Bill Clinton Publicly Denies Monica Lewinsky Allegations
I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.”— Bill Clinton
On January 26, President Clinton, standing with his wife, spoke at a White House press conference, and issued a forceful denial, which contained what would later become one of the best-known sound bites of his presidency:
"Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.
Pundits debated whether or not Clinton would address the allegations in his State of the Union Address. Ultimately, he chose not to mention them. Hillary Clinton publicly stood by her husband throughout the scandal. On January 27, in an appearance on NBC's Today she famously said, "The great story here for anybody willing to find it, write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."
For the next several months and through the summer, the media debated whether or not an affair had occurred and whether or not Clinton had lied or obstructed justice, but nothing could be definitively established beyond the taped recordings because Lewinsky was unwilling to discuss the affair or testify about it. On July 28, 1998, a substantial delay after the public break of the scandal, Lewinsky received transactional immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony concerning her relationship with Clinton. She also turned over a semen-stained blue dress (which Linda Tripp had encouraged her to save without dry cleaning) to the Starr investigators, thereby providing a smoking gun based on DNA evidence that could prove the relationship despite Clinton's official denials.
Clinton admitted in taped grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, that he had had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. That evening he gave a nationally televised statement admitting his relationship with Lewinsky which was "not appropriate".