Former Republican Rep. James Rogan, who served as one of the House managers of the impeachment case against Bill Clinton, says the White House launched a full-fledged attack on onetime intern Monica Lewinsky when word came out about the president’s sexual escapades with her.
“History shows that Ms. Lewinsky was treated horribly by the White House: When her relationship with the president first blared across the headlines, the White House began a full-court press strategy to destroy her: White House operatives portrayed her as a deranged stalker to any reporter willing to listen,” said the former California congressman.
Rogan has documented the case against Clinton, how it developed and how it was handled in Washington in his “Catching Our Flag: Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Impeachment.”
The book details what happened when the media force-fed America and the world a steady diet of Lewinsky’s blue dress, a wagging presidential finger and the parsing of phrases such as “the meaning of ‘is.’”
He describes how on his first day on the House Judiciary Committee, Rogan knew if the scandal ever led to impeachment proceedings, future accounts would suffer from faulty memories or faulty motives.
To combat the threat of factual or historical error, Rogan kept copious notes during every significant meeting relating to impeachment from his first day on the committee. He wanted a complete and accurate historical chronicle – the best evidence – of what happened behind the scenes in the unfolding drama.
Even though the impeachment of Clinton cost Rogan his congressional seat, the author said he still believes trying the president before the Senate was the right thing to do.
Read all about the women Bill Clinton targeted, in “Their Lives,” and hear the first-person testimony of Kathleen Willey, who chose to tell the story of her encounter with Clinton in “Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
Rogan says many Americans forget that Clinton signed a plea bargain on his last day in office admitting his lies to avoid criminal prosecution for perjury.
“Who really remembers he resigned his law licenses before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arkansas Supreme Court in order to avoid disbarment?” he said.
He reacted on Tuesday to word that Lewinsky, in an interview with Vanity Fair, had broken her silence about the controversy
Lewinsky said she was “made a scapegoat” by the Clinton administration and others “to protect his powerful position.”
In the forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair, Lewinsky, now 40, writes: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”
She said the Clinton administration, “the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me.”
“And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power,” she said.
Declaring that it’s “time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Lewinsky said: “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
Rogan recalled he was one of only two House managers who attended Monica Lewinsky’s deposition at the Mayflower Hotel in D.C. during the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999.
“I met her in the heavily guarded conference room before the deposition began; from the start it was clear that she was coaxed heavily by the White House legal team, who kept making hand signals to her off camera when any answer from her threatened to veer off script,” he said.
“Of course, the U.S. Senate’s videographer did not pick any of this up. During the recess, then-Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., and I complained about this to the two senators overseeing Congressman Ed Bryant’s, R-Tenn., questions of her, but to no avail. They refused to acknowledge the behavior on-camera, or do anything to stop it,” he said.
As one of the leading members of the House Judiciary Committee that impeached President Bill Clinton, James Rogan’s place in the pantheon of conservative heroes remains secure. But that is just part of an amazing life story. Get Rogan’s “Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington” – autographed at the WND Superstore.
He explained that the White House attacks on Lewinsky abruptly changed at one significant point.
“Once her possession of the infamous ‘blue dress’ became known, which contained biological proof of her claims, the White House threw the destruction machine into reverse and then courted her heavily to keep her (in lawyer jargon) ‘in the bag.’ Anyone watching her deposition that long ago day knows they succeeded in manipulating this young woman to their ends.”
Rogan said that as many years have gone by, he has “long suspected that time and maturity might give her a different perspective on her experience.”
“I also wondered what happened to this young woman who was shoved unwillingly into this terrible story. I’m glad to know that she has survived and done good things with her life since leaving Washington. I hope that she will find the closure and peace she seeks.”
Lewinsky explained she was coming forward in the wake of the case of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman who committed suicide in 2010 after he was secretly streamed via webcam kissing another man.
Lewinsky said she cried over Clementi’s death, but her mother was especially distraught.
“She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life – a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.”
Monica stressed she never actually attempted to kill herself but was strongly tempted to do it during the investigations and afterward.
In the aftermath of Clementi’s tragedy, Lewinsky writes “my own suffering took on a different meaning.”
“Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”
She said she’s now looking “to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”
Bill Clinton eventually was impeached by the U.S. House but was not convicted in the U.S. Senate.