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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.
Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
Tue, 30 Nov 2021 08:30
Monica Lewinsky testifies against President Clinton. The Senate conducts a politically charged impeachment trial.
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To listen to American scandal one week early and add free, join Wondery Plus in the Wondri app. Download the Wondri app in your Apple or Google Play mobile app store today. A listener note, this episode contains graphic imagery and may not be suitable for a younger audience. It's the morning of July 27, 1998 in Manhattan. Monica Lewinsky stepped out of a taxi cab, pulls down the brim of a baseball cap. Snockward fit. Lewinsky is wearing a blonde wig and the hat feels a little too snug. What she has to put up with the discomfort because more important is that no one can recognize her as she stands in the streets of Manhattan. Lewinsky glances at her lawyer and nods signaling that she's ready. Then they step inside a tall building where a dormant usheres them in and to an elevator. A minute later the elevator doors open and Lewinsky gays us out into a penthouse apartment. The living room is small but elegant. Lewinsky might have actually felt cozy in this place except she's not here for a relaxing afternoon. The Lewinsky is about to betray the man she believed to be her soulmate, the president of the United States. The Lewinsky walks into the penthouse which belongs to the mother and law Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor whose office is investigating the president. Today, members of Starr's team have packed into the living room. One attorney with broad shoulders and light hair steps forward to introduce himself. Miss Lewinsky, my name's Bob Pitney. I'm one of the lead prosecutors in the office, Finn, Divina Council. We've been looking at President Clinton's involvement in Whitewater trying to see whether she broke the law when he was involved in the real estate deal. I understand Mr. Pitney, but give me a moment. I need to get rid of this disguise. The Lewinsky takes off the blonde wig and baseball cap and straightens her hair. Miss Lewinsky was smart of you to come prepared and thank you for traveling all the way from Washington. It's going to save us some grief and protect you from the press which I know has been a lot. Lewinsky doesn't think it's funny, she wants to snarl, to shout at the top of her lungs. She knows that she broke the law by lying under oath about her affair with the president. With the deal that's on the table, she can't be combative. Still she needs to let these men know what she's been going through. Mr. Pitney, it has been difficult. Six months ago, the whole country learned my name. I've been mocked by talk show hosts. They make fun of my weight, the fact that I grew up in Beverly Hills. The bookends call me a loose woman with no morals. Democrats blame me for sabotaging Bill Clinton's presidency and I'm still facing legal charges. I understand Miss Lewinsky and that's why we're here to talk. So you ready to get started? I am. Let's talk. Miss Lewinsky, as a reminder, you have what we call a queen for a day deal. That means we can't hold anything against you that you say today. If at the end of our questioning we feel you are a credible witness, we'll sign the immunity agreement. You won't face prosecution. In exchange, you'll aid our investigation and testify against President Bill Clinton. Do you understand? I understand. Good. However, if we believe you are lying or withholding information today, we'll tear up that agreement. We'll press charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering tied to your efforts to convince Linda Tripp to lie on your behalf under oath. Do you understand that? I do. Okay. Then I'll jump right in. Miss Lewinsky, when did you first learn that you were on a witness list in the Paula Jones case? December 17, 1997. President Clinton called to tell me. And did he discuss how you should respond? Well, he suggested that I could give my answers in writing, you know, assigned affidavit rather than an oral deposition. Is that all? Miss Lewinsky, he didn't ask you what you would say? No, he didn't. He didn't ask you to lie about the nature of your relationship with him. Lewinsky knows that she has to maintain her composure. She can't pick a fight with the prosecutors, not when they hold her future in their hands. But on this issue, she's going to be very clear. Mr. Bitman, I want you and the rest of your team to understand something. President Clinton did not ask me to lie. Bitman narrows his eyes with a look of suspicion, and he launches in with another question. In the hours that follow, Bitman walks Lewinsky through every encounter she had with the president. It's a grueling interrogation, and Lewinsky grows exhausted. She needs to stay focused if she's going to get this deal, but Bitman keeps grilling her with question after question. Finally, Lewinsky's attorney calls for an end to the interrogation. It's time for a decision, either they're giving Lewinsky immunity or the meeting is over. There's a long pause. Lewinsky grips the edge of the couch, her fingers turning white. Bitman glances at his team and then announces the decision. They're off her stance. They'll give Lewinsky legal immunity. Lewinsky cries out in relief. She's not going to prison. But this also means there's no turning back. She is about to betray the