As required by Section 595(c) of Title 28 of the United States Code,
the Office of the Independent Counsel ("OIC" or "Office")
hereby submits substantial and credible information that President William
Jefferson Clinton committed acts that may constitute grounds for an
The information reveals that President Clinton:
lied under oath at a civil deposition while he was a defendant in a
sexual harassment lawsuit;
lied under oath to a grand jury;
attempted to influence the testimony of a potential witness who had
direct knowledge of facts that would reveal the falsity of his deposition
attempted to obstruct justice by facilitating a witness's plan to
refuse to comply with a subpoena;
attempted to obstruct justice by encouraging a witness to file an
affidavit that the President knew would be false, and then by making use
of that false affidavit at his own deposition;
lied to potential grand jury witnesses, knowing that they would repeat
those lies before the grand jury; and
engaged in a pattern of conduct that was inconsistent with his
constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws.
The evidence shows that these acts, and others, were part of a pattern
that began as an effort to prevent the disclosure of information about the
President's relationship with a former White House intern and employee,
Monica S. Lewinsky, and continued as an effort to prevent the information
from being disclosed in an ongoing criminal investigation. Factual Background
In May 1994, Paula Corbin Jones filed a lawsuit against William
Jefferson Clinton in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Arkansas.(2) Ms. Jones
alleged that while he was the Governor of Arkansas, President Clinton
sexually harassed her during an incident in a Little Rock hotel room.(3)
President Clinton denied the allegations. He also challenged the ability
of a private litigant to pursue a lawsuit against a sitting President. In
May 1997, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the President's legal
argument. The Court concluded that Ms. Jones, "[l]ike every other
citizen who properly invokes [the District Court's] jurisdiction . . . has
a right to an orderly disposition of her claims," and that therefore
Ms. Jones was entitled to pursue her claims while the President was in
office.(4) A few months later, the
pretrial discovery process began.(5)
One sharply disputed issue in the Jones litigation was the
extent to which the President would be required to disclose information
about sexual relationships he may have had with "other women."
Ms. Jones's attorneys sought disclosure of this information, arguing that
it was relevant to proving that the President had propositioned Ms. Jones.
The President resisted the discovery requests, arguing that evidence of
relationships with other women (if any) was irrelevant.
In late 1997, the issue was presented to United States District Judge
Susan Webber Wright for resolution. Judge Wright's decision was
unambiguous. For purposes of pretrial discovery, President Clinton was
required to provide certain information about his alleged relationships
with other women. In an order dated December 11, 1997, for example, Judge
Wright said: "The Court finds, therefore, that the plaintiff is
entitled to information regarding any individuals with whom the President
had sexual relations or proposed or sought to have sexual relations and
who were during the relevant time frame state or federal employees."(6)
Judge Wright left for another day the issue whether any information of
this type would be admissible were the case to go to trial. But for
purposes of answering the written questions served on the President, and
for purposes of answering questions at a deposition, the District Court
ruled that the President must respond.
In mid-December 1997, the President answered one of the written
discovery questions posed by Ms. Jones on this issue. When asked to
identify all women who were state or federal employees and with whom he
had had "sexual relations" since 1986,(7)
the President answered under oath: "None."(8)
For purposes of this interrogatory, the term "sexual relations"
was not defined.
