|REP. ASA HUTCHINSON|
Rep. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican from Arkansas, lays out the case for article two. The article alleges the president obstructed justice in his handling of the Lewinsky matter.
Mr. Chief Justice. Senators. Mr. Ruff and Mr. Craig. I am Asa Hutchinson, a Member of Congress from the Third District of Arkansas.
This is certainly a humbling experience for a small town lawyer. I learned to love and respect the law trying cases in the courtrooms of rural Arkansas and the scene is different in this historic chamber with the Chief Justice presiding, but what is at stake remains the same. In every case heard in every courtroom in this great country: it is truth, justice and the law that are at stake. In this journey on earth there is nothing of greater consequence for us to devote our energies to than to search for the truth, to pursue equal justice and to uphold the law.
It is for those reasons that I serve as a manager. This afternoon I will be discussing the evidence, the testimony from witnesses that we hope to call and hope my presentation will be helpful in your search for the truth. During my presentation I'll be focusing on the evidence that demonstrates obstruction of justice under Article II.
What is obstruction of justice? It is simply any corrupt act or attempt to influence or obstruct the proper functioning of our system of justice. It is a criminal offense - a felony and it has historically been an impeachable offense. Now, let me first say, it is not a crime nor an impeachable offense to engage in inappropriate personal conduct; nor is it a crime to obstruct or conceal an embarrassing relationship. It might be offensive, but there are no Constitutional consequences. But as we go through the facts of this case, the evidence will show that a scheme was developed to obstruct the administration of justice, and that is illegal. Obstruction of justice is a serious threat to the integrity of our nation when committed by the Chief Executive of our land - the President of the United States.
The obstruction started on December 5, 1997, when the witness list from the Paula Jones case was faxed to the President's lawyers. At that point the wheels of obstruction started rolling and they did not stop until the President successfully blocked the truth from coming out in a civil rights case. These acts of obstruction included attempts to improperly influence a witness in the civil rights case; the procurement and filing of a false affidavit in the civil rights case; unlawful attempts to influence the testimony of a key witness, Betty Currie; the willful concealment of evidence under subpoena in the civil rights case; and illegally influencing the testimony of witnesses before a federal grand jury of the United States. Each of these areas of obstruction will be covered in my presentation today.
As I said, it began on Friday, December 5 when the witness list came from the Paula Jones case. Shortly thereafter the President learned that the list included Monica Lewinsky. This had to be startling news to the President because if the truth about his relationship with a subordinate employee were known, the civil rights case against him would have been strengthened. It might have totally changed the outcome. But to compound the problem - less than a week later - Judge Wright, on December 11, 1997, ordered that Paula Jones in her civil rights case, was entitled to information regarding any state or federal employee with whom the President had sexual relations or proposed or sought to have sexual relations.
Now, the White House knew Lewinsky was on the witness list. The President knew that it was likely she would be subpoenaed as a witness and that her truthful testimony would hurt his case. What did the President do? - He made sure she was on the team and under control. Then on December 17, 1997, the President finally called Ms. Lewinsky to let her know she was on the list. This was a call between 2:00 and 2:30 A.M. in the morning.
What happened in the time between the President learning Monica Lewinsky was on the witness list and when he notified her of that fact is important. The President talked to his friend, confidant and problem-solver, Vernon Jordan. Mr. Jordan had come to the President's rescue on previous occasions. He was instrumental in securing consulting contracts for Webb Hubbell while Mr. Hubbell was under investigation by the Office of Independent Counsel.
Let me parenthetically go to that time right before Mr. Hubbell announced his resignation. There was a meeting in the White House in which the President, First Lady and others were present and Mr. Hubbell's resignation was discussed. After that meeting Vernon Jordan agreed to help in obtaining financial assistance for Mr. Hubbell. Mr. Jordan then introduced Mr. Hubbell to the right people. The introduction was successful and Mr. Hubbell obtained a $100,000 contract. The right people that Mr. Jordan contacted happened to be the same for both Mr. Hubbell and, ultimately, Monica Lewinsky - MacAndrews & Forbes, the parent company of Revlon.
The President was keenly aware that Mr. Jordan had the contacts and track record to be of assistance in delicate matters.
Now back to Monica Lewinsky. She had been looking for a good paying and high profile job in New York since the previous July. She had been offered a job in the U.N. - but she wanted to be in the private sector. She wasn't having much success and then in early November, Betty Currie arranged a meeting with Vernon Jordan, who was supposed to help.
On November 5, Lewinsky met for 20 minutes with Mr. Jordan. Now let's refer to Mr. Jordan's grand jury testimony on this meeting.
Exhibit 2 - Jordan's Pre-Witness List - Job Search Efforts
What happened as a result of this meeting? No action followed -- no job interviews were arranged and there were no further contacts with Mr. Jordan for over a month. Mr. Jordan made no effort to find a job for Ms. Lewinsky. Indeed, it was so unimportant to him that he "had no recollection of an early November meeting" and that finding a job for Ms. Lewinsky was not a priority. (Jordan GJT May 5, 1998, Page 76)
In fact, the President's attitude was the same.
