Former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson doesn’t deny he offered Monica Lewinsky a job. But his testimony to Kenneth Starr’s prosecutors raises questions about whether he told the whole truth.
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Perhaps Watkins had placed the call and then patched it through to Richardson. Might that have been what happened?
“No,” Watkins said.
“Are you absolutely certain about that?”
“Why do — ”
“Because there was no reason for him to talk with her,” Watkins continued. “There was no, there was no interest on his part, and very few people — I mean, his time is just too tight for us to do that.”
Whoever made the call, the evidence shows that Richardson tried to set up the interview as quickly as possible, perhaps even for the next day, which would have been the eve of his trip to the Congo. That didn’t work out, and on Thursday the 23rd, Richardson left the country, not to return until the next Wednesday, October 29. But he was still moving quickly on Lewinsky. Despite his earlier statement that the Iraqi situation “really exploded” when he returned from the Congo, Richardson made room for Monica on his second day back: the job interview was set for Friday morning, October 31.
Meet Me at the Watergate
Lewinsky was surprised and dismayed at how rapidly Richardson was moving. Since she had already decided she didn’t want to work at the U.N., she was placing her hopes on Vernon Jordan’s private sector job search. But Jordan was away from Washington for much of this time period, while Richardson was a sure thing. She didn’t want to turn him down flat, but she didn’t want to say yes, either.
She sent word through Currie that she needed to talk to the president. Two days after the phone call from Richardson, Clinton called her — a conversation she later recounted in great detail during a phone session with Tripp.
Lewinsky said she told Clinton about the U.N. situation. “I said, ‘Well, do you want to know what happened on Tuesday [the 21st]?’” Lewinsky said she told the president. “So I told [him] the story of Richardson.”
“Did he know that?” Tripp asked.
“I — Okay, no, but yeah,” Lewinsky said. “He didn’t know, but I’m not — I think — he had put — he kind of had put Podesta on it. Or maybe he put Betty. You know, you never know the real truth.”
“And he wants the U.N. to be my insurance policy….He wants me to have options. Vernon’s been out of town…”
“Did he understand about your not wanting to go to the U.N.?”
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