president of the United States. American scandal sponsored by Sachi Art. I'm lucky. Not only is my wife beautiful, funny, and smart, she also has great taste that matches mine, which has made decorating our home together a delight. But how do we go about finding the art for our home? Well we agree on that too. Sachi Art. They have art works from thousands of emerging artists around the globe in all styles, so you're guaranteed to find art that fits your style, space, and budget. Their view your room feature lets you visualize the art on your walls, and my advisor, Siting, was instrumental in finding our newest piece. At 15% off your first order with promo code podcast, just go to SachiArt.com and enter code podcast at checkout. Find art you love today. Okay, the kids are already asking what's for dinner, but breaking news, empty fridge. That's okay, I'll instacart. Let's add some organic asparagus and some farm fresh chicken. Easy. Wait, is the oldest vegetarian this week or was it gluten free? It's gluten free pasta. Covered either way. Card it. And finally, some vegetarian gluten free olives from my well earned cocktail. When your family shopping list has more footnotes than groceries, the world is your cart. Visit instacart.com or download the app and get free delivery on your first order. Offer valid for limited time, minimum order $10. Delivery subject to availability. In terms of supply. From Wondery, I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American scandal. For three years, special prosecutors investigated Bill Clinton's involvement with a real estate deal known as whitewater. By attorney Kenneth Starr, the office of independent council was convinced the president had broken the law back when he was a politician in Arkansas. But despite their search, Starr's team couldn't find proof of a crime. They were left frustrated that a man they believed to be corrupt was still in the highest office. Then the prosecutors had a breakthrough. Starr's team learned about Monica Lewinsky, a young White House aide who'd had an affair with the president. And the independent council learned that Lewinsky had lied while under oath. Lewinsky had testified in a lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, an Arkansas civil servant who claimed that Clinton sexually harassed her. And the special prosecutors got access to taped recordings of Lewinsky in which she admitted to lying under oath during that testimony and implying that Clinton had pressured her to break the law and exchange for a new job. For Starr and many others, this was their chance to hold the president accountable and to lead a campaign that could see him removed from office. This is episode four, high crimes and misdemeanors. It's August 17, 1998 in Washington, D.C. Bob Bittman is making his way through the ground floor of the White House, heading toward a small room. When he steps inside, he stops, overcome by the weight of American history. The space is known as the White House map room, and decades ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt would stop by this room every morning to analyze troop movements in the battles of World War II. Even today, there's still a map on the wall, diagramming the movement of Allied troops as they approached Berlin in 1945. Bittman stops to gaze at the historic artifacts, filled with a sense of awe. And while it may not be a World War, Bittman knows nonetheless that he's about to play a large role in American history too. As one of the lead attorneys for the Office of Independent Council, Bittman is going to question President Bill Clinton in front of a federal grand jury. Once he's done, the 23 member panel will decide if there's enough evidence to charge the president with perjury and obstruction of justice, criminal charges that could end his career, and possibly send Clinton to prison. Of course, Bittman knows that this entire affair is shrouded in a fierce legal debate. Ever before has a sitting president testified for a grand jury that's considering criminal charges. Some argue that the investigation has overstepped its legal authority, that the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow a sitting president to be indicted on criminal charges. But Bittman just gathers his notes and prepares for the historic moment. He glances at his boss, Kenneth Starr. Starr is leading the investigation, and when it's finished, he's going to have to make some agonizing decisions. Starr may test the Constitution and charge Clinton with crimes, or he may recommend that Congress take over and impeach the president. A third option is that Starr could wait until Clinton is out of office, and only then charge him as a criminal. Either way, the consequences could not be greater for Clinton's grand jury testimony. Soon it's time. Bittman rises from his chair, and with his eyes trained on Clinton, Bittman begins by asking if the president was physically intimate with Monica Lewinsky. With something strange happens, Clinton doesn't answer the question. Instead he asks permission to read from a written statement, Bittman frowns. This is unexpected. But his boss, Kenneth Starr, says he'll allow it. Clinton then unfolds a piece of paper from his suit pocket. Reading aloud from the paper, Clinton admits that he engaged in conduct with Lewinsky that was wrong. But he argues that it did not involve sexual intercourse, and nothing they did could qualify as sexual relations as he understood the term. Bittman's mind begins to race. He had Clinton