On January 17, 1998, President Clinton was questioned under oath about
his relationships with other women in the workplace, this time at a
deposition. Judge Wright presided over the deposition. The President was
asked numerous questions about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, by
then a 24-year-old former White House intern, White House employee, and
Pentagon employee. Under oath and in the presence of Judge Wright, the
President denied that he had engaged in a "sexual affair," a "sexual
relationship," or "sexual relations" with Ms. Lewinsky. The
President also stated that he had no specific memory of having been alone
with Ms. Lewinsky, that he remembered few details of any gifts they might
have exchanged, and indicated that no one except his attorneys had kept
him informed of Ms. Lewinsky's status as a potential witness in the Jones
case. The Investigation
On January 12, 1998, this Office received information that Monica
Lewinsky was attempting to influence the testimony of one of the witnesses
in the Jones litigation, and that Ms. Lewinsky herself was
prepared to provide false information under oath in that lawsuit. The OIC
was also informed that Ms. Lewinsky had spoken to the President and the
President's close friend Vernon Jordan about being subpoenaed to testify
in the Jones suit, and that Vernon Jordan and others were helping
her find a job. The allegations with respect to Mr. Jordan and the job
search were similar to ones already under review in the ongoing Whitewater
After gathering preliminary evidence to test the information's
reliability, the OIC presented the evidence to Attorney General Janet
Reno. Based on her review of the information, the Attorney General
determined that a further investigation by the Independent Counsel was
On the following day, Attorney General Reno petitioned the Special
Division of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit, on an expedited basis, to expand the jurisdiction of
Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr. On January 16, 1998, in response to
the Attorney General's request, the Special Division issued an order that
provides in pertinent part:
The Independent Counsel shall have jurisdiction and authority to
investigate to the maximum extent authorized by the Independent Counsel
Reauthorization Act of 1994 whether Monica Lewinsky or others suborned
perjury, obstructed justice, intimidated witnesses, or otherwise violated
federal law other than a Class B or C misdemeanor or infraction in dealing
with witnesses, potential witnesses, attorneys, or others concerning the
civil case Jones v. Clinton.(10)
On January 28, 1998, after the allegations about the President's
relationship with Ms. Lewinsky became public, the OIC filed a Motion for
Limited Intervention and a Stay of Discovery in Jones v. Clinton.
The OIC argued that the civil discovery process should be halted because
it was having a negative effect on the criminal investigation. The OIC
represented to the Court that numerous individuals then under subpoena in
Jones, including Monica Lewinsky, were integral to the OIC's
investigation, and that courts routinely stayed discovery in such
The next day Judge Wright responded to the OIC's motion. The Court
ruled that discovery would be permitted to continue, except to the extent
that it sought information about Monica Lewinsky. The Court acknowledged
that "evidence concerning Monica Lewinsky might be relevant to the
issues in [the Jones] case."(12)
It concluded, however, that this evidence was not "essential to the
core issues in this case," and that some of that evidence "might
even be inadmissible."(13) The
Court found that the potential value of this evidence was outweighed by
the potential delay to the Jones case in continuing to seek
discovery about Ms. Lewinsky.(14) The
Court also was concerned that the OIC's investigation "could be
impaired and prejudiced were the Court to permit inquiry into the Lewinsky
matter by the parties in this civil case."(15)
On March 9, 1998, Judge Wright denied Ms. Jones's motion for
reconsideration of the decision regarding Monica Lewinsky. The order
The Court readily acknowledges that evidence of the Lewinsky matter
might have been relevant to plaintiff's case and, as she argues, that such
evidence might possibly have helped her establish, among other things,
intent, absence of mistake, motive, and habit on the part of the
President. . . . Nevertheless, whatever relevance such evidence may
otherwise have . . . it simply is not essential to the core issues in this
case . . . .(16)
On April 1, 1998, Judge Wright granted President Clinton's motion for
summary judgment, concluding that even if the facts alleged by Paula Jones
were true, her claims failed as a matter of law.(17)
Ms. Jones has filed an appeal, and as of the date of this Referral, the
matter remains under consideration by the United States Court of Appeals
for the Eighth Circuit.
After the dismissal of Ms. Jones's lawsuit, the criminal investigation
continued. It was (and is) the view of this Office that any attempt to
obstruct the proper functioning of the judicial system, regardless of the
perceived merits of the underlying case, is a serious matter that warrants
further inquiry. After careful consideration of all the evidence, the OIC
has concluded that the evidence of wrongdoing is substantial and credible,
and that the wrongdoing is of sufficient gravity that it warrants referral
to Congress.(18) The Significance of the Evidence of
It is not the role of this Office to determine whether the President's
actions warrant impeachment by the House and removal by the Senate; those
judgments are, of course, constitutionally entrusted to the legislative
branch.(19) This Office is authorized,
rather, to conduct criminal investigations and to seek criminal
prosecutions for matters within its jurisdiction.(20)
In carrying out its investigation, however, this Office also has a
statutory duty to disclose to Congress information that "may
constitute grounds for an impeachment," a task that inevitably
requires judgment about the seriousness of the acts revealed by the
From the beginning, this phase of the OIC's investigation has been
criticized as an improper inquiry into the President's personal behavior;
indeed, the President himself suggested that specific inquiries into his
conduct were part of an effort to "criminalize my private life."(21)
The regrettable fact that the investigation has often required witnesses
to discuss sensitive personal matters has fueled this perception.
