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Special Event

President Clinton Agrees to Deal With Independent Counsel

Aired January 19, 2001 - 4:43 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have to interrupt that report from Chicago. We are hearing now from David Kendall, attorney for President Clinton, about the deal done today which will free Mr. Clinton for any possible prosecution.

Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DAVID KENDALL, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON: ... The president has accepted a suspension of his license and the independent counsel has declined to pursue his investigation any further. This is an appropriate closure for the country and the president.

I'd be happy to take a few questions.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. Kendall, there seems to be some disagreement or some confusion as to whether or not anywhere in either his statements or the legal briefs that you filed, whether President Clinton admits that he intentionally lied and apologized.

KENDALL: He did not. He did not lie. We have not admitted he lied and did not do so today.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. Kendall on the speech of April 13th, the president said he was willing to stand before any bar of justice. Now we have what amounts to a plea agreement. Can you explain to us, sir, the change in his legal strategy?

KENDALL: There is no change in strategy and there's no plea agreement. There is no prosecution. We have said that we would fight disbarment because this was not a disbarable case, and it's not. The bar has recognized that.

QUESTION: Mr. Kendall, which portion of the judge's discovery order is the president admitting he violated?

KENDALL: He admits that in his testimony he gave evasive and misleading testimony, and I think that's clear from the record. QUESTION: Mr. Kendall, what would you -- how would you explain to Americans who might assume that this situation amounts to a confession of guilt that the president acknowledges obstructing justice with these evasive and misleading answers?

KENDALL: He doesn't make any such acknowledgment. He has from the beginning, at least from the grand jury, conceded that he tried to conceal the relationship with Miss Lewinsky. He tried to conceal that, and we have acknowledged that that was evasive and misleading. But it's not obstruction of justice. It's not intentional falsification.

QUESTION: Mr. Kendall...

KENDALL: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... Mr. Ray insists that this take place, this statement be read during the Clinton presidency?

KENDALL: I'm not going to get into the discussions with Mr. Ray. I will simply say, he is a real prosecutor, and I have appreciated his professionalism. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Kendall...

CHEN: David Kendall, the attorney for the outgoing president, Mr. Clinton, speaking about the deal done today that frees Mr. Clinton from the possibility of prosecution regarding his statements about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Mr. Kendall saying here quite clearly, he said the president did not admit to intentionally lie -- an intentionally lie in this.

He also noted that the president admits to evasive and misleading testimony, but the word lie was not used in the president's statement made, which -- which, then caused the independent counsel to decline prosecution in the case. And Mr. Kendall noted that the president will not be disbarred in the state of Arkansas, where his law license is from, but that he agreed to a five-year suspension of his law license.

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