During an emotional press conference about her battle with ovarian cancer, Hillary Clinton detailed for the first time how she learned about her husband’s extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky.
After Mrs. Clinton’s emotional speech on Saturday, which included details about how her late mother Dorothy Rodham helped her through her cancer fight, reporters asked about a 1997 conference she had conducted with Rep. and later Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and left unnamed staffers behind.
“One of the staff members asked if we would be interested in speaking about this. I said, ‘Only if I am interviewed,’” she said.
According to the transcript of the conference, one of the Clinton staff members is reported to have told Mrs. Clinton that a member of the public had approached Bill Clinton about his extramarital affair with Lewinsky. A second unnamed staff member reportedly said that they had heard of the relationship while vacationing on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Mrs. Clinton said the moment she found out about the allegations happened on a plane ride from Washington to Los Angeles.
The former secretary of state recalled how she called the woman to ask the woman to not go public. The woman allegedly told Mrs. Clinton that she would not stop speaking out.
“It is a terrible thing to do to the president and the American people, to even suggest that there was any ambiguity,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I believe that it would not have been good for Hillary and I to have known about this, and particularly because she then went through a confirmation process, a very harrowing one, being tarred and feathered for this.”
Mrs. Clinton added that her husband addressed the affair through an interview and testimony before the grand jury. Clinton reportedly paid for legal costs related to the affair and even said the former president would appear before the same grand jury when they were reconvened to investigate the assault against President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“The truth was I had not made a decision yet about whether I could do that, but when he, because of his position and because he was prepared to do it, came up before the grand jury again, you know, and testified about the Paula Jones situation … it was pretty emotional for him, as it was for me. He agreed to come in and he did. But in the days before he did so, I again consulted with him and with my staff, and we decided together. He continued to be our president, and I would continue to be secretary of state, and he’d continue to perform his functions as our president as he had been in the past,” she said.
Mrs. Clinton said that one of the members of the media covering the Clinton administration responded to the news by saying, “Now we get back to business.” She said her staff was in a position to know about the affair because Lewinsky was supposed to be somewhere among their staff.
“At the time, my staff was aware of what was going on,” she said. “I don’t know, maybe it was something that was going on. I don’t know. But they were conscious of it, they were very aware of it and very aware of everything that was going on. They were so aware of everything going on that they could hear the conversation at my hotel room.”
In total, she said it was “one of the most difficult days of my life.”
“I’m still not over it,” she said.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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