The great Hillary Clinton conspiracy

I cannot believe that we are talking about Monica Lewinsky again. It should have been a non-story when it originally happened in 1998 and it should be even less of a story now. It was incredible how a consensual affair between two adults actually led to impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton and to an unbelievable level of voyeurism masquerading as news and moralizing.

Stephen Colbert looks at the return of this non-issue and at Clinton’s amazing foresight and mind control abilities.

(This clip aired on May 12, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. dano says

    Perhaps some have forgotten why Liar, Liar Billy was being questioned.


    In a biting, 32-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright of Arkansas said Clinton gave “false, misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process” in Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit. She specifically cited Clinton’s assertions that he was never alone with Lewinsky and that he did not have a sexual relationship with the former White House intern.

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    Judge Finds Clinton in Contempt of Court

    Wright Judge Susan Webber Wright. (Reuters)

    Related Links
    ◾Online Discussion: White House Reporter Peter Baker

    ◾Excerpts From Wright’s Order

    ◾Clinton Won’t Seek Recusal of Jones Judge (Washington Post, Feb. 18)

    ◾Jones Case Judge May Cite Clinton (Washington Post, Feb. 17)


    By Roberto Suro and Joan Biskupic
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Tuesday, April 13, 1999; Page A1
    A federal judge yesterday held President Clinton in contempt of court for giving “intentionally false” testimony about his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky in the Paula Jones lawsuit, marking the first time that a sitting president has been sanctioned for disobeying a court order.

    In a biting, 32-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright of Arkansas said Clinton gave “false, misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process” in Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit. She specifically cited Clinton’s assertions that he was never alone with Lewinsky and that he did not have a sexual relationship with the former White House intern.

    Wright, who personally presided over Clinton’s January 1998 deposition in the Jones case, acknowledged that no court had ever taken such action against a president but said it was important to act to “protect the integrity” of the judicial process.

    “Sanctions must be imposed, not only to redress the president’s misconduct, but to deter others who might themselves consider emulating the president of the United States by engaging in misconduct that undermines the integrity of the judicial system,” she wrote.

    The White House had no comment on the order yesterday, saying it was under review by the president’s private attorneys. Clinton’s lawyer in the Jones case, Robert S. Bennett, did not return telephone calls last night. Clinton could appeal the order.

    The contempt finding comes two months after the Senate acquitted Clinton on articles of impeachment alleging that he committed perjury in the criminal investigation by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr that grew out of the Jones civil case. The impeachment articles also alleged that Clinton sought to obstruct justice in the Jones case by arranging a job for Lewinsky and trying to coach other witnesses to testify falsely.

    The conduct targeted by Wright concerns a charge approved by the House Judiciary Committee but defeated by the full House as it voted to impeach Clinton: that the president lied under oath in the civil lawsuit.

    With the Senate’s acquittal, Clinton has sought to put the impeachment proceedings behind him and obtain a measure of vindication. Wright’s action yesterday adds the weight of judicial authority to those who contend that Clinton lied under oath and undermines his assertion that he tried to be evasive and misleading, but steered clear of outright lies, in what he thought was a politically inspired lawsuit.

    “This is an unfortunate mark against Clinton as a person, because this is a taint on his integrity,” said William and Mary law professor Michael Gerhardt, an expert on the impeachment process. “It obviously could have further implications for his legacy. It might have implications for him as a lawyer.”

    In finding that Clinton deliberately lied in the Jones deposition and his written answers to questions posed by her lawyers, Wright ordered Clinton to pay “any reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees, caused by his willful failure to obey this court’s discovery orders.” Wright also said Clinton should repay the $1,202 she incurred in traveling to Washington at Clinton’s request to oversee the deposition and said she was referring the matter to state judicial authorities in Arkansas who could disbar Clinton for violating the legal profession’s rules of conduct.

  2. colnago80 says

    Re Dano @ #1

    None of this crap has any relevance. The fact is that there was no crime to investigate in the first place relative to the Lewinsky scandal. The entire episode was due to then Attorney General Janet Reno hastily appointing a special prosecutor, one Ken Starr, a right wing fascist ratfucker, without conducting any investigation as to whether any law might have been broken. This was a manufactured scandal that was exacerbated by the activities of fascist ratfucker Congressman Tom Delay, who was the Rethuglican House majority leader at the time who conjured up a phoney impeachment investigation. Of course, Delay was later forced to resign his seat in Congress after his indictment for conspiracy to violate election laws. He was convicted but later the conviction was overturned by his asshole buddies on the appeals court.