pinned. The independent council has Lewinsky's testimony about the affair. They have her stained blue dress, and they have Clinton's deposition from the Paula Jones lawsuit in which the president denied having sexual relations with Lewinsky. But Clinton is taking some different approach. He's trying to split hairs and parse the words of a narrow legal definition in order to save himself. Clinton continues explaining that in his deposition for the Paula Jones lawsuit, he was given a specific definition of the term sexual relations. According to that definition, sexual relations only occurred when a person caused contact with the intent to arouse or gratify. Clinton pauses, letting the words sink in. Then he makes his point. Under this definition, he did not have sexual relations with Lewinsky. He did not intend to arouse or gratify the former White House intern. When he was under oath for the Paula Jones case, he was telling the truth. Bittman is incredulous. Only a person like Clinton would seek out that kind of legal loophole. Clinton's written testimony sets off a back and forth with Bittman. The two men debate every facet of the definition of sexual relations, even the meaning of the word causes. But Clinton doesn't give an inch. Bittman tries desperately to get the questions back on track. But throughout the exchange, Clinton remains one step ahead of him. It seems like he hasn't asked her for everything. Bittman realizes that the interrogation is going nowhere. He has no choice but to wrap up his questions. He slums back in his seat and shuts his eyes with frustration. This was his chance. Bittman wanted to deliver a knockout blow, instead he barely landed a jab. If they're going to prove that Bill Clinton is a criminal, special prosecutors are going to have to find some other way. A week later, Kenneth Star approaches a desk and pulls out a chair for one of his female colleagues. Karen Immergut is one of the prosecutors on his team, and Star knows this kind of chivalry gets him labeled old fashioned. But Star was raised in Texas, son of a minister, he prides himself on his manners, and he credits much of his prestigious legal career to good behavior and his faith. And while Star is an outspoken conservative, he has a reputation for being fair, a quality that helped him earn the appointment as head of the Office of Independent Council. So Star is determined to see this investigation through. He's not going to allow President Clinton to get away with perjury or obstruction of justice. Star's team needs to keep pressing, no matter how unseemly things may get. Which is why Star invited his colleague to his office. He has an important assignment for her, even if it is a bit uncomfortable. Star settles in behind his desk and adjusts his wire in the glasses. Karen, thanks for coming by. Of course, happy to help. Right, so I've been reviewing Clinton's grand jury testimony and I think he may have boxed himself in, tell me more. So we all know that Clinton admitted to inappropriate contact with Lewinsky. But he argued it wasn't sexual relations as he understood it. Clinton said he claims he says he never made contact with Lewinsky with um, Ken. You can be candid. All right. Clinton says he never made contact with Lewinsky, that he never had the intent to arouse or gratify her. He says it was one sided. So we need to find out if that's true, because if he lied, then he committed perjury. And I could use your help. Me, how can I help? Star shifts in his seat and looks away. I need you to question Lewinsky again and get specific details of their encounters. Before she only spoke in generalities, we didn't get into details because we were just confirming that there was an affair. But now, uh, now we need to know exactly what occurred between them. All right. Let me make sure I understand. You want me to ask Monica Lewinsky exactly where and how Bill Clinton touched her during each of their sexual encounters. Yes. Yes, that's correct. And Ken, you've chosen me because why? Because I believe that as a woman, you will have better success with Lewinsky. And of course, it goes without saying you have incredible legal talents. Right. Can I mean no disrespect? But the public already thinks we're digging inappropriately into the president's private life. There could be a big backlash if we go hunt for graphic details. And it doesn't matter what the public thinks. We have a duty. And the president has a duty. He took a legal oath and he agreed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There's no room in there for white lides or shades of the truth. But that's exactly what he seems to be doing, slicing it up, parsing everything. So we have an obligation to hold him accountable, even if it feels tauntry. Immigrant knots. Hmm. I understand. All right, I'll arrange the interview with Lewinsky. Immigrant stands to lead the office and star wipes a small beat of sweat from his forehead. These conversations can be uncomfortable. And he doesn't envy the task he's assigned to his colleague. But he stands by what he says. They have an obligation to figure out whether the president lied under oath, even if it means digging deeper into his private life. A few days later, Monica Lewinsky stepped into a conference room in Washington, DC. The room is drab with bare walls and pale fluorescent lights. It has the atmosphere of a police interrogation room. And Lewinsky knows that's not by accident. In a few minutes, Lewinsky is going to face yet another round of questions