Monica Lewinsky met privately with President Clinton in the White House late last month, even though administration officials had previously ordered that her access be restricted, according to both a former White House official and an associate of Lewinsky.
The meeting occurred two weeks after Lewinsky was served a subpoena ordering her to provide information in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton, the associate said. About a week after the visit in late December, Lewinsky submitted an affidavit in the Jones lawsuit in which she said that she had not had a sexual relationship with the president.
It was not clear who imposed the restriction on Lewinsky’s White House visits or why. Her ability to circumvent the restrictions on her access is the first suggestion that there was tension in the White House about her access to the executive compound.
Even presidents do it
The news about President Clinton’s alleged infidelities is posing an awkward question for parents: How do you talk to your children about the scandal?
Dr. Daniel Castellanos, an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine, had to face the issue head on when his 10-year-old son, Daniel, asked him, “What’s all the commotion about?”
Castellanos skirted the lurid details of the sexual accusations while using the moment as a springboard to discuss their own family’s values. He recommends that other adults try to do the same.
“We’re Catholic, so we talked about some of the moral issues of infidelity,” Castellanos said. “We kept it at a 10-year-old level, in the sense of not speaking about a lot of … sexual specifics.”
If a child or teenager asks about Clinton’s situation, it shouldn’t be ignored but viewed as an opportunity to discuss some of life’s lessons, he said.
“What some of this does is it helps prepare the children to know that presidents - just like doctors, priests or ministers and others - are really human beings,” he said.
Jesse gets help
The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke with President Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, twice over the weekend to cheer her up, Jackson’s spokesman said Monday. But it was Jackson who was buoyed by the conversations, the spokesman said.
Jackson called the president’s daughter from New York City and talked to her “at length” Saturday and for a short time Sunday, according to Kenneth P. Jakubowski, director of communications for Jackson in Chicago. Clinton is a freshman at Stanford University in California.
“I spoke with her assuming that I would have to lift her spirits,” Jackson told Jakubowski, referring to the sex scandal preoccupying the White House. “But in reality, she lifted me up. She is an amazing young woman.”
Never before have Secret Service agents responsible for guarding the president been required to testify about “material facts” in a criminal probe about that president.
Sources said Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s office wants to interview agents to ask if they personally observed President Clinton and intern Monica Lewinsky engaging in any “intimate acts” in the White House in the spring of 1996. Already, attorneys for Paula Jones in the sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton have subpoenaed the Secret Service, and a federal judge is considering whether agents should be forced to testify.
Nethercutt weighs in
President Clinton’s refusal to more fully respond to allegations of sexual misconduct is undermining his agenda and will distract from his speech to Congress tonight, Rep. George Nethercutt said Monday.
“It is a terrible controversy for the country to have to go through,” he said in an interview.
“It is upsetting. It is distressing. It is distracting … distracting from substantive issues,” said the Spokane Republican, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.