All Americans, including the President, are entitled to enjoy a private
family life, free from public or governmental scrutiny. But the privacy
concerns raised in this case are subject to limits, three of which we
briefly set forth here.
First. The first limit was imposed when the President was sued
in federal court for alleged sexual harassment. The evidence in such
litigation is often personal. At times, that evidence is highly
embarrassing for both plaintiff and defendant. As Judge Wright noted at
the President's January 1998 deposition, "I have never had a sexual
harassment case where there was not some embarrassment."(22)
Nevertheless, Congress and the Supreme Court have concluded that
embarrassment-related concerns must give way to the greater interest in
allowing aggrieved parties to pursue their claims. Courts have long
recognized the difficulties of proving sexual harassment in the workplace,
inasmuch as improper or unlawful behavior often takes place in private.(23)
To excuse a party who lied or concealed evidence on the ground that the
evidence covered only "personal" or "private" behavior
would frustrate the goals that Congress and the courts have sought to
achieve in enacting and interpreting the Nation's sexual harassment laws.
That is particularly true when the conduct that is being concealed --
sexual relations in the workplace between a high official and a young
subordinate employee -- itself conflicts with those goals.
Second. The second limit was imposed when Judge Wright required
disclosure of the precise information that is in part the subject of this
Referral. A federal judge specifically ordered the President, on more than
one occasion, to provide the requested information about relationships
with other women, including Monica Lewinsky. The fact that Judge Wright
later determined that the evidence would not be admissible at trial, and
still later granted judgment in the President's favor, does not change the
President's legal duty at the time he testified. Like every litigant, the
President was entitled to object to the discovery questions, and to seek
guidance from the court if he thought those questions were improper. But
having failed to convince the court that his objections were well founded,
the President was duty bound to testify truthfully and fully. Perjury and
attempts to obstruct the gathering of evidence can never be an acceptable
response to a court order, regardless of the eventual course or outcome of
The Supreme Court has spoken forcefully about perjury and other forms
of obstruction of justice:
In this constitutional process of securing a witness' testimony,
perjury simply has no place whatever. Perjured testimony is an obvious and
flagrant affront to the basic concepts of judicial proceedings. Effective
restraints against this type of egregious offense are therefore
The insidious effects of perjury occur whether the case is civil or
criminal. Only a few years ago, the Supreme Court considered a false
statement made in a civil administrative proceeding: "False testimony
in a formal proceeding is intolerable. We must neither reward nor condone
such a 'flagrant affront' to the truth-seeking function of adversary
proceedings. . . . Perjury should be severely sanctioned in appropriate
cases."(25) Stated more simply, "[p]erjury
is an obstruction of justice."(26)
Third. The third limit is unique to the President. "The
Presidency is more than an executive responsibility. It is the inspiring
symbol of all that is highest in American purpose and ideals."(27)
When he took the Oath of Office in 1993 and again in 1997, President
Clinton swore that he would "faithfully execute the Office of
President."(28) As the head of the
Executive Branch, the President has the constitutional duty to "take
Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."(29)
The President gave his testimony in the Jones case under oath and
in the presence of a federal judge, a member of a co-equal branch of
government; he then testified before a federal grand jury, a body of
citizens who had themselves taken an oath to seek the truth. In view of
the enormous trust and responsibility attendant to his high Office, the
President has a manifest duty to ensure that his conduct at all times
complies with the law of the land.
In sum, perjury and acts that obstruct justice by any citizen --
whether in a criminal case, a grand jury investigation, a congressional
hearing, a civil trial, or civil discovery -- are profoundly serious
matters. When such acts are committed by the President of the United
States, we believe those acts "may constitute grounds for an
impeachment." The Scope of the Referral
1. Background of the Investigation. The
link between the OIC's jurisdiction -- as it existed at the end of 1997
-- and the matters set forth in this Referral is complex but direct. In
January 1998, Linda Tripp, a witness in three ongoing OIC
investigations, came forward with allegations that: (i) Monica Lewinsky
was planning to commit perjury in Jones v. Clinton, and (ii) she
had asked Ms. Tripp to do the same. Ms. Tripp also stated that: (i)
Vernon Jordan had counseled Ms. Lewinsky and helped her obtain legal
representation in the Jones case, and (ii) at the same time, Mr.
