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Former President Bill Clinton’s relationship with then-22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky has been re-evaluated in the wake of Donald Trump’s “p–y-grabbing” and the #MeToo movement. But Clinton still feels he was right to fight his 1998 impeachment, rather than resign.
In an upcoming interview with Mo Rocca for CBS Sunday Morning, Clinton, 71, says he “knew” at the time that his impeachment “wouldn’t succeed” — and he’s still happy it didn’t.
“It wasn’t a pleasant experience,” Clinton says in the sit-down airing Sunday morning. “But it was a fight that I was glad to undertake after the elections, when the people had solidly told, by two-thirds or more, the Republicans to stop it. They knew there was nothing impeachable. And so, we fought it to the end. And I’m glad.”
Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice for lying about his relationship with Lewinsky, but he was ultimately acquitted by the Senate.
In the new interview, Clinton says he disagrees with Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s statement in November 2017 that he should have resigned from the presidency.
Clinton, seemingly fumbling for the right words, says, “You have to — really ignore what the context was. But, you know, she’s living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons. So, I – but I just disagree with her.”
Lewinsky, who in the late ’90s found herself thrust into the spotlight for her affair with Clinton, said in a February essay for Vanity Fair that the #MeToo movement has helped her see the incident in a new light.
“I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent,” she wrote. “Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege … Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot.”
Clinton will also speak about Donald Trump in the CBS Sunday Morning interview, as well as the new thriller the former president co-wrote with James Patterson, The President Is Missing, due out June 4.
“I’ve consumed literally thousands and thousands of thrillers, political novels, all this kind of stuff. I’ve – you know, he’s just good at it. But I wanted it to be real,” Clinton says. “I want people – I didn’t want anybody to be able to say, ‘Oh, this is just made up bull,’ you know?”
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