Did the Clinton and Lewinsky cigar episode really happen?

Although I’ve heard reference to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair many times in my life (especially this past election year), it wasn’t until recently I’ve heard about the cigar. It was brought up during a conversation where two individuals were arguing over whether the events that supposedly occurred involving the cigar actually took place or was just discussed by Clinton and Lewinsky during some Oval Office dirty talk. If anyone would be willing to separate fact from fiction on this one, I’d be grateful. (Truthfully, I’m concerned about the rabbit hole my search history would turn into if I extensively went into looking up presidential cigar antics.)

MARCH 31, 1996

On this occasion, according to Ms. Lewinsky, “he focused on me pretty exclusively,” kissing her bare breasts and fondling her genitals. At one point, the President inserted a cigar into Ms. Lewinsky’s vagina, then put the cigar in his mouth and said: “It tastes good.” After they were finished, Ms. Lewinsky left the Oval Office and walked through the Rose Garden.

This is from : http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/time/1998/09/14/affair.state.html

But yeah, their relationship was kind of lame. They never had intercourse, and according to Monica, the President managed to have an orgasm just once. Resulting in the infamous ‘blue dress’. Per her account, Monica wanted to do a lot more, but Bill mostly resisted her advances. Mostly.

It probably did, but really, it’s nobody’s business but theirs. That was the aspect that bothered me a lot, the notion that anybody’s sexual goings-on (as long as not of a true criminal nature, like child molestation or bodily injury) were fair game up to the point of impeaching a President for allegedly lying about such a thing. I’ve never bought into the notion that famous people have less rights of privacy than the rest of us just because they’re famous or hold high office or some other standing.

I don’t want to know what anyone is doing behind closed doors (with above caveat noted). Some matters are best left private.

I had to cover that during my DC reporting days. Yes, it happened. It all happened. I’ve seen the damn dress.

Not one of my career highlights, though I remain a Clinton fan to this day.

A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke. Usually.


I’d have to say that the smoke definitely got in his eyes with that one. :wink:

A superior and an underling having sexual activity in the workplace? That’s pretty much the textbook definition of sexual harassment, even if it is consensual. The power imbalance makes “consent” impossible to assess.

He was not impeached because he lied, he was impeached for lying to a grand jury (among other things). The subject of the lie is of lesser consequence.

What’s your source for these claims?

My recollection is that the notion that they never had intercourse was Bill’s claim, and was disputed by Monica. Bill’s version featured more prominently, because it was all that could be proven (and possibly because Monica didn’t want to testify against Bill anyway).

I could be wrong. But what’s your claim based on?

Remember the sequence of events:

Paula Jones sued Bill Clinton, alleging that while he was Governor of Arkansas and she was a state employee, he asked her for oral sex, and when she declined, her career stalled.

During the discovery phase of that lawsuit, she (well, her lawyers) questioned Clintoin under oath. They asked him if he had in fact asked Jones for oral sex. He denied it. They asked him if he had ever asked any subordinate for sex. He denied it. They asked him if he ever had sex with any subordinate employee. He denied it.

Note that these are the kinds of questions that any plaintiff in a employment sexual harassment suit would be permitted to ask. They might not all be admissible at trial, but for civil discovery, a deposition question or a written interrogatory does not have to elicit admissible evidence in its answer; it simply has to be “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” And in a civil trial, Jones certainly would have been entitled to bring up a pattern of Clinton’s having sex with subordinates in order to bolster her story that he asked her for sex.

When Clinton lied during the Jones deposition, the special prosecutor asked the grand jury to criminally investigate that act of perjury. So the grand jury asked Clinton if he ever had sexual relations with any employee, and he denied it. Then they asked him specifically if he had sexual relations with Lewinsky, and he denied it. But they asked that question already knowing the answer: Lewinsky had already turned over the semen-stained dress. So when he lied under oath to the grand jury, the perjury trap was complete.

So I understand your point about those matters being private . . . but surely if a woman sues a CEO for sexual harassment, you agree she should be able to inquire, under path, if anyone else experienced what she did, yes? That’s what happened here: Jones sued Clinton, and got him under oath lying. Things snowballed.

Of course, before answering those questions, he also asked for the definition of “sexual intercourse” the court was using, and the definition they gave him was laughably incomplete, and probably didn’t include the acts he performed.

Monica’s account, as referenced above. In her direct words, no, they didn’t have intercourse.

Can you link to that account?

FWIW, I don’t agree that she should be able to do this.

Sexual harassment is not rape. The victim of harassment has the choice to quit his or her job, and in America, we have decided that you do not have a right to keep your job - the employer can fire you for any reason at any time. And you can refuse to do anything you don’t want to do and quit at any time. Sure, in practice, most Americans have less than $1000 in savings and can’t really quit, but this is the fiction we have collectively decided to subscribe to.

It is de facto an employer making sex required to remain employed, and that part is a civil offense if proven in a court of law. It’s also not always even a matter that can be sued over, obviously a porn producer can require his employees to have sex as a condition of their continued employment.

Never mind. It’s here.

This is crucial. There were two different definitions. He was probably truthful in the Jones case. He may have not been truthful in the grand jury matter. But OTOH he was apparently trying to be “consistent” in his answers. Lawyers are really good at building traps by getting someone to make a statement and then shifting the terms so that making the same statement later is false or if you don’t make the same statement then that’s a problem.

As Bill Maher noted: We had a constitutional crisis over the difference between 3rd base and all the way.

The idea that it was legal to force a sitting President to testify about his sex life is amazing. But only for one side. No one would have thought to force Bush I to testify about his skeevy sex life.

One could say that it was close, but, no, cigar.

Apparently not in the slang sense. [spoiler]Although if they had, there may not have been any of the evidence remaining.

The things one learns from occasionally listening to Dan Savage. Sigh.

I’m posting from my phone so I can’t link to the definition. [/spoiler]

Can’t argue that, except to say there were questions that should never have been asked. In a general sense nothing he did was criminal so much as immoral and (for a POTUS) stupid beyond belief. Those grand jury proceedings were a slippery slope wherein, potentially, any citizen could wind up in the same situation. And one still wonders how much of this was vendetta, rather than a seeking of actual justice.

As for the superior/underling or boss/employee aspect…yep, that bothers me IF it was, in fact, sexual harassment, which by nature should include some kind of real act or suggestion of coersion. I can’t argue that the situation is, most of the time, inappropriate, to say the least. But there are circumstances where a boss and someone (ahem) under them get together consensually and since it’s Ok with both parties (regardless of what other relationships they might also have going), I find it easier to argue the moral dubiousness rather than a legal one.

Paula Jones made some compelling arguments, but the way I see it, if you’ve been really wronged, you have to speak up right away, as difficult and risky as it might be. I know this is tough for a lady to do, but the longer she waits to make her claims, the less weight those claims usually have. Lest anyone forget this, consider Bill Cosby’s situation. Here’s a guy who has had so many women accuse him of inexcusable sexual behavior, and yet, for all that, he gets a hung jury. Why? Can’t say for sure, but because these allegations took so many years to come forth (and because the accused is virtually a legend of sorts) the burden of proof seems to rest on the accuser. That might not be fair, but fairness really has nothing to do with it. As many, including Bill Clinton, have found out.

Bricker already answered that. Anything else I could add wouldn’t belong in this forum, which is where people are looking for factual answers to questions.