Lewinsky details "the most frightening thing that ever happened" to her as A&E's new docu-series continues.
Monica Lewinsky continued giving her side of "The Clinton Affair" on Monday night, as two more episodes of A&E's new three-night event aired.
With Sunday night's installments covering how the relationship between the former White House intern and President Bill Clinton began, it all hit the fan tonight as Linda Tripp and the FBI both entered the picture and news of the affair began to spread.
The episode began with Lewinsky explaining how her one-on-one time with Clinton had decreased in the days leading up to his reelection. She had been "banished" to the Pentagon, as she put it, and while she "heard from him quite regularly," it was always on his terms.
"For the last two weeks leading up to the reelection, I didn't hear from him at all," explained Lewinsky, who said she still held out hope she'd be reassigned back to the White House after Clinton was reelected.
"That didn't happen," she continued. "I had this nagging insecurity that maybe he was doing these things the last six months because he was trying to keep me quiet during the election. How stupid am I that I believed this, I bought this. I felt so deflated and so desperate."
It was those feelings that led to her spilling everything to Tripp.
"I just broke emotionally and ended up confiding in her when she did bring it up," Lewinsky recalled. "I was like, look, I already had a thing with him, it's over and let's just not ever talk about that again, move on from that. And of course, naively, that was not going to shut things down. What unfolded from there was the most unhealthy of, I don't even know that you could call it a friendship anymore, it was a perceived friendship."
Some time after the inauguration, Clinton told Lewinsky he had a gift for her. She detailed how the president's secretary ushered her into a study off of the Oval Office, before she "hid" in the attached dining room. "The illusion to everyone else was that I was not alone with him," explained Lewinksy.
"Bill gave me this box, which had a hat pin ... and then he gave me this beautiful copy of 'Leaves of Grass,'" she recalled. "It was a very meaningful present to me. It's an intimate book that you don't just give lightly."
"This is the first time we had been alone since I had been banished to the Pentagon," she continued. It was then that they "moved to the bathroom and we were more intimate." She added, "There was some attention paid on me and then I was reciprocating. So that finished and then I hugged him after and he hugged me and off I went. I didn't notice that the dress was soiled. Betty saw me as I left, I went to dinner that night, none of these people told me, 'Hey you have to go to the bathroom, you have stuff on your dress.'"
That dress, of course, would come back into play later. More on that tomorrow night.
The two then entered a phase Lewinsky said was filled with "mixed messages," before Clinton told her he wanted to end the relationship, but still wished to remain friends. That made her "angry," especially since she never got her job back at the White House. After threatening to tell her parents about their relationship, he once again became more affectionate. "It was a roller coaster of a relationship," she recalled. "It led to this slow emotional unraveling on my part."
Eventually, Clinton became aware that Lewinsky would be called as a witness for the Paula Jones case, news he relayed to Monica at 2:30 in the morning. "I was petrified. I was worried about my family and this becoming public," she explained, adding that Clinton told her she could probably sign an affidavit to get out of it. But signing the affidavit also meant she would lie about her relationship with the president, denying anything ever happened. "I did feel uncomfortable about it, but I did feel like it was the right thing to do," she remembered thinking. "The right thing to do to break the law."
As this was happening, she was also trying to convince Tripp not to say anything about the relationship. "She was constantly switching, she was going to tell, she wasn't going to tell, she would do this, maybe she would do that," said Lewinsky, who added, "I didn't trust her."
Jut days later, the two were apprehended by the FBI at Pentagon City mall and taken to the adjoining Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City for questioning. "I heard something like, 'in trouble, Paula Jones case, federal government, want to talk to her,'" Lewinsky remembered. "At 24, that was the most frightening thing that ever happened to me ... part of me wanted to run, but I was also seething with anger."
When she realized someone from Ken Starr's office was there for the questioning, she thought, "Really, what the f--k is happening here?"
As the feds asked her to cooperate with them and possibly wear a wire herself, Lewinsky said, "the ground completely crumbled in that moment. I felt so much guilt and I was terrified. They imagined that I would have flipped really easily. they had no plan in place for what would happen if I said no." She began to shut down, recalling suicidal thoughts going through her head as the meeting went on. "I remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this was to kill myself, to jump out the window," she said.
She eventually called her mother, who came down immediately from New York City and tried to talk her into being cooperative. "I said you must cooperate, Monica," her mom said during the special. "I wanted her to do what they said because they were threatening more than 20 years in jail and this would be just to protect Bill Clinton. That's who they was really after, she was just a means. Like any mother, my priority is my daughter's safety and her future."
When the agents refused to put an immunity deal in writing, they walked.
The final chapters of "The Clinton Affair" air Tuesday night on A&E.