Jordan was helping Ms. Lewinsky obtain employment in the private sector.
OIC investigators and prosecutors recognized parallels between Mr.
Jordan's relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and his earlier relationship with
a pivotal Whitewater-Madison figure, Webster L. Hubbell. Prior to January
1998, the OIC possessed evidence that Vernon Jordan -- along with other
high-level associates of the President and First Lady -- helped Mr.
Hubbell obtain lucrative consulting contracts while he was a potential
witness and/or subject in the OIC's ongoing investigation. This assistance
took place, moreover, while Mr. Hubbell was a target of a separate
criminal investigation into his own conduct. The OIC also possessed
evidence that the President and the First Lady knew and approved of the
Specifically, in the wake of his April 1994 resignation from the
Justice Department, Mr. Hubbell launched a private consulting practice in
Washington, D.C. In the startup process, Mr. Hubbell received substantial
aid from important public and private figures. On the day prior to Mr.
Hubbell announcing his resignation, White House Chief of Staff Thomas "Mack"
McLarty attended a meeting at the White House with the President, First
Lady, and others, where Mr. Hubbell's resignation was a topic of
At some point after the White House meeting, Mr. McLarty spoke with
Vernon Jordan about Mr. Jordan's assistance to Mr. Hubbell. Mr.
Jordan introduced Mr. Hubbell to senior executives at New York-based
MacAndrews & Forbes Holding Co. Mr. Jordan is a director of
Revlon, Inc., a company controlled by MacAndrews & Forbes. The
introduction was successful; MacAndrews & Forbes retained Mr. Hubbell
at a rate of $25,000 per quarter. Vernon Jordan informed President Clinton
that he was helping Mr. Hubbell.(31)
By late 1997, this Office was investigating whether a relationship
existed between consulting payments to Mr. Hubbell and his lack of
cooperation (specifically, his incomplete testimony) with the OIC's
investigation.(32) In particular, the
OIC was investigating whether Mr. Hubbell concealed information about
certain core Arkansas matters, namely, the much-publicized Castle Grande
real estate project and related legal work by the Rose Law Firm, including
the First Lady.
Against this background, the OIC considered the January 1998
allegations that: (i) Ms. Lewinsky was prepared to lie in order to benefit
the President, and (ii) Vernon Jordan was assisting Ms. Lewinsky in the
Jones litigation, while simultaneously helping her apply for a
private-sector job with, among others, Revlon, Inc.
Based in part on these similarities, the OIC undertook a preliminary
investigation. On January 15, 1998, this Office informed the Justice
Department of the results of our inquiry. The Attorney General immediately
applied to the Special Division of the Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit for an expansion of the OIC's jurisdiction. The
Special Division granted this request and authorized the OIC to determine
whether Monica Lewinsky or others had violated federal law in connection
with the Jones v. Clinton case.
2. Current Status of the Investigation.
When the OIC's jurisdiction was expanded to cover the Lewinsky matter in
January 1998, several matters remained under active investigation by
this Office. Evidence was being gathered and evaluated on, among other
things, events related to the Rose Law Firm's representation of Madison
Guaranty Savings & Loan Association; events related to the firings
in the White House Travel Office; and events related to the use of FBI
files. Since the current phase of the investigation began, additional
events arising from the Lewinsky matter have also come under scrutiny,
including possible perjury and obstruction of justice related to former
White House volunteer Kathleen Willey, and the possible misuse of the
personnel records of Pentagon employee Linda Tripp.
