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the President and she did engage in conduct that involved the touching of breasts and genitalia and therefore did constitute sexual relations even under the President's admitted interpretation of the definition
Ms. Lewinsky had every reason to tell the truth to the grand jury. She was under a threat of prosecution for perjury not only regarding her statements made on these occasions, but on the statements made in her admittedly false affidavit if she did not tell the truth, since truthful testimony was a condition of the immunity agreement she made. As indicated, her testimony is also corroborated.
The vague and evasive responses given by the President were made in violation of the oath he took to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” He asserted in his grand jury testimony that because of his interpretation behind the motives for the lawsuit being brought, he was entitled in his deposition to answer in a manner that was less than completely truthful. This argument has no basis in law and is detrimental to the purpose of the oath. The technical and hair-splitting legal arguments advanced by the President that he did not have an obligation to tell the complete truth unless a question was posed in a way that he had no choice but to give the complete truth, or that he did not “technically" perjure himself in his deposition, defy the common sense and human experience which must be applied by any prospective fact-finder in this case.
The President did not have to answer untruthfully in the grand jury. The Constitution provided him with the opportunity to assert his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to respond based on his opinion that a completely truthful answer would tend to incriminate him for prior acts of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was apprised of this right in the grand jury proceeding:
Q. You have a privilege against self-incrimination. If a truthful answer to any question would tend to incriminate you, you can invoke the privilege and that invocation will not be used against you. Do you understand that?
A. I do.
Q. And if you don't invoke it, however, any answer that you give can and will be used against you. Do you understand that, sir?
A. I do. Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton, 8/17/98, pp. 4–5, H. Doc. 105-311, pp. 456–57.
Instead of invoking his right, the President chose to place his own personal and political interests ahead of the interests of justice and the nation and continued to assert that he did not have sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky. He also, as indicated infra, lied about the truthfulness of his prior testimony and his efforts to influence others related to the Jones action.
The Committee has concluded that the President's statements to the grand jury denying that he had sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky were calculated to avoid difficult questions regarding his conduct and to project the appearance that he was being forthright with the grand jury and the American people. In fact, his premeditated and carefully prepared statements were perjurious, false and misleading in light of corroborated evidence to the contrary. 2. The Committee concluded that the President provided perjurious,
false, and misleading testimony to a Federal grand jury concerning prior perjurious, false and misleading testimony he
gave in a federal civil rights action brought against him. On August 17, 1998, the President gave perjurious, false, and misleading testimony regarding prior statements of the same nature he made in his deposition. Such testimony includes the following:
Q. Now, you took the same oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on January 17th, 1998 in a deposition in the Paula Jones litigation; is that correct, sir?
A. I did take an oath then.
Q. Did the oath you took on that occasion mean the same to you then as it does today?
A. I believed then that I had to answer the questions
truthfully, that is correct. Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton, 8/17/98, pp. 6–7, H. Doc. 105–311, pp. 457–58.
Q. You're not going back on your earlier statement that you understand you were sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the folks at that deposition, are you, Mr. President?
A. No, sir, but I think we might as well put this out on the table. You tried to get me to give a broader interpretation to my oath than just my obligation to tell the truth. In other words, you tried to say, even though these people are treating you in an illegal manner in illegally leaking these depositions, you should be a good lawyer for them. And if they don't have enough sense to write to ask a question, and even if Mr. Bennett invited them to ask follow-up questions, if they didn't do it, you should have done all their work for them.
Now, so I will admit this, sir. My goal in this deposition was to be truthful, but not particularly helpful. I did not wish to do the work of the Jones lawyers. I deplored what they were doing. I deplored the innocent people they were tormenting and traumatizing. I deplored their illegal leaking. I deplored the fact that they knew, once they knew our evidence, that this was a bogus lawsuit, and that because of the funding they had from my political enemies, they were putting ahead. I deplored it.
But I was determined to work through the minefield of this deposition without violating the law, and I believe I
did. Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton, 8/17/98, pp. 79–80, H. Doc. 105–311, pp. 531-32.
The President did not believe that he had given truthful answers in his deposition testimony. If he had, he would not have related
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a false account of events to Betty Currie, his secretary, who he knew, according to his own statements in the deposition, might be called as a witness in the Jones case. He would not have told false accounts to his aides who, he admitted, he knew would be called to testify before the grand jury. The President understood from previous conversations with Monica Lewinsky that her affidavit, stating that they did not have “sexual relations”, was false. He knew that the definition in the Jones case was meant to cover the same activity as that mentioned in the affidavit. In fact, the affidavit was directly mentioned in the President's deposition. Rather than tell the complete truth, the President lied about his relationship, the cover stories, the affidavit, the subpoena and the search for a job for Ms. Lewinsky at his deposition. He then denied committing perjury at his deposition before the grand jury. The President thus engaged in a series of lies and obstruction, each one calculated to cover the one preceding it.
Throughout his grand jury testimony, the President acknowledged that he was bound to tell the truth during the January 17,1998, deposition in the Paula Jones case, as well as before the grand jury on August 17, 1998:
Q. Mr. President, you understand that your testimony here today is under oath?
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Q. And do you understand that because you have sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, that if you were to lie or intentionally mislead the grand jury, you could be prosecuted for perjury and/or obstruction of justice?
A. I believe that's correct. * * *
Q. You understand that it requires you to give the whole truth, that is, a complete answer to each question, sir?
A. I will answer each question as accurately and fully as
I can. Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton, 8/17/98, pp. 457, H. Doc. 105–311.