But then, the President's attitude suddenly changed. What started out as a favor for Betty Currie dramatically changed after Ms. Lewinsky became a witness and the Judge's Order was issued. Then the President talked personally to Mr. Jordan and requested his help in getting Lewinsky a job.
Now, if we had Mr. Jordan on the witness stand, you could probe where his loyalties lie, listen to the tone of his voice, look into his eyes and determine the truthfulness of his statements. You could decide whether he is telling the truth or withholding information.
Exhibit 3 - Jordan GJT March 3, 1998, Page 64
"I am certain after the 11th that I had a conversation with the President and as a part of that conversation I said to him that Betty Currie had called me about Monica Lewinsky. And the conversation was that he knew about her situation which was that she was pushed out of the White House, that she wanted to go to New York and he thanked me for helping her." (VJ GJT March 3, 1998, Page 64)
"He [the President] said that he was aware that people were trying to get jobs for her, that Podesta was trying to help her, that Bill Richardson was trying to help her, but that she wanted to really work in the private sector. He was aware of that." (VJ GJT March 3, 1998, Page 65)
Remember what else happened on the 11th? Judge Wright ruled that the questions on other relationships could be asked by the Jones attorneys in the civil rights case.
Exhibit 4 - The President's Involvement
With Lewinsky's Job Search
At this point we do not know all that the President was telling Vernon Jordan but we do know that there were numerous calls back and forth between Mr. Jordan and the President. There were numerous calls being made by Mr. Jordan on behalf of Monica Lewinsky. And despite the fact that Monica Lewinsky did not know that she was a witness, the President knew that she was a witness during his intensified efforts to get her a job.
For example, when the President was waiting on Ms. Lewinsky to sign the false affidavit in the Jones case during the critical time in January - a problem developed. The job interviews were unproductive despite the numerous calls by Mr. Jordan. On one particular day, Lewinsky called Mr. Jordan and said the interview with Revlon did not go well. Mr. Jordan quickly picked up the phone to call the President of the company, Mr. Perlman to "make things happen - if they could happen." (Jordan GJT May 5, 1998, Page 231) He did; Lewinsky got the job, the affidavit was signed and the President was informed by Mr. Jordan (through Betty Currie): "Mission accomplished." (Jordan GJT May 28, 1998, Page 39)
The question here is not why did the President do a favor for an ex-intern, but why did he use the influence of his office to make sure it happened.
The answer is that he was willing to obstruct and impede justice by improperly influencing a witness in order to protect himself in a civil rights case.
The next step in the obstruction is the false affidavit and this is directly related to the job mission. The President needed the signature of Ms. Lewinsky on the false affidavit, and that was assured by the efforts to secure her a job.
The President brought Monica Lewinsky into the loop on December 17 - almost two weeks after the witness list was received by the President. Now, the President was ready to tell Lewinsky the news.
Between 2:00 and 2:30 A.M., Monica Lewinsky's phone rang. It was the President of the United States. The President said that he had seen the witness list for the Paula Jones case and her name was on it. Ms. Lewinsky asked what she should do if subpoenaed. The President responded: "Well, maybe you can sign an affidavit." (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Page 123) Both parties knew that the affidavit would need to be false and misleading to accomplish the desired result. Clearly, truthful testimony by Monica Lewinsky would make her a witness - only a false affidavit would avoid the deposition.
Exhibit 4.1 - Job Search and Witness List
Then, the President had a very pointed suggestion for Monica Lewinsky, a suggestion that left no doubt about its purpose and its intended consequences. He did not say specifically, "go in and lie." What he did say is, "You know, you can always say you were coming to see Betty or that you were bringing me letters." (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Page 123)
Now we need to remember that at this point the President knows she is a witness and as evidenced by her testimony she is being encouraged to lie.
It should also be remembered that the President has denied these allegations and therefore there is certainly a conflict in the testimony. It is our belief that Ms. Lewinsky's testimony is credible. She has every motivation to tell the truth. Her own immunity hangs in the balance. By contrast, the President has the motive to cover up and to testify falsely.
In order to understand the significance of this statement made by the President, it is necessary to recall the cover stories that the President and Ms. Lewinsky had previously concocted. Manager Bryant has referred to these cover stories and the President is telling Monica Lewinsky to continue the pattern of lying. The difference is that the initial cover stories were to protect the President and Lewinsky from an embarrassing personal relationship. Now they are used in a different arena: the pending civil rights case, which features Ms. Lewinsky on the witness list. Despite his legal and constitutional responsibilities, the President made the decision to continue the pattern of lying. The action that followed is the obstruction to the administration of justice.
