Starr Ratchets Up Pressure On White House
Sources: Lewinsky visited White House about three dozen times
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 3) -- A source who has been briefed on Monica Lewinsky's comings and goings from the White House confirmed to CNN that the former intern visited the executive mansion about three dozen times between April 1996 and the end of December 1997. The source said three dozen is "a reasonably good ball-park figure."
The visits, also reported in Tuesday's New York Times, occurred after Lewinsky, 24, had left her low-level White House job to work at the Pentagon.
The source says the visit logs were turned over last week to Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr, along with other White House records that Starr subpoenaed.
Starr is looking into allegations that President Bill Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky and tried to cover it up.
The special prosecutor continues to ratchet up the pressure on former and current White House officials, as former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared Tuesday before the Washington grand jury.
While leaving the courthouse, Stephanopoulos, now a news analyst for ABC News, told reporters that he knew Lewinsky and had run into her at Starbuck's a couple of times, he said, "I had no firsthand knowledge of any relationship between her and the president."
Tuesday morning, another former White House intern, Caroline Self,
appeared before the grand jury. Afterward, Self told reporters
she knew "of no improper relationship between the president and Monica Lewinsky or any other White House intern."
Self complained that interns have become the butt of jokes over the past two weeks because of the allegations of a Clinton-Lewinsky affair.
"Having just completed a White House internship, I would like to try to redeem that image in some way," Self said. "Every semester 250 college students, some of the best and brightest young people in America, donate their time and energy to work in the White House for one reason -- love of their county. As a former intern, I urge you to please not try to make light of our passion for the government or our commitment to serve."
Administration sources say that White House deputy Counsel Bruce Lindsey and deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta also have also been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.
Sources say that both men, but particularly Lindsey, are considering
claiming that some of their conversations with Clinton are privileged.
Last week, other former White House aides appeared before the same grand jury, including former Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and former Deputy Chief of Staff Evelyn Lieberman.
In a related development, Clinton's attorney, Bob Bennett, on Monday filed a new motion with U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright in Little Rock, Ark., asking that the scheduled May 27 trial date for the Paula Jones case be moved to "...March 23, 1998, or the earliest date thereafter that is convenient for the court."
Bennett's new motion said, "Substantial leaks of sealed discovery in this case continue unabated and further support this request."
Bennett's motion continued, "Most recently these leaks include detailed references purportedly to the sealed deposition testimony of the president, and references to the deposition of a purported witness in this case, the transcript of which Newsweek claims to have seen."
Bennett's motion said "the overwhelming weight of these leaks" seem to favor Jones.
Lewinsky's attorney William Ginsburg told reporters Tuesday, "Generally speaking, we are where we want to be" in immunity negotiations with Starr.
Sources close to both sides in the investigation tell CNN that those between her lawyers and the independent counsel appear to be back on track.
The sources caution there's no deal yet, and insist that the effort may yet fail. But they say both sides have been moving somewhat closer over the past couple days.
In exchange for immunity, Lewinsky would be expected to move away from her earlier sworn denial of having had a sexual relationship with Clinton.
But the key sticking point, sources say, is how far she's prepared to go in claiming the president and his friend Vernon Jordan tried to convince her to lie about it under oath -- allegations she's heard making during secretly-recorded conversations. Both Clinton and Jordan have denied the
Ginsburg also said he's not surprised by reports that Lewinsky was cleared to visit the White House some three dozen times between the summer of 1996 and the end of last year.
Lewsinky returned to her hometown of Los Angeles this afternoon for a visit with her father. Ginsburg accompanied her to the coast.
Two passengers on the plane said the news media also aboard were causing a hazard attempting to videotape Lewinsky while the plane was on the taxiway and runway during takeoff.
Another passenger told CNN a number of reporters were sitting in first class and took several trips to the first class restroom in an apparent attempt to get a look at Lewinsky.
Lewinsky was escorted to a waiting Los Angeles police car, avoiding the news media.
CNN's John King, Wolf Blitzer and Bob Franken contributed to this report.