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(UNKNOWN): Mr. President, would you raise your right hand, please? Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you're about to give in this matter will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
CLINTON: I do.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
CLINTON: Good afternoon.
QUESTION: Could you please state your full name for the record, sir?
CLINTON: William Jefferson Clinton.
QUESTION: My name is Sol Wisenberg. I'm a deputy independent counsel with the Office of Independent Counsel. And with me today are some other attorneys from the Office of Independent Counsel. At the courthouse are the ladies and gentlemen of the grand jury prepared to receive your testimony as you give it. Do you understand, sir?
CLINTON: Yes, I do.
QUESTION: This proceeding is subject to Rule 6(e) of the federal rules of criminal procedure as modified by Judge Johnson's order. You are appearing voluntarily today as part of an agreement worked out between your attorney, the Office of the Independent Counsel, and with the approval of Judge Johnson. Is that correct, sir?
CLINTON: That is correct.
(UNKNOWN): Mr. Wisenberg, excuse me. You referred to Judge Johnson's order. I'm not familiar with that order. Have we been served that or not?
QUESTION: No. My understand is that that is an order that the judge is going to sign today. She didn't have the name of Awaka (ph). A person basically, my understanding is that it will cover all of the attorneys here today and the technical people in the room. So that they would be authorized personally to be permitted to hear grand jury testimony that they otherwise wouldn't be authorized to hear.
(UNKNOWN): Thank you.
QUESTION: The grand jury, Mr. President, has been empaneled by a United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Do you understand that, sir?
CLINTON: I do.
QUESTION: And among other things, it's currently investigating under the authority of the Court of Appeals upon application by the attorney general whether Monica Lewinsky or others obstructed justice, intimidated witnesses or committed other crimes related to the case of Jones versus Clinton. Do you understand that, sir?
CLINTON: I do.
QUESTION: And today, you will be receiving questions not only from attorneys on the OIC staff, but from some of the grand jurors, too. Do you understand that?
CLINTON: Yes, sir. I do.
QUESTION: I'm going to talk briefly about your rights and responsibilities as a grand jury witness. Normally, grand jury witnesses, while not allowed to have attorneys in the grand jury room with them, can stop and consult with their attorneys. But our arrangement today, your attorneys are here and present for consultation. (OFF-MIKE) to consult with them as necessary, but it won't count against (OFF-MIKE). Do you understand that, sir?
CLINTON: I do understand that.
QUESTION: 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 application will not be used against you. Do you understand that?
CLINTON: I do.
QUESTION: And if you don't invoke it, however, any of the answers that you do give can and will be used against you. Do you understand that, sir?
CLINTON: I do.
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you understand that your testimony here today is under oath?
CLINTON: I do.
QUESTION: And do you understand that because you've been 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?
CLINTON: I believe that's correct.
QUESTION: Is there anything that you -- I have stated to you regarding your rights and responsibilities that you would like me to clarify that you don't understand?
CLINTON: No, sir.
QUESTION: Mr. President, I'd like to read for you a portion of federal ...(ph) 603, which discusses the important function the oath has in our judicial system. It says that the purpose of the oath is 1) quote, "calculated to awaken the witness' conscience and impress the witness' mind with the duty" end quote -- to tell the truth. Could you please tell the grand jury what that oath means to you for today's testimony?
CLINTON: I have sworn an oath to tell the grand jury the truth and that's what I intend to do.
QUESTION: You understand it requires you to give the whole truth, that is a complete answer to each question, sir?
CLINTON: I will answer each question as accurately and fully as I can.
QUESTION: Now, you took the same oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on January 17, 1998 in a deposition in the Paul Jones litigation, is that correct, sir?
CLINTON: I did take an oath there.
QUESTION: Did the oath you took on that occasion mean the same to you then as it does today?
CLINTON: I believed then that I had to answer the questions truthfully, that's correct.
QUESTION: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you, sir.
CLINTON: I believe that I had to answer the questions truthfully, that's correct.
QUESTION: And it meant the same to you then as it does today?
CLINTON: Well, no one read me a definition then and we didn't go through this exercise then. I swore an oath to tell the truth and I believed I was bound to be truthful and I tried to be.
QUESTION: At the Paula Jones deposition, you were represented by Mr. Robert Bennett, your counsel, is that correct?
CLINTON: That is correct.
QUESTION: He was authorized by you to be your representative, or your attorney, is that correct?
CLINTON: That is correct.
QUESTION: Your counsel, Mr. Bennett, indicated that -- page five of
the deposition, lines 10 through 12, I'm quoting: "The president intends to give full and complete answers as Ms. Jones is entitled to have." End quote.
QUESTION: My question to you is -- Do you agree with your counsel that his client in the sexual harassment case is, to use his words, entitled to have the truth"?
CLINTON: I believe that I was bound to give truthful answers. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: But the question is, sir, do you agree with your counsel that a plaintiff in a sexual harassment case is entitled to have the truth?
CLINTON: I believe when a witness is under oath in a civil case or otherwise under oath, the witness should do everything possible to answer the questions truthfully.
QUESTION: I want to turn over questioning now to Mr. Bittman of our office, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
CLINTON: Good afternoon, Mr. Bittman.
QUESTION: My name is Robert Bittman. I'm an attorney with the Office of Independent Counsel. Mr. President, we are first going to turn to some of the details of your relationship with Monica Lewinsky that follow on your deposition that you provided in the Paula Jones case as was referenced on January 17, 1998. The questions are uncomfortable and I apologize for that in advance. I'll try to be as brief and direct as possible. Mr. President, were you physically intimate with Monica Lewinsky?
CLINTON: Mr. Bittman, I think maybe I can save the -- you and the grand jurors a lot of time if I read a statement which I think will make it clear what the nature of my relationship with Ms. Lewinsky was, how it related to the testimony I gave, what I was trying to do in that testimony. And I think it will perhaps make it possible for you to ask even more relevant questions from your point of view.
CLINTON: And with your permission, I'd like to read that statement.
UNKNOWN: Absolutely. Please, Mr. President.
CLINTON: When I was alone with Ms. Lewinsky on certain occasions in early 1996, and once in early 1997, I engaged in conduct that was wrong. These encounters did not consist of sexual intercourse. They did not constitute sexual relations, as I understood that term to be defined at my January 17th, 1998 deposition. But they did involve inappropriate, intimate contact. These inappropriate encounters ended at my insistence in early 1997. I also had occasional telephone conversations with Ms. Lewinsky that included inappropriate sexual banter. I regret that what began as a friendship came to include this conduct. And I take full responsibility for my actions. While I will provide the grand jury whatever other information I can, because of privacy considerations affecting my family, myself and others, and in an effort to preserve the dignity of the office I hold, this is all I will say about the specifics of these particular matters. I will try to answer to the best of my ability other questions, including questions about my relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, questions about my understanding of the term of sexual relations, as I understood it to be defined at my January 17th, 1998, deposition, and questions concerning alleged subordination of perjury, obstruction of justice and intimidation of witnesses.
CLINTON: That, Mr. Bittman, is my statement.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. And we would like to take a break.
CLINTON: Would you like to have this?
QUESTION: Yes, please. As a matter of fact, why don't we have that marked as grand jury exhibit WBAC-1 (ph).
CLINTON: So, are we going to take a break?
QUESTION: Yes, we'll take a break. And we have the camera off now, please.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you statement indicates that your contacts with Ms. Lewinsky did not involve any inappropriate intimate contact. Mr. Bittman...
CLINTON: No, sir, indicates that it did inappropriate intimate contact.
QUESTION: OK, it did involve inappropriate intimate contact.
CLINTON: Yes, sir, it did.
(UNKNOWN): Mr. Bittman, the witness does not have a copy of his statement. We just have the one copy.
(UNKNOWN): Thank you.
QUESTION: Was this contact with Ms. Lewinsky -- Mr. President, did it involve any sexual contact in any way, shape or form?