So, when the President called Lewinsky at 2:00 A.M. on December 17 to tell her she was on the witness list, he made sure to remind her of those prior "cover stories." Ms. Lewinsky testified that when the President brought up the misleading story, she understood that the two would continue their pre-existing pattern of deception. (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Page 166)
It became clear that the President had no intention of making his relationship with a federal employee supporting evidence in a civil rights case. And he would use lies, deceit and deception to ensure that the truth would not be known. The means to obstruct justice in the Jones case would be the false affidavit and false testimony.
It is interesting to note that when the President was asked by the Grand Jury whether he remembered calling Monica Lewinsky at 2:00 A.M., he responded:
"No sir, I don't. But it would - it is quite possible that that happened . . . " (WJC GJT August 17, 1998, Page 116)
And when he was asked whether he encouraged Monica Lewinsky to continue the cover stories of "coming to see Betty" or "bringing the letters," he answered:
"I don't remember exactly what I told her that night." (WJC GJT August 17, 1998, Page 116)
This is not a denial and therefore you must accept the testimony of Monica Lewinsky. If you say in your mind, Well, I'm not going to believe her, then you should, first, give us the opportunity to present this witness so that you as jurors can fairly and honestly determine her credibility.
As expected, on December 19, 1997, Ms. Lewinsky received the subpoena to testify in the Jones case. This sets about an immediate flurry of activity. There is a series of telephone calls between Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan and the President and his staff. You will see that this pattern of calls is generated at any point in time when it appears the truth may be told in the civil rights case.
See Exhibit 5 - Friday, December 19
Lewinsky Served with Subpoena in Jones vs. Clinton
After Mr. Jordan is notified of the subpoena, he almost immediately calls the President and talks to Deborah Schiff, the President's assistant. Mr. Jordan then meets with Ms. Lewinsky at 4:47 P.M. Less than 15 minutes later the President calls Mr. Jordan and Jordan personally tells the President about the Lewinsky subpoena.
Mr. Jordan arranges an attorney for Ms. Lewinsky then late that evening has a personal meeting with the President to discuss these issues.
In that meeting, Mr. Jordan told the President again that Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed, and related to the President the substance and details of his meeting with Ms. Lewinsky, including her fascination with the President and other such issues. This led Mr. Jordan to ask the President about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and the President's response was the first of many denials to his friends and aides. (Jordan GJT March 3, 1998, Page 170)
The President stated in his deposition that he does not recall that meeting. But you should remind yourselves of the testimony of Vernon Jordan that, "the President has an extraordinary memory." (Jordan GJT March 3, 1998, Page 84)
Now, the subpoena had been delivered but the testimony of Monica Lewinsky was not scheduled until January 23, 1998, so the President and his team had some time to work. The work was not the business of the nation but it was the distraction of obstructing a civil rights case.
Under the plan, Mr. Jordan would be the buffer; he would obtain an attorney, and that attorney would keep Mr. Jordan informed on the progress of the representation, including the contents of the affidavit, the status of the motion to quash and the general progress of the representation. All along the way Mr. Jordan keeps the President informed both about the affidavit and the prospects of the job in New York - for which Ms. Lewinsky was totally dependent on the help of her friends in high places.
Exhibit 6 - Lewinsky Affidavit Gets Filed 1/14/98 - 1/17/98
Now, there is nothing wrong with helping someone get a job, but we all know there is one thing that is forbidden in public office - the quid pro quo. This is for that. But Vernon Jordan testified that he kept the President informed on the status of the false affidavit, the job search, and the status of Ms. Lewinsky's representation. Why? Is this just idle chatter with the President of the United States or are these matters the President is vitally interested in and, in fact, coordinating? Mr. Jordan answers this question himself in his Grand Jury testimony: I "knew the President was concerned about the affidavit and whether or not it was signed. He was obviously." (Jordan GJT March 5, 1998, Page 25)
The President knew that Monica Lewinsky was going to execute a false affidavit. He was so certain of the content that when Lewinsky asked if he wanted to see it, he told her no, that he had seen fifteen of them. (Lewinsky 302 August 2, 1998, Page 3) The President would have received his information in part from his attorneys, but also from discussions with Ms. Lewinsky and Mr. Jordan. Besides, the President had suggested the affidavit himself, and he trusted Mr. Jordan to keep things under control. In fact, that was one of the main purposes of Jordan's continued communication with Monica Lewinsky's attorney, Frank Carter. Even though Mr. Jordan testifies at one point that he never had any substantive discussions on the representation with Mr. Carter, he contradicts himself in his March 3, 1998, Grand Jury testimony where he states: "Mr. Carter at some point told me, this is after January, that she had signed the affidavit, that he had filed a motion to quash her subpoena and that - I mean there was no reason for accountability, but he reassured me that he had things under control." (VJ GJT March 5, 1998, Page 188)
This was clearly important to Mr. Jordan, and it was clearly important to the President.
Now, let's go to the time when the false affidavit was actually signed.
