Monica Lewinsky details the events leading up to her first intimate encounter with Bill Clinton in the A&E docuseries The Clinton Affair.
It It happened on November 14, 1995, in the middle of the government shutdown when Lewinsky had been called in to help with the phones.
On that date there had been a surprise party for one of Clinton’s staffers, and at one point Lewinsky realized her thong was exposed while Clinton was near her in the room.
Lewinsky opted to keep her thong out as Clinton walked by, and a short while later when she walked by his office, Clinton smiled at her and motioned for her to come into the room.
She soon admitted to clinton that she had a ‘crush’ on him, and not long after the two were kissing in the dark room.
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Surprise: Monica Lewinsky shares new details about her first intimate encounter with Bill Clinton in the new docuseries The Clinton Affair (above)
Gifts: She was called to the office with the promise of presents, and Clinton gifted her a hat pin and copy of Walt Whitman’s Leave of Grass (Clinton and Lewinsky in 1997 just before their bathroom rendezvous)
‘I don’t talk about this very often and I still don’t feel comfortable talking about it. It’s one of those things where it’s not as if it didn’t register with me that he was the president. Obviously it did,’ explains Lewinsky in a preview.
‘But I think in one way the moment we were actually in the back office for the first time the truth is I think it meant more to me the someone who other people desired, desired me.’
She continues: ‘However wrong it was, however misguided, for who I was at that time, at 22 years old, it was how I felt.’
Lewinsky went back to her desk after that first kiss and was then asked to return to the study later, when the two became more intimate.
It was the start of a relationship that would find the two meeting in secret once a week for almost two years.
Lewinsky also opens up about the grief and fear she felt when she was told that she would have to cooperate with the FBI investigation of Clinton, or face time in prison.
‘In order to cooperate and avoid charges and I would have to make monitored phone calls which they would listen in to and record and I might have to wear a wire and go see people in person,’ reveals Lewinsky in a preview for the upcoming A&E docuseries The Clinton Affair.
It was too much for Lewinsky, who says that after a few hours she began to think about commiting suicide.
Twenty years later, it still causes her to break down in tears.
‘The ground completely crumbled in that moment. I felt so much guilt. And I felt terrified,’ she reveals in the interview.
An FBI agent involved in the case acknowledged this, saying that Lewinsky was ‘alternating between being hysterical, being angry, being abusive.’
Lewinsky admits that she was not cooperative at the time, believing she had t protect Clinton.
‘They imagined that I would have flipped really easily. They had no plan in place for what would happen if i said no,’ she reveals in the series.
That then gave way to thoughts of ending her own life.
‘There was a point for me somewhere within these first several hours where I would be hysterically crying and then I would just shut down,’ she recalls.
‘And in the shut down period I just remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this is to kill myself.’
Lewinsky, who up until that point had managed to hold back her tears, then bursts out sobbing.
‘I just felt terrible … and I was scared … and I was mortified,’ she says while trying to regain her composure.
This all played out at the Ritz Carlton in January 1998, with the Office of the Independent Counsel getting Linda Tripp to set up a meeting with Lewinsky.
She was then taken to a room and held by prosecutors until that night.
Lewinsky admits that the thing that made this so difficult for her was the fact that she was still in love with Clinton.
Tears: Moinca Lewinsky considered jumping out of a window at the Ritz Carlton in January 1998 when the FBI told her she would need to become an informant (above in The Clinton Affair)
Apologize: Lewinsky also penned an essay for Vanity Fair revealing that she wished Clinton felt the need to apologize for the fallout from their relationship (Clinton above in 1998 denying the affair)
Ahead of the show’s premiere, Lewinsky opened up about the affair in an essay for Vanity Fair, in which she expresses her disappointment that Bill does not think he should apologize to his former intern as well as her desire to tell Hillary she is sorry.
‘The process of this docuseries led me to new rooms of shame that I still needed to explore, and delivered me to Grief’s doorstep,’ writes Lewinsky.
She then lists off the examples of grief, ending with: ‘Grief for a relationship that had no normal closure, and instead was slowly dismantled by two decades of Bill Clinton’s behavior that eventually (eventually!) helped me understand how, at 22, I took the small, narrow sliver of the man I knew and mistook it for the whole.’
Lewinsky spoke about her disappointment with Bill over the comments he made back in June when asked if he owed Lewinsky a personal apology, and her disbelief that it took so long for someone to even ask that question.
It was Craig Melvin who put Bill on the spot during an interview on Today, and the former president responded to the question by saying: ‘No. I do not – I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry.’
In response to that Lewinsky writes: ‘So, what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed him, and more disappointed for him.’
She then adds: ‘He would be a better man for it . . . and we, in turn, a better society.’
That moment was a huge shift writes Lewinsky, and one that was a long time coming.
‘If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer,’ writes Lewinsky.
She is also quick to admit that she has some people to apologize to for her actions.
‘My first public words after the scandal—uttered in an interview with Barbara Walters on March 3, 1999—were an apology directly to Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton,’ writes Lewinsky.
‘And if I were to see Hillary in person today, I know that I would summon up whatever force I needed to again acknowledge to her—sincerely—how very sorry I am.’
Entourage: ‘So, what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed him, and more disappointed for him,’ writes Lewinsky
Lewinsky does not however address recent comments made by Hillary that dismissed her own statement that the relationship between the president and his intern was an abuse of power.
At the time the affair began between the president and his intern in November 1995, Clinton was 49 years old and Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House employee.
Clinton would initially deny having sexual relations with Lewinsky in a sworn deposition back in January of 1998, going so far as to claim that the two were never even alone together in the White House.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, Lewinsky had already revealed to Linda Tripp that the two were together nine times between that first encounter and March of 1997, and engaged in oral sex multiple times.
The affair became public one day after Clinton’s sworn testimony, at which point Tripp gave tapes of Lewinsky admitting to her relationship to Kenneth Star, who at the time was pursuing the Whitewater controversy and Clinton’s alleged sexual harassment of Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee.
Clinton continued to deny reports that he had relations with with the brunette from Beverly Hills even after the report broke, famously saying: ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky’ in a nationally televised White House news conference.’
Months later, he admitted to the affair and claimed that his definition of sexual relations differed from that of others.
This resulted in the House voting to impeach Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice back in December of 1998, with the vote then moving to the Senate.
The Senate then acquitted him of those charges when the Senate did not achieve the two-thirds vote necessary to remove Clinton from office.
A second attempt at impeachment, on an additional perjury charge and abuse of power, never made it past the House.
Tripp had worked in the Pentagon alongside Lewinsky when the former White House intern opened up to her about her affair with Bill Clinton.
She taped their conversations for months it was later revealed and then handed the recordings over to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to avoid facing wiretapping charges.
Prior to that she handed the tapes over to lawyers for Paula Jones, who was suing Clinton for sexual harassment at the time.
Jones’ lawyers then added Lewinsky to their witness list, but the judge ruled that her testimony would be immaterial to the case before tossing it out.
A few months later, Clinton settled with Jones with $850,000.