    We are seeing a repeat of the Rethuglican dirty tricks in the proposed investigation of what happened in Benghazi, which is nothing but an attempt by the Rethuglican tea baggers to embarrass former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and possibly support a trumped up charge to impeach the incumbent president. If Obama should be impeached for Benghazi, George W. Bush should have been impeached a hundred times for his dereliction of duty in ignoring intelligence provided by Richard Clarke relative to an impending terrorist attack in the US. The predicted attack took place on September 11, 2001, taking the lives of some 800 times the number of Americans killed at Benghazi. Had the Bush Administration listened to Richard Clarke, the 9/11 attack might have been stopped. We might also add that, if Obama should be impeached for Benghazi, Ronnie the rat should have been impeached for the loss of 250 marines at the barracks in Beirut.

  3. Al Dente says

    The whole Whitewater “scandal” started with a failed land deal and ended with Clinton lying about having sex with a consenting adult. Starr and the Republicans wasted $65 million+ to show that Bill Clinton sometimes thinks with his little head instead of his big head.

  4. AsqJames says

    a consensual affair between two adults

    Not sure I agree with this framing. It appears to put the two people (the President of the US and an unpaid intern in her early 20s) on an equal footing and assign equal responsibility to each for their actions. I don’t think that’s the case, and I think Mano, if you considered your own position in a comparable situation, you’d behave very differently to Bill Clinton.

    The power differential would be vastly less, but if a young graduate student started flirting or outright advertising her sexual availability to you, what do you think your own responsibilities would be? Let’s ignore for the moment the distinct possibility Clinton was the instigator (which would increase his responsibility), when such a disparity in position, authority and maturity exists between two people, the standards we hold them to should be different too.

    The sexual relationship may not be a crime, it may not even be workplace harassment if it is welcomed by both participants, but it is unethical. If I thought for a minute you might take advantage of such a situation, my estimation of you would drop significantly, but if your writing reflects your character at all (as I’m sure it does), you would decline such advances and probably help your student see that such behaviour may compromise her, or even place her in danger, in future.

    If I, and I’m sure your university, expects such ethical conduct from professors, how can we expect less of our most powerful government officials?

  5. jamessweet says

    I gotta agree with AsqJames, and to a certain extent, with dano. There is little doubt that the direction the story took was sensationalist and lurid, and that the impeachment proceedings were a misuse of that process. But a “non-story”? I don’t think so. It appears Bill Clinton had a pretty solid history of sexual harassment, which probably fell short of criminal, but was also probably enough to get you (at the VERY least) a stern talking to by HR at a lot of today’s corporations — if not enough to get you canned. (We don’t fire presidents for the same reasons we fire middle managers, for better or worse, so the impeachment proceedings were still pretty inappropriate IMO… but it was a story that needed reporting, and some form of censure would probably have been totally appropriate)

  6. Mano Singham says

    @AsqJames and jamesweet,

    Monica Lewinsky has always maintained, and still does, that the affair was consensual and we have to take her at her word. While we have to make sure that people are not victimized, I also don’t want to deny them their sense of agency, that they can make decisions for themselves.

    I agree that there are many reasons why Bill Clinton should not have engaged in it for the reasons you cite, even if Lewinsky had made the initial overtures. Those in positions of authority over others (and the professor-student relationship is similar) should go out of their way to avoid even the semblance that they might be exercising coercive power over the subordinate and for that reason alone Clinton should have steered clear of her.

    I remember once a student, who had come to me for a lot of help during the semester, thanking me after the course ended for being so ‘professional’. I accepted the compliment though at that instant I was puzzled by what she might have meant by using that strange word, rather than saying that I was helpful or something similar. It was only later that I realized that she might have been the recipient of unwanted sexual attention from other professors and was relieved not to have had to deal with that from me.