Exhibits 7-11 - "Mission Accomplished" (January 5 -11, 1998)
Exhibit 7 - January 5:
Lewinsky Signs Affidavit and Gets Job. Lewinsky meets with lawyer to discuss affidavit. Lewinsky calls Betty Currie - wants to discuss this with President
Exhibit 8 - January 6
Lewinsky picks up a draft of affidavit. Lewinsky meets with Jordan. Discusses with Jordan the contents and deleted a paragraph.
Exhibit 9 - January 7
Lewinsky signs the affidavit. Lewinsky takes a signed copy to Jordan so Jordan can report to the President
Exhibit 10 - January 8
Job interview with MacAndrews goes poorly. Lewinsky advises Jordan. Jordan intercedes with Ron Perelman. More interviews. Job secured.
Exhibit 11 - January 9
Position offered to Lewinsky. Lewinsky informs Jordan. Jordan informs Currie: "Mission Accomplished". So on January 9, Lewinsky receives her reward for signing the false affidavit.
Now, let me ask you. Would Mr. Jordan have pushed for a second interview without cooperation on the affidavit? Would Monica Lewinsky been hired if she had said, I'm just going to go in there and tell the truth? Regardless of the claims to the contrary, it is very clear that the affidavit and the job were connected and that the job was used as a means to secure the false affidavit. When Ms. Lewinsky called Mr. Jordan to tell him the good news, he passed it on to Betty Currie: Tell the President, "Mission Accomplished." (Jordan GJT May 28, 1998, Page 39)
But Mr. Jordan always believes in the personal touch - he also called the President and told him personally. (Jordan, GJT May 28, 1998, Page 41).
THE FILING OF THE FALSE AFFIDAVIT
Just how important was Monica Lewinsky's false affidavit to the President's deposition? It enabled Robert Bennett, the attorney for Mr. Clinton, to assert at his January 17, 1998, deposition " . . . there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form with President Clinton. . . ." (Robert Bennett and WJC, January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 54)
When questioned by his own attorney in the deposition, the President stated specifically that paragraph 8 of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit was "absolutely true." (WJC, January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 204)
Paragraph 8 of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit states: "I have never had a sexual relationship with the President, he did not propose that we have a sexual relationship, he did not offer me employment or other benefits in exchange for a sexual relationship, he did not deny me employment or other benefits for rejecting a sexual relationship."
Now, if it enters your mind as to what was meant by sexual relationship - please remember this affidavit was drafted based upon a common understanding of that phrase and not based upon the definition used in the deposition of the President in the civil rights case.
I'm sure it was the President's hope and belief that the false affidavit used in the deposition to bolster his own false testimony would be the end of the matter. But that was not the case. We know in life one lie leads to another; and so it is when attempts are made to thwart the administration of justice - one obstruction leads to another.
By the time the President concluded his deposition, he knew there were too many details out about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. He knew that the only person who could be talking was Ms. Lewinsky herself. The cover story that he and Ms. Lewinsky created, and that was converted into false statements under oath in the deposition, was now in jeopardy if it was not backed by the key witnesses, Monica Lewinsky and Betty Currie. The President needed to do two things: He had to contact Ms. Lewinsky to see if she was still on the team, but he also had to make sure his secretary, Ms. Currie, would lie to protect him. And so, let's look at how the concern became a frenzied effort to keep the holes in the dyke plugged.
Exhibits 12 & 13 - Post Deposition Calls And Meetings
January 17 - Saturday - Night of Deposition
President calls Ms. Currie - come in on Sunday (Currie recalls never getting a call from the President that late on a Saturday night. (BC GJT January 27, 1998, Pages 68-69)
January 18 - Sunday morning - President Learns of Drudge Report
Between 11:49 a.m. and 2:55 p.m. three phone calls are made between Jordan and the President. At 5:00 p.m. Currie meets with the President. The President tells Currie to find Lewinsky. Additional telephone calls and no success. At 11:02 p.m. the President calls Currie at home.
Next, we need to hear from Betty Currie, the president's personal secretary as to what occurred during that most unusual meeting on the Sunday following the deposition.
Betty Currie testified in the Grand Jury that the President said he had just been deposed and that the attorneys asked several questions about Monica Lewinsky. (BC GJT January 27, 1998, Pages 69-70) This, was a violation of Judge Wright's gag order prohibiting any discussions about the deposition testimony. The President then made a series of statements to Ms. Currie:
EXHIBIT 14 - The President's Post-Deposition Statements to Currie
(1) I was never really alone with Monica, right?
(2)You were always there when Monica was there, right?
(3)Monica came on to me, and I never touched her, right?
(4)You could see and hear everything, right?
(5)She wanted to have sex with me, and I cannot do that. (BC GJT January 27, 1998, Pages 70-75; July 22, 1998, Pages 6-7)
During Betty Currie's grand jury testimony, she was asked whether she believed that the President wished her to agree with the statement:
Q. Would it be fair to say, then - based on the way he stated [these five points] and the demeanor that he was using at the time that he stated it to you - that he wished you to agree with that statement?