CLINTON: Mr. Bittman, I said in this statement I would like to stay to the terms of the statement. I think it's clear what inappropriately intimate is. I have said what it did not include. It did not include sexual intercourse, and I did not believe that it included conduct which falls within the definition I was given in the Jones deposition. And I would like to stay with that characterization.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) rule 2, the definition that was provided you during your deposition. We'll have that marked as grand jury exhibit WJC2. This is an exact copy, Mr. President, of the exhibit that was provided you during that deposition. And I'm sure you remember, throughout the deposition, that paragraph one of the definition remained in effect, that Judge Wright rule that that was to be the guiding definition in that paragraphs 2 and 3 were stricken. Do you remember that Mr. President?
CLINTON: Yes. Specifically what I remembered is there were two different discussions, I think, of this. There was quite an extended one in the beginning. And everybody was entering into it. And then in the end, the judge said that she would take the -- excuse me --the first definition and strike the rest of it. That's my memory.
QUESTION: Did you -- well, at page 19 of your deposition in the case, the attorney who provided you with the deposition asked you Would you please take whatever time you need to read the deposition.
QUESTION: And later on the deposition, you did, of course, refer to the deposition several times. Were you, during the deposition, familiar with the definition?
CLINTON: Yes, sir. My -- let me just ask a question. If you're going to ask me about my deposition, could I have a copy of it? Does anybody have a copy of it?
QUESTION: We have a copy we'll provide your counsel.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) entered into the (OFF-MIKE).
CLINTON: Now, you say that was on page 19, Mr. Bittman?
QUESTION: Page 19, Mr. President, beginning at line 21. I will read it in full. This is from the Jones attorney. "Would you please take whatever time you need to read this definition because when I use the term sexual relations, this is what I mean today."
CLINTON: Yes, sir. That stops on 19. Let me say that there is a -- just for the record -- if my recollection was accurate -- there was a long discussion here between the attorneys and the judge.
CLINTON: It goes on until page 23, and in the end, the judge says: I'm talking only about part one in the definition. And do you understand that? And I answered, "I do." So the judge says part one and then the lawyer for Ms. Jones says he's only talking about part one. And they asked me if I understand it, and I say I do. And that was my understanding. I might also note that when I was given this and began to ask questions about it, I circled number one. This is my circle here. I remember doing that so I could focus only on those two lines, which is what I did.
QUESTION: Did you understand the word in the first portion of the exhibit, Mr. President? That is for the purposes of this deposition, the person who engages in -- quote, unquote -- "sexual relations" that a person knowingly engages in or causes -- did you understand -- do you understand the words there in that phrase?
CLINTON: Yes. My -- I can tell you what my understanding of the definition is.
CLINTON: If you want me to, let's (ph) do it.
CLINTON: My understanding of this definition is that it covers contact by the person being deposed with the enumerated areas, if the contact is done with an intent to arouse or gratify. That's my understanding of the definition.
QUESTION: What did you believe the definition to include and exclude? What kind of exclusions?
CLINTON: I thought the definition included any activity by the person being deposed where the person was the actor and came in contact with those parts of the body with the purpose or intent of gratification, and excluded any other activity. For example, kissing's not covered by that, I don't think.
QUESTION: Did you understand the definition to be limited to sexual activity?
CLINTON: Yes, I understood the definition to be limited to physical contact with those areas of the body with the specific intent to arouse or gratify. That's what I understood it to be.
QUESTION: What specific acts did the definition include, as you understood the definition on January 17th, 1998?
CLINTON: Any contact with the areas that are mentioned, sir. If you contacted those parts of the body with an intent to arouse or gratify, that is covered.
QUESTION: What did you understand...
CLINTON: The person being deposed. If the person being deposed contacted those parts of another person's body with an intent to arouse or gratify, that was covered.
QUESTION: What did you understand the word "causes" in the first phrase to mean? For the purposes of this deposition, the person engages in sexual relations when the person knowingly causes contact?
CLINTON: I don't know what that means. It doesn't make any sense to me in this context, because I think what I thought there was since this was some sort of, as I remember they said in the previous discussion -- and I'm only remembering now, so if I make a mistake, you can correct me is I remember from the previous discussion they said this was some kind of definition that had something to do with sexual harassment. So, that implies as forcing to me. And there was never any issue of forcing in the case involving well, any of these questions they were asking me. They made it clear in this discussion I just reviewed that what they were referring to was intentional sexual conduct, not some sort of forceable abusive behavior.
