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miércoles, 17 de enero de 2018

Monica Lewinsky says she ‘survived the unimaginable’ for years after Clinton scandal

Monica Lewinsky, who found herself in the center of a political, legal, and media firestorm 20 years ago following her affair with then-President Bill Clinton, still struggles with the aftermath of that dark time.

Twenty years to the day after she was locked into a hotel room with investigators, and no lawyer, Lewinsky says she “survived the unimaginable,” and encouraged others to share their stories.

She tweeted on Tuesday:

Little girl lost

Lewinsky, who was then a young White House intern, opened up about her affair with the 42nd president to her then-friend and confidante Linda Tripp in the late 1990s.

Tripp later lured Lewinsky into a hotel room, where the intern faced federal investigators who told her she could be indicted for obstruction of justice, perjury, and witness tampering if she failed to cooperate.

Lewinsky wrote for Vanity Fair:

At age 24, cornered in a hotel room on January 16, 1998, with mainly male interrogators taking orders from [Special Counsel Ken] Starr, I was discouraged from contacting my attorney and threatened with 27 years in jail for filing an affidavit denying the affair with Clinton, among other alleged crimes.

I was offered immunity from that threat if I agreed to place monitored calls and wear a wire in conversations with two of the president’s confidants and possibly the president himself. I refused.

Her initial refusal to cooperate with Starr’s team didn’t last, however. She eventually testified before a grand jury after being offered witness immunity.

Unfair media portrayal

Lewinsky has also blasted the media portrayal of the affair, which she maintains was consensual.

Vogue reported on Tuesday:

Lewinsky suffered at the hands of the media, who were unwilling to adopt the “believe women” mantra that has become de rigueur since the advent of #MeToo. Lewinsky, for her own part, condemns this treatment of her more than Bill Clinton’s actions as a possible abuser.

She finds the way that the relationship was construed by the media as one-sided, with her being either the aggressor, or prey, as indicative of a deep misogyny and blind spot for so-called “feminist friendly” politicians (or fund-raisers for the Democratic party, an addendum that should be made since the downfall of Harvey Weinstein).

“Sure, my boss took advantage of me,” Lewinsky wrote in 2014. “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 continued:

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.”

Clinton’s impeachment

For his part, Clinton initially denied the affair.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” he emphatically said. TIME magazine reported:

With those words, President Clinton didn’t just dig himself a hole, he stole a backhoe, dug a really deep hole, drove the backhoe into the hole, wired the backhoe with explosives and blew it up.

The U.S. House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against Clinton on two charges — perjury and obstruction of justice. But they didn’t stem directly from the Lewinsky affair; they came about as a result of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the president by Paula Jones.

Clinton was impeached on Dec. 19, 1998. The matter proceeded to the Senate for trial, where he was acquitted.

Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious charges  — but so is abuse of power, which Lewinsky seems to allege was the case when she was interviewed by Starr. Mueller and his team should keep that in mind as they continue to investigate claims that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

Although several indictments have resulted, none have touched President Donald Trump.

Perhaps 20 years from now, he, too, will be celebrating surviving an unreasonably harsh probe.