A.I can't speak for him, but -
Q. How did you take it? Because you told us at these [previous] meetings in the last several days that is how you took it.
Q. And you're nodding your head, "yes," is that correct?
Q. Okay, with regard to the statement that the President made to you, "You remember I was never really alone with Monica, right?" Was that also a statement that, as far as you took, that he wished you to agree with that?
A.Correct. (BC GJT January 27, 1998, Page 74)
When the President testified in the August 17, 1998, Grand Jury, he was questioned about his intentions when he made those five statements to Ms. Currie in his office on that Sunday afternoon. The President stated: ". . . I thought we were going to be deluged by the press comments. And I was trying to refresh my memory about what the facts were. (WJC GJT August 17, 1998, Page 131).
And what I wanted to establish was that Betty was there at all other times in the complex, and I wanted to know what Betty's memory was about what she heard, what she could hear. And what I did not know was - I did not know that. And I was trying to figure out . . . in a hurry because I knew something was up. (WJC GJT August 17, 1998, Page 54)
So, I was not trying to get Betty Currie to say something that was untruthful. I was trying to get as much information as quickly as I could." (WJC GJT August 17, 1998, Page 56)
Logic tells us that the President's argument that he was just trying to refresh his memory is simply a legal contortion.
First consider the President's options after he left his deposition:
(1)He could abide by Judge Wright's order to remain silent and not divulge any details of his deposition;
(2)He could simply call Betty on the phone and ask her open-ended questions (i.e., "What do you remember about . . . ?"); or
(3)He could disobey Judge Wright's order, violate the law and tamper with the anticipated testimony of Betty Currie.
The President chose this latter course of obstruction. And he made sure that this was a face-to-face meeting, not a telephone call. He made sure that no one else was present when he spoke to her. He made sure that he had the meeting in his office, an area where he was comfortable and could utilize its power and prestige to have the greatest influence on her future testimony.
After Ms. Currie was in the President's office, he made short, clear, understandable, declarative statements telling Ms. Currie what his story was. He was not interested in what she knew. Why? Because he knew the truth; but he did not want Ms. Currie to tell the truth. The only way to ensure that was by telling her what to say, not asking her what she remembered. You do not refresh your memory by telling that person what he or she remembers. And you certainly do not make declarative statements to someone regarding factual scenarios of which the listener was unaware.
Betty Currie could not possibly have had any personal knowledge of the facts about which the President was asking. How could she know if they were ever alone? If they were, Ms. Currie wasn't there. So too, how would she know that the President never touched Monica? No, this wasn't any attempt by the President to refresh his recollection, it was witness tampering pure and simple.
Understanding the seriousness of the President attempting to influence the testimony of Ms. Currie, his attorneys have argued that those statements to her could not constitute obstruction because she had not been subpoenaed, and the President did not know that she was a potential witness at the time. This argument is refuted by both the law and the facts.
First, the law is clear that a person may be convicted of obstructing justice if he corruptly influences a prospective witness. The witness does not need to actually give testimony or be under subpoena or be on a witness list. (United States v Shannon, 836 F.2d 1125, 1128 [8th Cir. 1988])
Second, let's examine this defense in light of the facts. The President himself brought Ms. Currie into the civil rights case as a corroborating witness and just as significantly the President knew there would be a potential perjury case looming in the future in light of his false testimony in the civil rights case. In fact, during his deposition the President dared the plaintiff's lawyers to question Ms. Currie.
When asked whether he was alone with Ms. Lewinsky, the President said that he was not alone with her or that Betty Currie was there with Lewinsky. (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 58)
When asked about the last time he saw Ms. Lewinsky, which was December 28, 1997, he falsely testified that he only recalled that she was there to see Betty. (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 70)
He also told the Jones lawyers to "ask Betty" whether Lewinsky was alone with him or with Betty in the White House between the hours of midnight and 6:00 A.M. (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Pages 64-66)
Asked whether Ms. Lewinsky sent packages to him, he stated that Betty handled packages for him. (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 65)
Asked whether he may have assisted in any way with Ms. Lewinsky's job search, he stated that he thought Betty suggested Vernon Jordan talk to Ms. Lewinsky. (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Pages 72-73)
He said that Lewinsky asked Betty to ask someone to talk to Ambassador Richardson about a job at the U.N. (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 74)
There is no question but that Ms. Currie was a prospective witness, and the President clearly wanted her to be deposed as a witness, as his "ask Betty" testimony demonstrates.
