Lewinsky Affair

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  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)


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An affair between Bill Clinton and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, that emerged as part of the Whitewater investigations. In January 1998, the independent council on the Whitewater investigation, Kenneth Starr, received congressional authority to investigate against Ms Lewinsky on the allegation that she had lied about having an affair with Clinton under oath. As the media reported on the scandal, Clinton publicly stated that he had not had an affair, and it was not until August that Clinton testified before a grand jury, admitting that he had an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with Ms Lewinsky. Clinton's earlier statement started the second impeachment trial in US history against a sitting President (the first was against Andrew Johnson in 1868). The House of Representatives voted to impeach the President on two out of four articles of impeachment, but the Senate rejected one of these and split evenly on the second, thus acquitting the President. In a settlement agreed on the day before he left office, Clinton admitted giving false testimony, paid a $25,000 fine and agreed to the suspension of his law licence. The trial marked the high point of the acrimony between Democrats and Republicans in Congress during the Clinton Presidency, and made it difficult for Clinton to pursue any far-reaching domestic political reform.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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