Lewinsky's Gifts Included a Mug with `Santa Monica' Label

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 12, 1998 | Go to article overview

Lewinsky's Gifts Included a Mug with `Santa Monica' Label


Excerpts from the official text of the report to Congress by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr:

GIFTS

Ms. Lewinsky and the president exchanged numerous gifts. By her estimate, she gave him about 30 items, and he gave her about 18. Ms. Lewinsky's first gift to him was a matted poem given by her and other White House interns to commemorate "National Boss Day," October 24, 1995. . . . On November 20 - five days after the intimate relationship began, according to Ms. Lewinsky - she gave him a necktie. . . . According to Ms. Lewinsky, the president telephoned the night she gave him the tie, then sent her a photo of himself wearing it. .

. .

Many of the 30 or so gifts that she gave the president reflected his interests in history, antiques, cigars, and frogs. Ms. Lewinsky gave him, among other things, six neckties, an antique paperweight showing the White House, a silver tabletop holder for cigars or cigarettes, a pair of sunglasses, a casual shirt, a mug emblazoned "Santa Monica," a frog figurine, a letter opener depicting a frog, several novels, a humorous book of quotations, and several antique books. He gave her, among other things, a hat pin, two brooches, a blanket, a marble bear figurine, and a special edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

Ms. Lewinsky construed it as a sign of affection when the president wore a necktie or other item of clothing she had given him. . . . The president was aware of her reaction, according to Ms. Lewinsky, and he would sometimes wear one of the items to reassure her - occasionally on the day they were scheduled to meet or the day after they had met in person or talked by telephone. . . . The president would sometimes say to her, "Did you see I wore your tie the other day?"

In his grand jury testimony, the president acknowledged that he had exchanged a number of gifts with Ms. Lewinsky. After their intimate relationship ended in 1997, he testified, "She continued to give me gifts. And I felt that it was a right thing to do to give her gifts back." . . .

SECRECY: MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING

Both Ms. Lewinsky and the president testified that they took steps to maintain the secrecy of the relationship. According to Ms. Lewinsky, the president from the outset stressed the importance of keeping the relationship secret. In her handwritten statement to this Office, Ms. Lewinsky wrote that "the president told Ms. L to deny a relationship, if ever asked about it. He also said something to the effect of if the two people who are involved say it didn't happen - it didn't happen." According to Ms. Lewinsky, the president sometimes asked if she had told anyone about their sexual relationship or about the gifts they had exchanged; she (falsely) assured him that she had not. She told him that "I would always deny it, I would always protect him," and he responded approvingly. The two of them had, in her words, "a mutual understanding" that they would "keep this private, so that meant deny it and . . . take whatever appropriate steps needed to be taken." When she and the president both were subpoenaed to testify in the Jones case, Ms. Lewinsky anticipated that "as we had on every other occasion and every other instance of this relationship, we would deny it."

In his grand jury testimony, the president confirmed his efforts to keep their liaisons secret. He said he did not want the facts of their relationship to be disclosed "in any context," and added: "I certainly didn't want this to come out, if I could help it. And I was concerned about that. I was embarrassed about it. I knew it was wrong." Asked if he wanted to avoid having the facts come out through Ms. Lewinsky's testimony in Jones, he said: "Well, I did not want her to have to testify and go through that. And, of course, I didn't want her to do that, of course not."

COVER STORIES

For her visits to see the president, according to Ms. …

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