But there is another fact that has been, thus far, overlooked. Two days before the President's deposition, Betty Currie receives a call from Michael Isikoff, a reporter with Newsweek Magazine, inquiring about the courier records of gifts going from Lewinsky to the President. What does Betty Currie do? She testified that she probably told the President this. She told Bruce Lindsey. And then she went to see Vernon Jordan. Why? Because it's all breaking loose - the house of cards is falling down - and she is either going to report to Mr. Jordan or to seek advice from him - either way she knows it's serious and it all has legal consequences. Vernon Jordan's testimony confirms this visit. (VJ GJT March 5, 1998, Page 71)
The President claims that he called Ms. Currie into work on a Sunday night only to find out what she knew. But the President knew the truth about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, and if he had told the truth during his deposition the day before, then he would have no reason to worry about what Ms. Currie knew. More importantly, the President's demeanor, Ms. Currie's reaction to his demeanor, and the suggested lies clearly prove that the President was not merely interviewing Ms. Currie. Rather, he was looking for corroboration for his false cover-up, and that is why he coached her.
But it didn't end there: the same coaching and the same sequence of statements took place again two or three days later. Let's listen to Betty Currie.
Exhibit 15 - Betty Currie Testimony, January 27, 1998
Q. "Did there come a time after that that you had another conversation with the President about some other news about what was going on? That would have been Tuesday or Wednesday - when he called you into the Oval Office?
A. It was Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't remember which one this was either. But the best I remember, when he called me in the Oval Office, it was sort of a recapulation(sic) of what we had talked about on Sunday - you know, "I was never alone with her" - that sort of the thing.
Q. Did he pretty much list the same -
A. To my recollection, sir, yes.
Q.And did he say it in sort of the same tone and demeanor that he used the first time he told you on Sunday?
A. The best I remember, sir, yes." (BC GJT January 27, 1998, Pages 79-80)
Not once but twice did he take Betty Currie through the paces of what he needed from her. This is more than witness tampering. It is an employer's compulsion of false testimony by a subordinate employee.
This has nothing to do with the facts, nothing to do with media inquiries. It has everything to do with keeping his team on board, keeping the ship from sinking and hiding important facts. At this point, we are not taking about hiding personal facts from inquiring minds but about an effort to impede the legitimate and necessary functioning of our legal system.
MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY
Almost exactly a year ago, on Monday, January 19 - Martin Luther King Day - the frantic search for Monica Lewinsky continued.
Exhibit 16 - January 19, 1998
Between 7:00 a.m. and 8:41 a.m. Betty Currie paged Lewinsky five times, using the code name "K". At 8:41 a.m. Currie informs the President she has been unable to reach Lewinsky (BC GJT July 22, 1998, Pages 161-162) At 8:44 a.m. Currie tries "Family Emergency" At 8:50 a.m. she tries again. At 8:51 a.m. the message is "Good News." At 8:56 a.m. the President telephoned Vernon Jordan who the joined in the activity.
Over the course of 24 minutes, from 10:29 - 10:53 a.m. Mr. Jordan called the White House three times, paged Ms. Lewinsky and called Frank Carter.
The calls continue all day between Mr. Jordan, Lewinsky's attorney and individuals at the White House. Later that day things continue to destabilize for the President. At 4:54 p.m. Mr. Jordan learns from the attorney, Frank Carter, that Carter no longer represents Ms. Lewinsky. (VJ GJT March 5, 1998, Page 141)
Mr. Jordan continues attempts to reach the President or someone at the White House Jordan makes six calls between 4:58 and 5:22 p.m.
When Mr. Jordan was asked why he was urgently trying to get a hold of the White House, he responded, because "the President asked me to get Monica Lewinsky a job" and he thought it was "information that they ought to have." (VJ GJT June 9, 1998, Pages 45-46)
Jordan finally reaches the President about 6:00 p.m. and tells him that Carter has been fired. (VJ GJT June 9, 1998, Page 54)
Why this flurry of activity? It shows how important it was for the President of the United States to find Monica Lewinsky. He had to find out to whom who she was talking.
Betty Currie was in charge of contacting Lewinsky. The President had just completed a deposition in which he provided false and misleading testimony about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. Ms. Lewinsky was a co-conspirator in hiding this relationship from the federal court, and he was losing control over her. In fact, she ultimately agreed to testify truthfully under penalty of perjury in this matter. This spelled trouble for the President.
To continue exploring the web of obstruction we have to backtrack for a few moments.
On December 28, another brick in the wall of obstruction was laid. It was the concealment of evidence. Ms. Lewinsky testified that she discussed with the President the fact that she had been subpoenaed and that the subpoena called for her to produce gifts the President had given her. She recalled telling the President that the subpoena requested a hat pin, and that caused her concern. (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Pages 151-152) The President told her that it "bothered" him, too. (ML GJT August 20, 1998, Page 66)
Exhibit 17 - The President's Statement About Concealing Gifts
Ms. Lewinsky then suggested that she take the gifts somewhere, or give them to someone, maybe to Betty Currie. The President answered: "I don't know" or "Let me think about that." (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Pages 152-153) Not exactly the response you would hope for or expect from the President. But the answer led to action.
