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Excerpt of a Telephone Interview With Morton Kondracke and Ed Henry of Roll Call

January 21, 1998

Mr. Henry. Hello, Mr. President, this is Ed Henry. How are you?

The President. Hi, Ed.

Independent Counsel's Investigation

Mr. Kondracke. A few questions about the breaking news. Do you think that this Monica Lewinsky story is going to overshadow your State of the Union Address?

The President. Well, I hope not. But you guys will have to make that decision. The press will make that decision.

Mr. Henry. Some Republicans have been talking about impeachment for months now. And even your former adviser George Stephanopoulos mentioned it this morning, that it could lead to that. What is your reaction to the suggestion that this may lead to impeachment?

The President. Well, I don't believe it will. I'm going to cooperate with this investigation.

And I made it very clear that the allegations are not true. I didn't ask anybody not to tell the truth. And I'll cooperate. So I think that there will be a lot of stirring and there will be a lot of speculation about how this all was done and what it means and what it portends, and you all will handle it however you will. I'm just going to go back to work and do the best I can.

Mr. Kondracke. Do you think you have to refer to it in some way in the speech on Tuesday?

The President. I've given no thought to that, no.

Mr. Henry. Will this cloud your ability to get anything done with this Congress as you head into the new session?

The President. Well, that will be up to them. I don't think so. It's election year; they'll want to get some things done, too. And we've got a lot to do. I'm going to give them the first balanced budget, 3 years ahead of time, and a great child care initiative and an important Medicare initiative. We've got a Medicare commission meeting. We're going to be able to actually see this budget balanced and start to run a little surplus. We've got a lot of things to do around the world, so I think this is quite important.

Mr. Kondracke. Okay. Let me just ask you one more question about this. You said in a statement today that you had no improper relationship with this intern. What exactly was the nature of your relationship with her?

The President. Well, let me say, the relationship's not improper, and I think that's important enough to say. But because the investigation is going on and because I don't know what is out—what's going to be asked of me, I think I need to cooperate, answer the questions, but I think it's important for me to make it clear what is not. And then, at the appropriate time, I'll try to answer what is. But let me answer, it is not an improper relationship, and I know what the word means. So let's just——

Mr. Kondracke. Was it in any way sexual?

The President. The relationship was not sexual. And I know what you mean, and the answer is no.

NOTE: The interview began at 4:26 p.m. The President spoke from the Oval Office at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Excerpt of a Telephone Interview With Morton Kondracke and Ed Henry of Roll Call Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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