From the outset, it was our strong desire to complete all phases of the
investigation before deciding whether to submit to Congress information --
if any -- that may constitute grounds for an impeachment. But events and
the statutory command of Section 595(c) have dictated otherwise. As the
investigation into the President's actions with respect to Ms. Lewinsky
and the Jones litigation progressed, it became apparent that there
was a significant body of substantial and credible information that met
the Section 595(c) threshold. As that phase of the investigation neared
completion, it also became apparent that a delay of this Referral until
the evidence from all phases of the investigation had been evaluated would
be unwise. Although Section 595(c) does not specify when information must
be submitted, its text strongly suggests that information of this type
belongs in the hands of Congress as soon as the Independent Counsel
determines that the information is reliable and substantially complete.
All phases of the investigation are now nearing completion. This Office
will soon make final decisions about what steps to take, if any, with
respect to the other information it has gathered. Those decisions will be
made at the earliest practical time, consistent with our statutory and
The Contents of the Referral
The Referral consists of several parts. Part One is a Narrative. It
begins with an overview of the information relevant to this investigation,
then sets forth that information in chronological sequence. A large part
of the Narrative is devoted to a description of the President's
relationship with Monica Lewinsky. The nature of the relationship was the
subject of many of the President's false statements, and his desire to
keep the relationship secret provides a motive for many of his actions
that apparently were designed to obstruct justice.
The Narrative is lengthy and detailed. It is the view of this Office
that the details are crucial to an informed evaluation of the testimony,
the credibility of witnesses, and the reliability of other evidence. Many
of the details reveal highly personal information; many are sexually
explicit. This is unfortunate, but it is essential. The President's
defense to many of the allegations is based on a close parsing of the
definitions that were used to describe his conduct. We have, after careful
review, identified no manner of providing the information that reveals the
falsity of the President's statements other than to describe his conduct
Part Two of the Referral is entitled "Information that May
Constitute Grounds for An Impeachment." This "Grounds"
portion of the Referral summarizes the specific evidence that the
President lied under oath and attempted to obstruct justice. This Part is
designed to be understandable if read without the Narrative, although the
full context in which the potential grounds for impeachment arise can best
be understood if considered against the backdrop of information set forth
in Part One.
Several volumes accompany the Referral. The Appendix contains relevant
court orders, tables, a discussion of legal and evidentiary issues,
background information on the Jones litigation, a diagram of the
Oval Office, and other reference material. We next set forth a series of "Document
Supplements," which attempt to provide some of the most important
support material in an accessible format. Document Supplement A contains
transcripts of the President's deposition testimony and grand jury
testimony; Document Supplement B contains transcripts of Monica Lewinsky's
testimony and interview statements. Document Supplements C, D, and E set
forth the full text of the documents cited in the Referral. Although every
effort has been made to provide full and accurate quotations of witnesses
in their proper context, we urge review of the full transcripts of the
testimony cited below.
1. Section 595(c) of Title 28 of the United States
Code is part of the Ethics in Government Act. The section provides:
(c) Information relating to impeachment. --
An independent counsel shall advise the House of
Representatives of any substantial and credible information which such
independent counsel receives, in carrying out the independent counsel's
responsibilities under this chapter, that may constitute grounds for an
impeachment. Nothing in this chapter or section 49 of this title
[concerning the assignment of judges to the Special Division that
appoints an independent counsel] shall prevent the Congress or either
House thereof from obtaining information in the course of an impeachment
2. Ms. Jones also named Arkansas State Trooper
Danny Ferguson as a defendant. For a detailed background of the Jones
v. Clinton lawsuit, see the accompanying Appendix, Tab C.
3. In 1991, Ms. Jones was an employee of the
Arkansas Industrial Development Corporation. Ms. Jones alleged that while
at work at a meeting at the Excelsior Hotel that day, she was invited into
a hotel room with Governor Clinton, and that once she was there, the
Governor exposed his genitals and asked her to perform oral sex on him.
Ms. Jones alleged that she suffered various job detriments after refusing
Governor Clinton's advances. This Referral expresses no view on the
factual or legal merit, or lack thereof, of Ms. Jones's claims.
4. Jones v. Clinton, 117 S. Ct. 1636, 1652
5. The purpose of discovery in a civil lawsuit is "to
allow a broad search for facts, the names of witnesses, or any other
matters which may aid a party in the preparation or presentation of his
case." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 advisory committee notes (1946). The
discovery process allows the parties to obtain from their respective
opponents written answers to interrogatories, oral testimony in
depositions under oath, documents, and other tangible items so long as the
information sought "appears reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of admissible evidence." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1).