Later that day, Ms. Lewinsky got a call from Ms. Currie, who said: "I understand you have something to give me" or "the President said you have something to give me." (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Pages 154-155)
Now there is a conflict with the testimony of Betty Currie. Ms. Currie has a suddenly fuzzy memory about this incident, but says that "the best she can remember," Ms. Lewinsky called her. (BC GJT May 6, 1998, Page 105) Betty Currie also testified that Lewinsky's memory on this issue may be better than hers. (BC GJT May 6, 1998, Page 126) Here is some helpful evidence that clears up this apparent inconsistency: Lewinsky said that she thought Betty called her from her cell phone. (ML 302 July 27, 1998, Page 8)
Subsequent to Lewinsky's grand jury testimony, the cell phone records were retrieved and they confirm that such a call was made. According to Betty Currie's cell phone record, a call was made on December 28 at 3:32 p.m. from Arlington, Virginia to Washington, D.C. at number 202-965-6355. This is Monica Lewinsky's telephone number, and this record corroborates Lewinsky's recollection and confirms that Ms. Currie called from her cell phone later that day.
Now, the President will argue that Lewinsky's time line does not fit with the time of the cell phone call. The cell phone record was retrieved subsequent to both the testimony of Monica Lewinsky and Betty Currie before the grand jury and, therefore, the record was not available to refresh their recollection. Monica Lewinsky's time estimate as to when Betty Currie arrived to pick up the gifts was based upon her memory some seven months after the fact, without the benefit of records.
The questions raised by the President on this issue demonstrate the need to call the key witnesses to a trial of this case and to assess which version of the events is believable and substantiated by corroborating evidence. This is certainly an area of testimony where the juror needs to hear both from Betty Currie and Monica Lewinsky and to examine all of the circumstantial evidence and documentary evidence to determine the truth.It is my firm belief that common sense and the documentary evidence supports the testimony of Ms. Lewinsky in the conclusion that it was the President who initiated the retrieval of the gifts and the concealment of the evidence.
In federal cases across the country, judges instruct juries on circumstantial evidence. Let me read a typical line of instruction: "The law makes absolutely no distinction between the weight or value to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence." No distinction.Now let's examine the key question for a moment. Why did Betty Currie pick up the gifts from Monica Lewinsky? Monica Lewinsky states she did not request this and the retrieval was initiated by a call from Betty Currie on a cell phone. This was after Lewinsky's meeting with the President where the gifts and the subpoena for evidence were discussed. Lewinsky's version is corroborated by the cell phone record as well as the previous pattern of conduct on the part of Betty Currie.
What do I mean? As a loyal secretary to the President it is inconceivable that she would go to retrieve gifts that she knows the President is concerned about and gifts that a reporter has made inquiries about - causing enough concern for Currie to seek out Vernon Jordan to discuss the inquiries. Betty Currie, a subordinate employee, would not engage in such activity on such a sensitive matter without the direction and approval of the President himself.
In addition, let's look further at the actions of Betty Currie. After being questioned by reporter Michael Isikoff about the gifts and seeking out the assistance of Vernon Jordan, it becomes clear that Betty understands the significance of the gifts, their evidentiary value in the civil rights case and the fact that they are under subpoena. She retrieves these items of evidence and where does she place them? She hides them under her bed - an obvious place of concealment. (BC GJT January 27,1998, Pages 57-58; May 6, 1998, Pages 105-108, 114)
Now let's look at the President's defense. The President stated in his response to questions 24 and 25 from the House Judiciary Committee that he was not concerned about the gifts. In fact, he said that he recalled telling Ms. Lewinsky that if the Jones lawyers request gifts, she should turn them over. The President testified that he is "not sure" if he knew the subpoena asked for gifts. (WJC GJT August 17, 1998, Pages 42-45)
Now, why in the world would Lewinsky and the President discuss turning over gifts to the Jones lawyers if Ms. Lewinsky had not told him that the subpoena asked for gifts? On the other hand, if he knew the subpoena requested gifts, why would he give Lewinsky more gifts on December 28? This seems odd. But Ms. Lewinsky's testimony reveals the answer. She said that she never questioned "that we were ever going to do anything but keep this private" and that meant to take "whatever appropriate steps needed to be taken." (ML GJT August 6, 1998, Page 166)
If you accept the logic of the President's argument, then you must conclude that the President would not even meet with Monica Lewinsky while their relationship was in question. Certainly, he knew that if Monica Lewinsky became a witness in a case that she would be asked as to the last time she met with the President. So, the President knew that he had to keep Monica Lewinsky on the team so that she would continue to be a part of the conspiracy to obstruct the legitimate functions of the federal court in the civil rights case.
It should be remembered that the President has denied each and every allegation of the two articles of impeachment. He has denied each element of the obstruction of justice charges, including the allegation that he corruptly encouraged a scheme to conceal evidence in a civil rights case. This straight one word denial illustrates the dispute in the evidence and testimony. It sets the credibility of Monica Lewinsky and the corroborating evidence against the credibility of the President of the United States.