from the office of independent counsel. It doesn't matter that she already testified for a grand jury. That Lewinsky betrayed the president and cooperated with prosecutors. The independent counsel wants to provide additional information to the grand jury. And so even though she feels worn thin, somehow Lewinsky is going to have to endure yet another brutal inquisition. Lewinsky takes a deep breath and pulls out a chair. Across the table are two lawyers from Kenneth Starr's office. Aaron Immiguit and Mary Ann Worth. Lewinsky squints as she looks at the prosecutors. It's unusual, two women leading the questioning. Up until now, Lewinsky has mainly interacted with men. But when Immiguit begins the interrogation, Lewinsky immediately understands why Kenneth Starr chose a different approach. Immiguit hands Lewinsky a piece of paper, explaining that these are the dates of all Lewinsky's known sexual encounters with the president. We're going to go through the list, date by date, and the prosecutors want specifics about what exactly occurred between Lewinsky and the president. Lewinsky's eyes go wide. Throughout this entire investigation, she's never been asked to divulge such personal, intimate details. It's an outrage. She wants to scream, to storm out. But Lewinsky stays calm. If she doesn't keep cooperating with the independent counsel, she could lose her legal immunity. They could charge her for lying under oath, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. All of that could land her in federal prison for nearly three decades. So Lewinsky takes a deep breath. She counts to ten, calming herself. And quietly she says she'll keep cooperating. She'll describe her sexual encounters with the president. Immiguit nods and begins with November 15, 1995. It was the first time Lewinsky was alone with the president. What happened? Lewinsky explains that they talked and kissed for a while. At some point she removed her jacket. The president then touched her breasts. Immiguit jots down a note. And asks if the president touched Lewinsky over her shirt or underneath. Lewinsky clarifies. The touching started over her shirt, but eventually, either she unclassed her bra or Clinton lifted it up. She doesn't remember exactly. Looking away, Lewinsky tells the prosecutors that this is embarrassing and painful. She wants to stop. But while Immiguit acknowledges that this is hard, she says they have to continue. It's her legal obligation. So for over two hours, stars prosecutors comb through every encounter on their list. Lewinsky tries to hide some of the details to speak and vague innuendo. But each time, the prosecutors push back demanding graphic information. By the end of their questioning, Lewinsky feels depleted and exposed. She wants to curl up, hide away from the world. And when they're finally done, Lewinsky rises from the table, exhausted, turning to exit the room. As she walks out the door, she can feel everyone in the room avoiding eye contact, turning away. The Lewinsky feels like she's about to drown in shame. She's never been so humiliated. But slowly, as she walks further away, another emotion begins to creep up. Fury. A flood of indignation. How could it possibly have come to this? In a country of laws, a democracy built on fairness and justice, how could this have just happened? The investigation was supposed to be independent, committed to the law, and it devolved into a partisan hatched job, with lawyers demanding graphic details about sex between private individuals. Lewinsky shakes her head to disgrace and embarrassment not just for her, but for the country, for democracy. So while Lewinsky is committed to cooperating, knowing that she has no other choice, she hopes the country will learn from this dark moment. That the same mistakes won't ever be made again, and that this investigation, this witch hunt, will fail. Lots of people don't know it, but autumn is an ideal time to plant. shorter days and cooler nights create ideal conditions for the plants to get established. If you're looking to spruce up your home, proven winners color choice shrubs has an amazing selection of flowering shrubs and evergreens for planting in gardens and landscapes. With around 320 different proprietary varieties, including classics limelight hydrangea and little Henry sweet spire, all of their shrubs are trialed and tested for 8 to 10 years to ensure they outperform anything else on the market. 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Now, Star has summed up his findings in a 452 page report, but he's not going to set off a constitutional crisis by charging a sitting president with crimes. Still, Star is convinced that Clinton broke the law, so he's recommending that Congress impeach the president. If he's convicted by the Senate, Clinton will be removed from office. As the workers load the last box onto the van, Star size, it's been a long and grueling investigation. And Star and his team have done everything they could, but now their job is over. It's up to Congress to decide the fate of President Bill Clinton. It's September 13th, 1998 in Washington, DC. Inside the U.S. Capitol, Congressman Dick Gaphart walks quickly down a hallway. Beside him is Abby Lowell, a high ranking attorney for the Democrats in the House of Representatives. The two men are leaders on Capitol Hill, and in just a few minutes, they're going to make a series of decisions that could determine the fate of the Democrats in Congress. Gaphart is no run of the Mill Congressman. Gaphart is the House Minority Leader, which makes him the highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He's 57 years old with boyish good looks and a sharp strategic mind. He'll need it as he organizes the next move for the Democrats. Reaching his office, Gaphart greets a room full of Democratic staffers, as well as Senator Tom Dashel, Gaphart's counterpart in the Senate. As Gaphart takes a seat, he doesn't need to explain why they've gathered for this meeting. Four days ago, Kenneth Starr delivered his report to Congress, recommending that the President be impeached. Two days later, Congress voted to release the report to the public. And since then, the bombshell accusations have captivated and consumed the entire country. This is quickly becoming the biggest scandal in Washington since Watergate. And Watergate, everyone remembers, was a political disaster. Unwilling to face impeachment, Nixon resigned, and the Republicans were walloped in the next elections. Gaphart has to prevent the Democrats from suffering a similar massacre. Midterm elections are less than two months away, and so the Democrats need to quickly figure out how to respond to this mounting crisis. Gaphart looks out at the room and clears his throat. All right, settle in, everyone. We have some important decisions to make, but before we do anything rash, we need to figure out what Ken Starr actually has on the President. So I'm going to turn it over to Abby Lowell, our attorney. He's gone through the Star Report and can walk us through. Abby? Thank you, Congressman Gaphart. I'll jump right in. I've reviewed the 18 boxes of evidence, and the bottom line is that when it comes to obstruction of justice, they've got nothing. There's absolutely no proof that Clinton pressured Lewinsky to lie on her half a day. There's also no proof that Clinton's friend helping Lewinsky get a job was any kind of quid pro quo. However, and this is a big, however, Clinton did purchase himself. Both during the Paula Jones deposition and during his grand jury testimony, that's clear. Gaphart shakes his head and looks over the room. Hey, everyone. We're all Democrats. You all know, I would never want to run a fellow Democrat out of office. But if Clinton took actions that warrant impeachment, we have to ask him to resign. As a party, we'll have to create distance between ourselves and the President. I think it's the only way we can survive the midterms. Well, Congressman Gaphart, if you would hold on just a moment. I don't believe this perjury is an impeachable offense. The founding fathers intended impeachment for offenses that were political, not personal. Clinton's lies were about an affair. They had nothing to do with his public duties. Gaphart rises from his chair and begins pacing the room. Okay. Well, we know that Republicans aren't going to care about the distinction between a personal and a political crime. They want to impeach, and we don't have the votes in the House to stop them, but... There might be a way to lose the vote, with the impeachment going forward. It'll still come across as winners. Cross the room. Senate Minority Leader Tom Dashel enters the conversation. Dick, you're going to have to explain that one. How the hell are we supposed to lose the vote and still win? Well, public opinion, Tom. Most people already disprove a star going after the President's private life. So I think it's about framing. We'll say the impeachment is a partisan overreach, which is this. All right. But how do we make that clear to the public? Well... First of all, we don't give in to the Republicans on anything. Every piece of evidence, every procedural rule we push back. We force them to call a vote on every issue. We're going to lose, but when we do, the Republicans will look like they're adamant, adamant, and humiliating the President, like it's their only goal. And then we have our public message. This isn't about what Clinton did or didn't do. It's clearly a vendetta. I don't know. It's risky. Picking fights we know we're going to lose and then blame the GOP for fighting. Yeah. Yeah. But I think that's how we win by losing. What if they see through this? What if the GOP gives in to some of our demands? Tom, they're not going to give an inch. We know they're out for blood. Dashel nods. This observation really isn't up for debate. Anderson hostility has grown intractable, a divide that cannot be bridged. And while the Senate minority leader still isn't sure about the strategy, he admits it's the best one they have. So Dashel agrees. He'll work to get the Senate Democrats in line. Get hard should do the same in the House. And if everything goes just right, the Democratic Party may get through this nightmare unscathed. It's December 18, 1998 in Washington, D.C. Inside the U.S. Capitol, the Chamber for the House of Representatives is buzzing with activity. Congressmen are huddling, having private conversations and reporters have gathered to try to get last minute quotes. As Representative Dick Gephardt enters the Chamber, he's overcome with quiet grief. Gephardt has been a member of Congress for 21 years, and in all that time, he's maintained an abiding faith in the ideals of American democracy. But today, Gephardt believes those ideals are about to be corrupted. Articles of impeachment are being brought against the President of the United States, and a fair, with a former intern, who bring down his presidency and rattle the nation to its core. Gephardt sighs as he takes his seat. He did what he could