On This Day

bill Clinton, clinton Lewinsky, clinton admission
Greg Gibson/AP
President Clinton before his admission
about his relationship with former intern
Monica Lewinsky, Aug. 17, 1998.

On This Day: President Clinton Admits to Affair With Monica Lewinsky

August 17, 2011 05:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Aug. 17, 1998, Bill Clinton testified before a grand jury that he had had an “inappropriate” relationship with former intern Monica Lewinsky. That night, he apologized to the American people in a nationally televised address.

Clinton Comes Clean to Grand Jury, American Public

In 1994, President Bill Clinton was presented with a lawsuit from Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who accused Clinton of propositioning her for sex in 1991, while he was governor of Arkansas. Jones’ lawyers accused Clinton of having a history of sexual impropriety with other women, including former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

On Jan. 17, 1998, Clinton filed a deposition denying that he had had “sexual relations” with Lewinsky. Late that night, the Drudge Report Web site broke the news that Clinton had allegedly had sex with an intern. The Washington Post picked up the story four days later.

On Jan. 26, Clinton held a press conference to address the allegations; waving his index finger, he declared, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

Six months later, however, Lewinsky admitted to the affair. With evidence mounting against him, Clinton was forced to admit to a grand jury that he indeed had an “inappropriate” relationship with Lewinsky.

He claimed that he had not perjured himself in the deposition, however, questioning the meaning of the term “sexual relations” and the word “is.” He went on national television that night to apologize for his actions.

Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible,” he said. “But I told the grand jury today and I say to you now that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to hide or destroy evidence or to take any other unlawful action.”

The Clinton Impeachment

On Sept. 9, independent counsel Kenneth Starr submitted 36 boxes of evidence to Congress, and presented 11 grounds for impeachment. The Starr report was published on the Internet two days later, revealing to the public all the lurid details of Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky.

The House Judiciary Committee recommended that Clinton be impeached on two charges of perjury, one charge of obstruction of justice and one charge of abuse of power. On Dec. 19, 1998, the House of Representatives voted largely across party lines to impeach Clinton on one charge of perjury and one charge of obstruction of justice.

Three weeks later, the Senate began just the second presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The trial lasted just over a month and ended with Clinton being acquitted on both charges.

Reference: Clinton Scandal Archives

The Washington Post has an archive of its new stories from the Clinton impeachment, plus a Q&A on the trial, bios of important figures, and audio and video links.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law site contains a detailed account of how the impeachment came about, asks pertinent questions and provides pertinent answers about the legal status of the charges against Clinton. The site also includes a series of handwritten and typed notes from Lewinsky to “Handsome” and “Mr. P,” as well as a number of photographs of the two together.

The BBC looks back on the Lewinsky scandal and Clinton’s impeachment with an archive of news articles, profiles on prominent figures and a detailed look of the trial. It also features transcripts and videos of important documents and testimony.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines