This chapter will examine Clinton’s discourse subsequent to allegations that he had engaged in an improper sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Above and beyond the moral impropriety involved were accusations that Clinton may have committed perjury, suborned perjury, and obstructed justice in connection with the alleged affair. This blossomed into an impeachment inquiry, indicating the gravity of these charges.
The accusations will be detailed, followed by an analysis of Clinton’s remarks in each of his major responses to the allegations. Finally, an evaluation of his entire set of discourse will be offered, employing external data as well as internal rhetorical standards.
In January 1998, Whitewater Special Counsel Kenneth Starr requested and received permission from Attorney General Janet Reno to expand his investigation. The issue at hand was whether Clinton had engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and lied about that relationship in a legal deposition with Paula Jones’ attorneys. Moreover, it was alleged that Clinton and/or his friend Vernon Jordan had suborned perjury by encouraging Lewinsky to lie about the affair under oath. Moreover, Starr charged that Clinton may have obstructed justice by requesting the return of gifts he allegedly gave Lewinsky (Froomkin, 1998a).