to protect Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party. His strategy of provoking the Republicans appears to have worked. During last month's midterm elections, the Democrats gained five seats in the House and held on to all of their seats in the Senate. So for a brief moment, Gephardt hoped that the election result would compel the Republicans to back off on impeachment. He was wrong. If anything, his political opponents, dug in. Soon the Republican Congressman Henry Hyde stands and moves to bring a resolution to the House floor for debate. He instructs the clerk to read it. The clerk steps up and reads the resolution, which asks that William Jefferson Clinton be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. Charges cover perjury, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power. Gephardt shakes his head. This is a dark day for America, and it's only going to get worse. Soon, individual members of Congress take to the floor, launching an ugly and acrimonious debate. The President, in my opinion, obstructed justice. He attempted to cover up. To say this is just about sexist to say that Watergate was just about a third rate incendiary, not the news from the truth. This president sought to cover up a crime. Inpeachment is for treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. This President did not commit impeachable offenses under our constitutional. And today, with such a vote, these chambers will become the incinerator of the constitution. Today based upon the evidence that the President lied, obstructed justice and abused power, in an effort to prevent the courts from administering justice under law, I rise in favor of impeaching William Jefferson Clinton. The debate rages for hours, and as the two parties sling mud at each other, Gephard feels a heaviness come over him. His own speech was a plea for an end of scorch earth politics, a return to the politics of values, but that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. And while it seems certain that Clinton will now be impeached, Gephard, that's not what really matters. What breaks his heart, what matters most, is that this circus appears to be just the beginning of a long nightmare for America. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion, where you woke up in the morgue, where you were seriously injured, miles from help? What would you do? This is actually happening, asks our listeners this very question, while we bring you captivating real life stories of trauma and perseverance. This is actually happening, brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. Each episode is an exploration of the human spirit, and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives, even thriving afterward. 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He'd be happy to see Clinton removed from office, but Lot is also a former lawyer and knows a loser case when he sees one, and this one is bound to fail. Earlier in the month, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to impeach the President, but they only needed a simple majority to win the vote. Now, the Senate is about to take up the actual trial. The place where Clinton will be declared guilty or innocent. But if Clinton is going to be convicted and removed from office, two thirds of the chamber will have to vote against him. It's easy math, and Lot knows it. Republicans hold 55 seats in the Senate, but they'll need 67 votes to convict. That means 12 Democrats would have to flip. Lot knows that's never going to happen. Not with the Democratic Party now marching in lockstep. Public opinion has also complicated the issue. Poll after poll shows that people want Congress to move on. If Lot and his fellow Republicans ignore the will of the public, it could pay a hefty price in the next election. They could even lose their majority in the Senate. There are risks at every turn, but Lot believes he's found a solution. Instead of going through a long and painful trial, on the very first day of proceedings, Lot is going to propose a preliminary vote. If there aren't 67 yes votes, the trial will be over. The problem is solved. The Senate and the country can move on. So Lot finishes packing his bag and prepares to meet with his fellow Senators in DC to go over his plan. But then his phone rings downstairs. His wife yells out, calls for him. Lot makes his way downstairs, ready to speak with probably another grateful Senator. He leaked word of his plan yesterday, and already several members of the upper chamber have contacted him and praised the idea of a shortened trial. But that's not what he gets when he picks up. On the other end of the line is representative Henry Hyde, congressman who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Hyde and other designated congressmen are supposed to serve as the lawyers in the impeachment trial, with the full Senate serving as the jury. Hyde is deeply invested in the shape of the trial, and now he's angry. He isn't happy with Lot's new plan. Hyde is yelling, saying that Lot's proposal is an insult to the House of Representatives. The two chambers are legislative equals, even if the Senate views the House as somehow beneath them. Hyde reminds Lot that the House brought forth the article's impeachment, their catering to their base, and the Senate needs to take the political situation seriously by putting on a full trial. Lot takes a moment to collect his thoughts. He knew that members of the House would be upset about his plan. It undercuts their work to hold the president accountable, and with a shortened trial, it would only be the House members that might bear the political weight if Clinton is acquitted. They'll be made to look like foolish bad guys. But even if the House is unhappy, Lot isn't going to change course. He won't risk damaging his party for a pointless political exercise. So Lot makes it clear, this is the plan. They'll have a short trial, and unless the vote count magically changes, that'll be it. But that won't be it for Hyde. He says that Lot's plan will set off a protest. At least two members of the House team responsible for prosecuting the trial will resign their roles. It'll be an embarrassment for Lot, and the Senate Republicans, assign their willing to divide the party out of their own self interest. They'll probably be calls for Lot to step aside as Majority Leader. Lot is quiet for a moment. He came up with this plan in order to preserve the GOP's control of the Senate, not jeopardize it. He needs to keep his party united. But this new political reality throws a wrench into the plan. He has no good choices left. Faced within subordination, Lot clenches his fists and agrees. They will have a full trial, even if it's an act of political self destruction. This February 1st, 1999 in Washington, D.C., Republican Congressman Ed Bryant is pacing through a suite at the Mayflower Hotel, as a videographer continues setting up a camera. Bryant looks across the room, where Monica Lewinsky sits waiting in a navy suit and a pearl necklace. Lewinsky looks very calm. Which is surprising, because Bryant is about to conduct Lewinsky's testimony for Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. This recorded session could lead to a president's removal, and yet Lewinsky seems unfazed, imperturbable, someone who has nothing left to fear or lose. But Bryant aims to change that. The impeachment trial has been going on for close to a month, and at this point it seems almost certain that Clinton will be acquitted. There have been no surprises, no earth shattering revelations. But Bryant knows that he still may be able to break Monica Lewinsky, to get her to admit that Clinton pressured her to lie under oath about their relationship. And even if Bryant can't accomplish that, then he might be able to convince 12 Democratic senators to vote for conviction, and remove the president from office. The videographer indicates cameras rolling. Bryant runs his hand through his brown hair, and smiles at Lewinsky. Well, thank you for being here, Miss Lewinsky. I wasn't aware I had a choice. Yes, well. I want to start by discussing the 6th of December 1997. You had a conversation with the president that night, and he encouraged you to file a written affidavit in the Polyjones case. Is that correct? No. No. He did not encourage you to file an affidavit in the Polyjones case? No. Not on December 6th. Bryant frantically flips through his notes. This isn't a good start. Out my mistake, Miss Lewinsky. For 17th, the president encouraged you to file an affidavit in the Polyjones case. He suggested I could file an affidavit. Bryant pauses and flips through his notes again. Well, let's jump forward to January 5th, 1998. You met with your lawyer to discuss your possible deposition. Did you have any concerns about how you would answer questions in the Polyjones case? Certainly, I'm not a lawyer. And you spoke to the president after that meeting. What was that conversation about? I asked if you would want to see a copy of my affidavit. He said no. Clinton has indicated that he thought your affidavit could technically be true without revealing the whole truth about your relationship. Did he offer any suggestions on how to do that? No. He didn't discuss the content of my affidavit. But I mean, didn't Clinton offer to help? He'd be sent over some ideas on how to avoid perjury? Lewinsky looks him directly in the eyes. We never discussed perjury. Not ever. Ryan's job begins to tense. This was supposed to be his moment to break Lewinsky, to get her to reveal a piece of evidence that would incriminate the president. Instead, Lewinsky has the upper hand. She's completely in control of the narrative. It's a mess. And this impeachment trial will almost certainly fail. President Clinton is going to stay in office for another two years. This February 12, 1999, in a suburb of Los Angeles, in a warm living room, Monica Lewinsky sits beside her father and stepmother, who holds her tight as they sit watching their TV. On screen is live coverage from the Senate. The upper chamber is about to vote in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. If he's convicted, Clinton will be removed from office. The first time ever for a president. And if he's not, Clinton will get back to work in the Oval Office. Lewinsky has mostly avoided coverage of the trial. She knows it's just one big spectacle, designed to inflict political damage. But she has to watch the vote. She needed proof that the nightmare was finally over. On screen is a shot of the interior of the U.S. Capitol, with Chief Justice William Renquist reading the first article of impeachment, covering the charge of perjury. He asks each senator to respond with a vote of guilty or not guilty. Renquist breath catches as she waits for the results. One by one, the senators stand and cast their votes. Soon there's a tally. 