her, had come up to me and had told me something to the effect that the woman, she is a nut case. What is she doing around him? Are you watching her?

That’s character assassination. And it’s where the Republicans blew this case. It took them five months (and Lindsey Graham’s intervention) to figure out that the strongest thing in the Starr referral, truly the cancer on the presidency, was the “stalker” smear and all the lies and threats before that. Meantime, Starr himself, a pudgy judgy Babbitt, never knew how to investigate the climate of fear this Administration specializes in.

Linda Tripp:

Q. So you went public to save your job?

A. It was really for me far more than that. It was a question of, I am afraid of this Administration. I have what I consider to be well-founded fears of what they are capable of. I believe that I have a far more informed perspective than most people in observing what they are capable of and I made a decision based on what I felt I knew to be the possibilities that could befall me. There was always a sense in this White House from the beginning that you were either with them or you were against them. The notion that you could just be a civil servant supporting the institution just was not an option. I had reason to believe that the Vince Foster tragedy was not depicted accurately under oath by members of the Administration. I knew based on personal knowledge, personal observations that they were lying under oath. So it became very fearful to me that I had information even back then that was dangerous. If you want a specific, the behavior in the West Wing with senior staff to the President during the time the Jerry Parks [death] came over the fax frightened me. He was if not the head of his campaign security detail in Arkansas, then somewhere in the hierarchy. He had been killed [in September 1993]. It was the reaction at the White House that caused me concern, as did Vince Foster’s suicide. None of the behavior following Vince Foster’s suicide computed to just people mourning Mr. Foster. It was far more ominous than that and it was extremely questionable behavior on the parts of those who were immediately involved in the aftermath. I don’t know how much more I can be specific except to say I am telling you under oath today that I felt endangered and I was angry and I resented it and I still do.

You might think Ms. Tripp is off the deep end. What about Mom?

Marcia Lewis:

Q. Did you ever remind your daughter what happened to Mary Jo Kopechne?

A. I may have said that, yes. That it is dangerous for foolish young women to get involved in things that are not where they should be involved. That’s what I meant.

Q. So you were concerned with her physical safety sometimes?

A. Yes.

Maybe these people know something we don’t.

Monica Lewinsky , talking to Linda Tripp, wearing a body wire, at the Ritz Carlton in Crystal City, Va., on the main reason she would not tell the Jones lawyers of her affair with the President:

Ms. Lewinsky: I, I, I, first of all-for fear of my life.

Ms. Tripp: Yeah.

Lewinsky: I would not. For fear of my life. I would not-I would not cross these people, for fear of my life, No. 1.

That’s all, America. Good night. Don’t forget to load up on internet stocks before you get on the bridge to the 21st century!

Sweet dreams, James Rogan, Lindsey Graham and Asa Hutchinson. When history tracks you down, it will be on uplifted wings.

Wait, wait, wait! A pale, bespectacled gentlemen would like to have the last word, under oath.

Sidney Blumenthal:

He was a man in anguish. I think that’s when I told him that you can’t get near crazy people, uh, or troubled people. Uh, you’re President. You just have to separate yourself from this. I felt that pretty strongly. He shouldn’t be involved with troubled people.