President Bill Clinton -- Jan. 21, 1998
PBS' "THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER"
SPEAKERS: JIM LEHRER, HOST, THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
LEHRER: Mr. President, welcome.
CLINTON: Thank you, Jim.
LEHRER: The news of this day is that Kenneth Starr, the
independent counsel, is investigating allegations that you
suborned perjury by encouraging a 24-year-old woman, a former
White House intern, to lie under oath in a civil deposition
about her having had an affair with you.
Mr. President, is that true?
CLINTON: That is not true. That is not true.
I did not ask anyone to tell anything other than the truth.
There is no improper relationship. And I intend to cooperate
with this inquiry. But that is not true.
LEHRER: No improper relationship. Define what you mean by
CLINTON: Well, I think you know what it means. It means
that there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual
relationship, or any other kind of improper relationship.
LEHRER: You had no sexual relationship with this young
CLINTON: There is not a sexual relationship. That is
We are doing our best to cooperate here, but we don't know
much yet. And that's all I can say now.
What I'm trying to do is to contain my natural impulses and
get back to work. I think it's important that we cooperate. I
will cooperate. But I want to focus on the work at hand.
LEHRER: Just for the record, to make sure I understand what
you're answer means, so there's no ambiguity about it...
CLINTON: There is no...
LEHRER: All right. You had no conversations with this young
woman, Monica Lewinsky, about her testimony or possible
testimony before in giving a deposition...
CLINTON: I did not urge -- I did not urge anyone to say
anything that was untrue. I did not urge anyone to say anything
that was untrue. That's my statement to you.
LEHRER: Did you talk to her?
CLINTON: And on that...
LEHRER: Excuse me. I'm sorry.
CLINTON: And beyond that, I think it's very important that
we let the investigation take its course. But I want you to
know that that is my clear position. I didn't ask anyone to go
in there and say something that's not true.
LEHRER: What about your having had -- another one of the
allegations is that you may have asked, or the allegation that's
being investigated is that you asked your friend Vernon
CLINTON: To do that.
LEHRER: ... to do that.
CLINTON: I absolutely did not do that. I can tell you I did
not do that. I did not do that. He is in no ways involved in
trying to get anybody to say anything that's not true at my
I didn't do that.
Now, I don't know what else to tell you. I don't even know
-- all I know what is what I have read here. But I'm going to
cooperate. I didn't ask anybody not to tell the truth. There is
no improper relationship. The allegations I have read are not
true. I do not know what the basis of them is other than just
what you know. We'll just have to wait and see. And I will be
vigorous about it. But I have got to get back to the work of
I was up past midnight with Prime Minister Netanyahu last
night. I've got Mr. Arafat coming in. We've got action all over
the world and a State of the Union to do. I'll do my best to
cooperate with this, just as I have through every other issue
that's come up over the last several years. But I have got to
get back to work.
LEHRER: Would you acknowledge, though, Mr. President, this
is very serious business, this charge against you that's been
CLINTON: And I will cooperate in the inquiry of it.
LEHRER: What's going on? If it's not true, that means
somebody made this up. Is that -- is that -- is that...
CLINTON: Look. You know as much about this as I do right
now. We'll just have to look into it and cooperate, and we'll
see. But meanwhile, I've got to go on with the work of the
country. I got hired to help the rest of the American people.