55 senators, all of the Democrats and 10 Republicans vote not guilty. The Chief Justice then raises the second article, obstruction of justice. This time, it's 50 guilty votes and 50 not guilty. Still, nowhere close to the two third supermajority needed to remove the president. And so with these two final votes, it's over. Bill Clinton will remain president of the United States. Lewinsky sinks back into her couch, overrun with conflicting emotions. She's relieved, furious, ecstatic, miserable. Somehow she still loves Clinton, hates him, and misses him. The Lewinsky stepmother squeezes her shoulder and asks if she's okay. Lewinsky laughs, how can she possibly answer that question? She may never be okay. And while pundits on TV discuss the trials consequences for Democrats and Republicans and Clinton, no one, not a single person, wonders what it all means for Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky grabs the remote and shuts off the TV. She doesn't know what all this means for her. But she does know that she'll probably have to spend the rest of her life searching for an answer. In 2001, Bill Clinton finished his second term as president. He left with the highest approval rating for a departing president since Harry Truman in 1953. But despite Clinton's public support, the two political parties remained deeply polarized. In the eyes of Democrats, Republicans would stop at nothing to bring down one of their parties. To Republicans, Democrats would bend over backwards to protect their own. And in the years since, the two parties have remained at odds. According to many political commentators, this schism traces his origins back to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. After completing his duties as the independent council, Kenneth Star returned to private practice. In 2020, he returned to the Capitol to serve on the defense team in Donald Trump's second impeachment trial. Clinton to trip sued the government, accusing officials of leaking her private information to the media as the Clinton Lewinsky scandal was unfolding. She settled the case for over half a million dollars and used the money to open a Christmas store in Virginia. Trip died of pancreatic cancer in 2020. And although Bill Clinton emerged from the impeachment trial with wide public support, Monica Lewinsky was not as fortunate. She continued to be shamed and humiliated. In the public's imagination, she was little more than a symbol, a mistress, a vixen, a victim, and a saboteur. For years, Lewinsky avoided the spotlight as best she could. She moved to London and earned a master's in social psychology. But in 2014, she stepped back into the spotlight with an article for Vanity Fair. Lewinsky argued that her affair with Clinton was consensual, but that the aftermath was humiliating and crushing. Four years later, on the 20th anniversary of Kenneth Starr's report, Lewinsky wrote another essay for Vanity Fair. He came in the midst of the Me Too movement as America reckoned with consent and the role of power in sexual relationships. In the article, Lewinsky described how the movement had changed her understanding of the past. She now saw her affair with Clinton as an abuse of his power. Lewinsky also opened up about the toll the events took on her mental health. The article shed new light on Lewinsky and many began to rethink how she was treated, apologizing for jokes they'd made at her expense. And for perhaps the first time, after 20 years of shame and embarrassment, Monica Lewinsky became a human being in the eyes of the public. From Wondry, this is episode four of the Clinton Lewinsky affair from American scandal. In our next series, we look at a whistleblower who changed American history. Daniel Ellsberg was a military analyst and self proclaimed hatred. It was the 1960s, and Ellsberg was developing military strategy to help the United States win the Vietnam War. But the more Ellsberg learned about the war, the more he grew convinced he was a terrible mistake. His leak of the Pentagon papers set in motion a court case that would test both the freedom and the press and the limits of presidential power. If you like our show, please give us a five star rating and leave a review and be sure to tell your friends. I also have two other podcasts you might like, American History Tellers and Business Movers. Follow on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you're listening right now. Or you can listen to new episodes early and ad free by subscribing to Wondry Plus in Apple Podcasts or in the Wondry app. You'll also find some links and offers from our sponsors in the episode notes. Supporting them helps us keep offering our shows for free. Another way you can support this show is by filling out a small survey at Wondry.com slash survey to tell us what topics we might come next. You can also find us and me on Twitter. Follow me at Lindsay A. Graham, Lindsay with an A, Middle and Initially. And thank you. If you'd like to learn more about the Clinton Lewinsky affair, we recommend the book's Monica Story by Andrew Morton and a vast conspiracy by Jeffrey Tuben, a quick note about our reenactments. In most cases, we can't know exactly what was said, but all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scandal is hosted, edited, and execu'd produced by me Lindsay Graham for Aresha, audio editing by Molly Bond, sound design by Derek Barrett, music by Lindsay Graham. This episode is written by Austin Racklis, edited by Christina Malsper. Our senior producer is Gabe Riven. Our senior producers are Stephanie Gens, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and Marshall Lewy for Wondry.