6. 921-DC-00000461 (Dec. 11, 1997 Order at 3).
Similarly, in a December 18, 1997 Order, Judge Wright noted that "the
issue [was] one of discovery, not admissibility of evidence at trial.
Discovery, as all counsel know, by its very nature takes unforeseen twists
and turns and goes down numerous paths, and whether those paths lead to
the discovery of admissible evidence often simply cannot be predetermined."
1414-DC-00001012-13 (Dec. 18, 1997 Order at 7-8).
7. V002-DC-00000020 (President Clinton's Responses
to Plaintiff's Second Set of Interrogatories at 5).
8. V002-DC-00000053 (President Clinton's
Supplemental Responses to Plaintiff's Second Set of Interrogatories at 2).
During discovery in a civil lawsuit, the parties must answer written
questions ("interrogatories") that are served on them by their
opponent. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33. The answering party must sign a statement
under penalty of perjury attesting to the truthfulness of the answers.
9. For a brief discussion of the scope of the OIC's
jurisdiction, see "The Scope of the Referral," below.
10. The full text of the Special Division's Order
is set forth in the Appendix, Tab A.
11. Jones v. Clinton, Motion of the United
States for Limited Intervention and a Stay of Discovery, at 6. The overlap
in the proceedings was significant. Witnesses called before the grand jury
in the criminal investigation had been subpoenaed by both parties to the
civil case; defendant's counsel had subpoenaed information from the OIC;
and the plaintiff's attorneys had subpoenaed documents directly related to
the criminal matter.
12. Jones v. Clinton, Order, Jan. 29,
1998, at 2.
14. Id. at 2-3.
15. Id. at 3.
16. Jones v. Clinton, 993 F. Supp. 1217,
1222 (E.D. Ark. 1998) (footnote and emphasis omitted).
17. Jones v. Clinton, 990 F. Supp. 657,
679 (E.D. Ark. 1998).
18. In the course of its investigation, the OIC
gathered information from a variety of sources, including the testimony of
witnesses before the grand jury. Normally a federal prosecutor is
prohibited by Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure from
disclosing grand jury material, unless it obtains permission from a court
or is otherwise authorized by law to do so. This Office concluded that the
statutory obligation of disclosure imposed on an Independent Counsel by 28
U.S.C. §595(c) grants such authority. Nevertheless, out of an
abundance of caution, the OIC obtained permission from the Special
Division to disclose grand jury material as appropriate in carrying out
its statutory duty. A copy of the disclosure order entered by the Special
Division is set forth in the Appendix, Tab B. We also advised Chief Judge
Norma Holloway Johnson, who supervises the principal grand jury in this
matter, of our determination on that issue.
19. U.S. Const., art. I, § 2, cl. 5; art. I, §
3, cl. 6.
20. 28 U.S.C. § 594(a).
21. Before the grand jury, the President refused
to answer certain questions about his conduct with Ms. Lewinsky on the
ground that he believed the inquiries were unnecessary "and . . . I
think, frankly, go too far in trying to criminalize my private life."
Clinton 8/17/98 GJ at 94.
Others have argued that alleged "lies about sex" have nothing
to do with the President's performance in office, and thus, are
inconsequential. Former White House Counsel Jack Quinn articulated this
This is a matter of sex between consenting adults, and the question of
whether or not one or the other was truthful about it. . . . This doesn't
go to the question of his conduct in office. And, in that sense, it's
John F. Harris, "In Political Washington, A Confession Consensus,"
Washington Post, Aug. 4, 1998, at A1 (quoting Quinn's statement on
CBS's "Face the Nation").
The President echoed this theme in his address to the Nation on August
17, 1998, following his grand jury testimony:
. . . I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It's nobody's
business but ours. Even Presidents have private lives. It is time to stop
the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and
get on with our national life.
Testing of a President: In His Own Words, Last Night's Address, The
New York Times, Aug. 18, 1998, at A12.
22. Clinton 1/17/98 Depo. at 9. As two
commentators have noted: "[T]o the extent that discovery is permitted
with respect to the sexual activities of either the complainant o