  7. colnago80 says

    Re #5 &#6

    I don’t think that anyone thinks that Clinton’s sexual adventures were at all appropriate. However, a little history is in order. John Kennedy’s sexual adventures were far more serious then Clinton’s. Kennedy had prostitutes brought in off the streets of DC to service his desires. In addition, he had an affair with the girlfriend of a Mafia don in addition to him and his brother Robert having affairs with Marilyn Monroe. Lyndon Johnson was also noted as a two fisted womanizer. Franklin D. Roosevelt died in the arms of his mistress, Lucy Mercer. Although it didn’t occur during his presidency, Eisenhower had a wartime affair in Britain with Kay Summersby. Then there was George H. W. Bush’s affairs with the singer Jayne Morgan in the 1960s and his affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald during his presidency. And of course, the affair that Thomas Jefferson had with his slave, Sally Hemmings, although, in fairness, he was a widower at the time and Hemmings was his wife’s 1/2 sister.

    The bottom line here is that, to this day, there has not been the slightest indication that any crime was committed in the Clinton/Lewinsky affair until Clinton prevaricated under oath, an offense that was manufactured by the various investigations were totally off the wall and totally uncalled for.

  8. says

    A federal judge yesterday held President Clinton in contempt of court for giving “intentionally false” testimony about his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky in the Paula Jones lawsuit…

    No one had any fucking business asking Clinton about Lewinsky in the first place. It was never relevant to any legitimate investigation of anything Clinton did. It was nothing but a fishing expedition led by people who knew their original cases were bullshit and well on their way down the toilet.

    Clinton’s worst mistake was not refusing to answer those questions in the first place.

    PS: Wow, dano, you seem really upset about Clinton’s sex life. Still. I’d hate to see how much more upset you are about, say, an unnecessary war of aggression that actually got lots of Americans KILLED.

  9. says

    Not sure I agree with this framing.

    Monica was working in a town full of lawyers, and Republicans who would gladly have supported her if she wanted to fight off Clinton’s advances. And she was educated enough to know this. Also, after being a White House intern, she would have been able to quit and get another decent job. There’s ZERO evidence of harassment or coercion on Clinton’s part, so Clinton is still innocent until proven guilty. End of fucking story.

  10. colnago80 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #9

    I bet that ole Dano the dunce is not in the least upset about Linda Tripp”s illegal taping of her conversations with Monica. The taping was done in Maryland which requires both parties to be award of a conversation being taped.

  11. dano says

    @11 colnago8

    I got everything out in my first post. Thank you
    It is interesting that in all my posts I have never sworn or called people names as I rteat everyone the same whether they are friend or foe yet how quickly others do so to me. It has been pointed out many times on this forum how the average atheist is of higher intelligence than the average religious believer but perhaps with this greater intelligence comes the lack of courtesy and respect for others. Perhaps God intended it this way to even things out. To all on this forum please have a blessed day.

  12. colnago80 says

    Re dano @ #12

    Hey Dano, you have to earn respect and thus far, you have failed in that endeavor. Being a shill for the teabaggers is not the way to accomplish this. The Internet is a tough place where no quarter is asked or given. As former President Truman once remarked, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I have been called a lot worse then dunce by other commentors on this blog, including by our distinguished host. I am of the school that sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

  13. says

    It is interesting that in all my posts I have never sworn or called people names as I rteat everyone the same …

    So what? You’re still dead wrong, and you’re still banging on about a totally harmless event that happened over fourteen years ago. You acted like an obsessed small-minded idiot, and we don’t give cookies to idiots and liars just for not swearing.

  14. dano says

    I find it typical that a bully on the internet is usually a short & quiet person and that if you met them in real life they would never have the gall to say it to your face. Funny! No harm no fowl but rather just an interesting observation.

  15. Mano Singham says

    @colnago80 #13,

    I am curious. What are the ‘lot worse’ names than dunce that I have supposedly called you?

  16. says

    I find it typical that a bully on the internet is usually a short & quiet person…

    Is that what you “find,” or what you imagine?

  17. dano says

    @17, Mano you have been very professional although I can’t say that for others.
    @18, I have met many internet bullies or wise crackers before from other forums and in fact I find it 100% true.

    Have a blessed day.

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