How can you as jurors determine who is telling the truth? I've pointed to the corroborating evidence, the circumstantial evidence, and common sense to support the testimony of Monica Lewinsky. Let me ask you two questions:
First, can you convict the President of the United States without hearing personally the testimony of the key witnesses?
Second, can you dismiss the charges under this strong set of facts and circumstances without hearing and evaluating the credibility of the key witness?
Now let me take this a step further and evaluate the credibility of the President. Let's first look back at his deposition testimony about the December 28 meeting. In that deposition he seriously misrepresented the nature of his meeting with Ms. Lewinsky.
First, he was asked: "Did she tell you she had been served with a subpoena in this case?" The President answered flatly: "No. I don't know if she had been." (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 68)
He was also asked if he "ever talked to Monica Lewinsky about the possibility of her testifying." "I'm not sure . . . ," he said. He then added that he may have joked to her that the Jones lawyers might subpoena every woman he has ever spoken to, and that "I don't think we ever had more of a conversation than that about it. . . ." (WJC January 17, 1998, Deposition, Page 70)
Not only does Monica Lewinsky directly contradict this testimony, but the President also directly contradicted himself before the grand jury. Speaking of the December 28, 1997 meeting, he said that he "knew by then, of course, that she had gotten a subpoena" and they had a "conversation about the possibility of her testifying."
I submit to you that the inconsistencies of the President's own testimony as well as common sense seriously diminish his credibility on this issue.
FALSE STATEMENTS TO AIDES
Now, let us go forward once again to the time period in which the President gave his deposition in the Paula Jones case. The President testified under oath on January 17, 1998. Immediately thereafter he brought in Betty Currie to present a set of false facts to her, seeking her agreement and coaching her unavoidable future testimony.But the President is fully convinced that he can get by with his false denials because no one would really be able to prove what did or did not happen in the confines of the Oval Office. There were no witnesses and it boils down to "a he said, she said" scenario. If the President can simply destroy Monica Lewinsky's credibility in public and before the Grand Jury, then he will escape consequences for his false statements under oath and obstruction in the civil rights case. Please remember, this is all before the DNA tests were performed on the blue dress, forcing the President to acknowledge his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.
In order to carry out this cover up and obstruction, the President needed not only to have Betty Currie repeat his false statements but also other witnesses that would assuredly be called before the federal grand jury and who would also be questioned by the news media in public forums. This brings us to the false statements that the President made to his White House staff and Presidential aides.
Let's call Sydney Blumenthal and John Podesta to the witness stand.
Exhibit 18 - The President's Denials
Exhibit 19 - The President Claims He Was Truthful With Aides
As the President testified before the grand jury, he knew that these
witnesses would ultimately be called before the grand jury. (WJC GJT
August 17, 1998, Page 106) Therefore, his false statements to them constitute
witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
Second, he makes it clear that he denies any sexual relations with
Monica Lewinsky, including oral sex. There is no quibbling about definitions
in this statement. It clearly reflects an intent to deceive, lie and
obstruct our system of justice.
Exhibit 20 - Seven Pillars of Obstruction
What did the President do that constitutes evidence of obstruction? First, he personally encouraged a witness, Monica Lewinsky, to provide false testimony from the time she first became a witness until he no longer had any control over her.
Second, the President had direct involvement in assuring a job for a witness in a federal civil rights suit at the same time he personally encouraged the filing of a false affidavit by that witness.
Third, the President personally with corrupt intentions tampered with the testimony of a prospective witness, Betty Currie.
Fourth, the President himself provided false statements under oath before the federal grand jury.
Fifth, by direct and circumstantial evidence the President directed the concealment of evidence under subpoena in a judicial proceeding.Sixth, the President personally allowed false representations to be made by his attorney, Robert Bennett, to a federal district judge on January 17, 1998.
Seventh, he intentionally provided false information to witnesses before a federal grand jury, knowing that those statements would be repeated with the intent to obstruct the proceedings of the federal grand jury.
The seven pillars of this obstruction case were personally constructed by the President of the United States. It was done with the intent that the truth and evidence would be suppressed in a civil rights case pending against him. The goal was to win, and he was not going to let the judicial system stand in his way.
At the beginning of my presentation, I tried to put this case into perspective for myself by saying this proceeding is the same as what takes place in every courtroom in America - the pursuit of truth, seeking equal justice and upholding the law. All of that is true, but we know there is even more at stake in this trial. What happens here affects the workings of our Constitution; it will affect the Presidency in future decades, and it will have an impact on a whole generation of Americans. What is at stake is our Constitution and the principal of equal justice for all.
I have faith in the Constitution of the United States, but the checks and balances of the Constitution are carried out by individuals. Individuals who are entrusted under oath with upholding the trust given to us by the people of this great land. If I believe in the Constitution that it will work then I must believe in you.
Ladies and Gentlemen - I trust the Constitution of the United States but today it is most important that I believe in you.
I have faith in the Senate of the United States. You have earned the trust of the American people and I trust each of you to make the right decisions for our country.