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Somebody — besides Bill Clinton — is lying. Is it Monica Lewinsky?
Is it Linda Tripp? Or, is it President Clinton’s good buddy, Mr. Fix-It,
Vernon Jordan?

Tomorrow, if questioning by House managers is skillful enough, they
may find out.

The prosecutors had their turn grilling Lewinsky yesterday. Today,
Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal gets his turn under, perhaps, the best
interrogator of the bunch, Rep. James Rogan of California. Tomorrow, the
last witness will be called in the most important political trial in the
history of our republic. Jordan will have plenty of explaining to do.

For starters, Jordan should be forced to clarify his previous
testimony — much of which simply doesn’t pass the smell test for
truthfulness.

He told the grand jury that he didn’t know that Lewinsky and Clinton
were involved in a sexual relationship. But the careful, lawyerly,
Clinton-like language he used left some wiggle room on that point.

“I asked her directly had there been any sexual relationship between
she
and the president,” Jordan told the grand jurors. “And she said that she
had
not had a sexual relationship with the president, and I took her at her
word on that.”

Prosecutors followed up that statement by asking Jordan how he
defined “sexual relationship.” His answer was interesting.

“My view of it was sexual intercourse,” he said. “I meant sexual
intercourse. Period.”

Sound familiar? That definition was right out of the White House
playbook. It was the answer Clinton himself would later use to split
hairs in denying he lied under oath in the Paula Jones case. Jordan
testified he was completely unaware of that issue — and insisted he
didn’t want to know any more.

“Do you understand what I’m saying?” he asked. “Sexual relationship.
Period. Relations or relationships. Period. Did they hold hands? Did
they kiss? Did they dance? Did they stand on top of the table? I didn’t
get into that.”

No, of course not. It sounds like Jordan and Clinton worked out a
cover story together. When was the last time you heard someone define
“sexual relationship” as narrowly as these guys?

Yet, his story makes no sense. He would be concerned if they had
intercourse, but not if they had oral sex. Why? It’s a difference
without a distinction — unless you’re Bill Clinton trying to avoid a
perjury rap.

Wouldn’t you like to hear the House managers ask Jordan why he said
his question to Monica was meant to be so restrictive? There was no
reason for Jordan to have intended such a narrow definition. Such a
restriction would actually work against his own interest in allowing
Monica to provide him information he would presumably want to have.

But there’s much more. Because Jordan’s testimony is in stark
contrast with that of Linda Tripp’s grand jury testimony July 29, 1998.

Tripp said Monica told her that there came a time when Jordan knew
everything and coached her to commit perjury to protect the president.

“He told her that he had found her an attorney and was actually going
to
escort her to the attorney’s office,” Tripp testified. “And she told me
they did that. And on the way, they had gone over the whole story and
what had really happened versus what Monica should say.”

“What do I tell him?” Monica asked Jordan, according to Tripp’s
account.

“What do you mean?” Jordan reportedly replied.

“Do I tell him the story or do I tell him the truth?” asked Lewinsky.

“What choice do you have?” asked Jordan.

“I guess I tell him the story,” replied Monica.

“Yes,” said Jordan.

“But what if they have evidence?” asked Monica.

“They can’t have evidence. It wasn’t you,” Jordan reportedly coached.

“Well, what if they have, God forbid, a copy of a scrap of one of my
notes? Say it was in the burn bag,” asked Lewinsky.

“It wasn’t you. You didn’t write it,” explained Jordan.

“Well, what if someone saw us through the study window?” she asked.

“It wasn’t you. You weren’t there,” said Jordan.

“What if someone, God forbid, intercepted our calls or has some sort
of
proof, God forbid, a video of any of this?”

“His answer was consistently the same, ‘It wasn’t you,’” Tripp
recalls Monica telling her.

Jordan then reportedly went on to say there was no way anyone could
prove anything as long as both she and the president denied the affair.

“This is perjury, of course,” Jordan told Lewinsky, according to
Tripp’s recollections of her conversation later with Monica.

“And he said, ‘You’re not going to go to jail. They don’t even
prosecute
perjury in a civil case,’” testified Tripp.

“And I had big arguments with Monica about that and I said, ‘That’s
complete B.S. I’ve never heard of such a thing,’” Tripp testified. “She
said, ‘He’s a big-time Washington lawyer. He would know.’ I said, ‘He
does not have your best interests at heart, he has his buddy’s best
interests at heart. You just get yourself an attorney.’”

That was good advice then. It might be good advice for Jordan now.

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