CLINTON: So I basically -- I don't think I paid any attention to it because it appeared to me that that was something that had no reference to the facts that they admitted they were asking me about.
QUESTION: So if I can be clear, Mr. President, is it -- was it your understanding back in January that definition, now marked as Grand Jury Exhibit 2, only included consensual sexual activity?
CLINTON: My understanding -- let me go back and say, my understanding -- I'll tell you what it did include. My understanding was, when I was giving it to you, was that what was covered in those first two lines was any direct contact by the person being deposed with those parts of another person's body if the contact was done with an intent to arouse or gratify. That's what I believed it meant. That's what I believed it meant then (AUDIO GAP); that's what I believe it means today.
QUESTION: I'm just trying to understand, Mr. President. You indicated that you put the definition in the context of a sexual harassment case...
CLINTON: No, no, I think it was not in the context of sexual harassment. I just re-read those four pages, which obviously the grand jury doesn't have. But there was some reference to the fact that this definition apparently bore some -- had some connection to some definition in another context and that this was being used not in that context, not necessarily in the context of sexual harassment. So I would think that this causes would be -- means to force someone to do something. That's what I read it. That's the only point I'm trying to make. Therefore, I did not believe that any one had ever suggested that I had forced anyone to do anything and I did not do that. And so, that could not have had any bearing on any questions relating to Ms. Lewinsky.
QUESTION: I suppose since you have now read portions of the transcripts and that you were reminded that you did not ask for any clarification of the terms, is that correct? Of the definition?
CLINTON: No, sir, I thought it was a rather -- when I read it, I thought it was a rather strange definition. But it was the one the judge decided on, and I was bound by it, so I took it.
QUESTION: During the deposition, you remember that Ms. Lewinsky's name came up and you were asked several questions about her. Do you remember that?
CLINTON: Yes, sir. I do.
QUESTION: During those -- before those questions actually got started, your attorney, Mr. Bennett, objected to any questions about Ms. Lewinsky. And he represented to Judge Wright, who was presiding that was unusual, wasn't it? -- that a federal judge would come and actually -- in your experience, that a federal judge would come and preside at a deposition?
KENDALL: Excuse me. Could you identify the transcript page from which Mr. Bennett objected to all testimony about Ms. Lewinsky before it got started?
QUESTION: The objection -- the quote that I'm referring to is going to begin at page 54 of the deposition.
QUESTION: Mr. President, is it unusual for a federal judge to preside over a civil deposition?
CLINTON: I think it is, but this was an unusual case. I believe I know why she did it.
QUESTION: Your attorney, Mr. Bennett, objected to the questions about Ms. Lewinsky, didn't he?
CLINTON: What page is that on, sir?
QUESTION: Page 54. He questions whether the attorneys for Ms. Jones had a good-faith basis to ask some of the questions that they were posing to you. His objections actually begin on page 53. Since the president points out to the grand jurors, correctly, do not have a copy of the deposition, I will read the portion that I'm referring to. And this begins at line 1 of page 54. I question the good faith of counsel, the innuendo of the question. Counsel is fully aware that Ms. Lewinsky has filed -- has an affidavit, which they are in possession of, saying that there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form with President Clinton."
CLINTON: Where is that?
QUESTION: That is on page 54, beginning at line 1. About midway through line 1.
CLINTON: Well, actually, in the present tense, that's an accurate statement. That was an actual -- that was an accurate statement. If -- I don't -- I think what Mr. Bennett was concerned about, if I -- maybe it would be helpful to you and to the grand jurors, quite apart from these comments, if I could tell you what his state of mind was and what my state of mind was and why I think he read (ph) it (ph) to him in the first place. If you don't want me to do it, I won't. But I think it will help to explain a lot of this.
QUESTION: Well, we are interested -- I know from the questions that we received from the grand jurors they are interested in knowing what was going on in your mind when you were reading Grand Jury Exhibit 2 and what you understood that definition to include. Our question goes to whether -- and you were familiar with (ph) what Mr. Bennett was referring to, obviously, as Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit. And we will have that marked, Mr. President, as Grand Jury Exhibit WJC 4. Do you remember what Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit said, that she had had no sexual relationship with you? Do you remember that?
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21 september 1998