The President did not answer each question as accurately and fully as he could have. In contrast to his assertions that he testify truthfully when deposed on January 17, 1998, the record reflects that the President did not “work through the minefield of (his deposition in the case of Jones v. Clinton) without violating the law. In fact, the Committee has concluded that President Clinton made multiple perjurious, false and misleading statements during his deposition in the case of Jones v. Clinton. Thus, his assertion before the grand jury that he did not violate the law in the deposition is itself a perjurious, false, and misleading statement and evidence of his continuing efforts to deny and cover-up his criminal wrongdoing. The details of the President's perjurious, false, and misleading statements made during his deposition in the case of Jones v. Clinton are set forth in Article II, Paragraph 2.
3. The Committee concluded that the President provided perjurious,
false, and misleading testimony to a Federal grand jury concerning prior false and misleading statements he allowed his attorney to make to a Federal judge in that civil rights action The President made perjurious, false and misleading statements before the grand jury when he testified he did not allow his attorney to refer to an affidavit before the judge in the Jones case that he knew to be false:
Q. Mr. President, I want to before I go into a new subject area, briefly go over something you were talking about with Mr. Bittman.
The statement of your attorney, Mr. Bennett, at the
That statement is made by your attorney in front of
A. That's correct.
Q. That statement is a completely false statement. Whether or not Mr. Bennett knew of your relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, the statement that there was "no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton," was an utterly false statement. Is that correct?
A. It depends on what the meaning of the word "is” is. If the-if he-if “is” means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.
But, as I have testified, and I'd like to testify again, this is—it is somewhat unusual for a client to be asked about his lawyer's statements, instead of the other way around. I was not paying a great deal of attention to this exchange.
I was focusing on my own testimony. Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton, 8/17/98, pp. 57–58, H. Doc. 105–311, pp. 509-510.
Further perjurious, false and misleading statements from the President's grand jury testimony regarding this issue can be found on p. 24, lines 6–20; p. 25, lines 1-6; p. 59, lines 16–23; p. 60, lines 4-15, and p. 61, lines 4-15.
On January 15, 1998, Robert Bennett, attorney for President Clinton in the case of Jones v. Clinton, obtained a copy of the affidavit Monica Lewinsky filed in an attempt to avoid having to testify in the case of Jones v. Clinton. Grand Jury Testimony of Frank Carter, 6/18/98, pp. 1, 12–13, H. Doc. 105–316, pp. 420–21. In this affidavit, Monica Lewinsky asserted that she had never had a sexual relationship with President Clinton. At the President's deposition on January 17, 1988, an attorney for Paula Jones began to ask the President questions about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. Mr. Bennett objected to the "innuendo” of the questions and he pointed out that Ms. Lewinsky had signed an affidavit denying a "sexual relationship’ with the President. Mr. Bennett asserted that this indicated “there is no sex of any kind in any manner, shape
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or form," between the President and Ms. Lewinsky, and after a warning from Judge Wright he stated that, “I am not coaching the witness. In preparation of the witness for this deposition, the witness is fully aware of Ms. Jane Doe 6's affidavit, so I have not told him a single thing he doesn't know.” Mr. Bennett clearly used the affidavit in an attempt to stop the questioning of the President about Ms. Lewinsky. The President did not say anything to correct Mr. Bennett even though he knew the affidavit was false. Judge Wright overruled Mr. Bennett's objection and allowed the questioning to proceed. Deposition of President Clinton in the Jones case, 117/98, p. 54.
Later in the deposition, Mr. Bennett read the President the portion of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit in which she denied having a "sexual relationship" with the President and asked the President if Ms. Lewinsky's statement was true and accurate. The President responded: “That is absolutely true.” Deposition of President Clinton in the case of Jones v. Clinton, 1/17/98, p. 204. The grand jury testimony of Monica Lewinsky, given under oath and following a grant of transnational immunity, confirmed that the contents of her affidavit were not true:
Q. Paragraph 8 * * * [of the affidavit) says, “I have never had a sexual relationship with the President." Is . that true?
A. No. Grand Jury Testimony of Monica Lewinsky, 8/6/98, H. Doc. 105– 311, p. 924.
When President Clinton was asked during his grand jury testimony how he could have lawfully sat silent at his deposition while his attorney made a false statement (“there is no sex of any kind, in any manner shape or form”) to a United States District Court Judge, the President first said that he was not paying “a great deal of attention" to Mr. Bennett when he said this. The President's videotaped deposition, however, shows the President paying close attention and squarely looking in Mr. Bennett's direction while Mr. Bennett was making the statement about “no sex of any kind.” The President then argued that when Mr. Bennett made the assertion that there “is no sex of any kind. * * * ," Mr. Bennett was speaking only in the present tense, as if he understood that to be the case at the time the remark was made, and when he was allegedly not paying attention to the remark. The President stated, “It depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, and that “[i]f it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.” Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton, 8/17/98, pp. 57-61, H. Doc. 105–311, pp. 509–513; see also id., pp. 24-25, H. Doc. 105–311, pp. 476–77.
It is clear to the Committee that the President perjured himself when he said that Mr. Bennett's statement that there was “no sex of any kind” was “completely true” depending on what the word “is” is. The President did not want to admit that Mr. Bennett's statement was false, because to do so would have been to admit that the term "sexual relations” as used in the Lewinsky affidavit meant "no sex of any kind.” Admitting that would be to admit that he perjured himself previously in his grand jury testimony and in
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