Lewinsky gave a much-anticipated interview to Barbara Walters of “20/20” in March 1999, the month after Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges for lying about his Oval Office tryst.
In the immediate aftermath of the scandal known as Monicagate, Lewinsky was less contrite than she was in her recently previewed Vanity Fair story which stated she “deeply” regrets her affair with the president. When Barbara Walters asked if she would have had the relationship with Clinton again, this was Lewinsky’s response, according to a New York Times excerpt of the interview:
There are some days that I regret that the relationship ever started and there are some days that I just regret that I ever confided in Linda Tripp.
That woman Lewinsky confided in, Tripp, was a friend and former Pentagon employee who secretly taped their conversations about the Clinton affair and handed those tapes to special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr. When Lewinsky learned that Tripp had taped the conversations, she told Walters, she felt “gutted and violated and betrayed. And scared.”
Then, Lewinsky described how she felt when she was in a room with Starr and a number of FBI agents.
“Oh, I was, I was petrified. … I have never been so afraid in my entire life. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill everybody in the room. … I was just very scared,” she said.
Despite all the trauma, Lewinsky made it clear during the “20/20” interview that she still had strong feelings for Clinton, some of which were positive. Here’s how she responded when Walters asked if she was still in love with him: “Sometimes I have warm feelings, sometimes I’m proud of him still, and sometimes I hate his guts. And, um, he makes me sick.”
Lewinsky struck a more neutral tone in the Vanity Fair preview, writing of the affair, “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship.”
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