Monica Lewinsky affair: Hillary Clinton defends husband, says not an abuse of power

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said her husband Bill’s affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power and he was right to not resign from the US presidency in the wake of the scandal.

The two-decades-old episode has come under renewed scrutiny in the #MeToo era, with critics questioning whether the power imbalance between a sitting president and an intern made it impossible for the relationship to be considered consensual.


Some, like New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have said that Clinton should have stepped down after he was impeached by a Republican-controlled House in late 1998 for lying about the affair.

But speaking on CBS News on Sunday, former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton defended her husband and said she disagreed.

“Absolutely not,” she replied when asked whether her husband should have resigned.

Pressed on whether the relationship was an abuse of power, Mrs Clinton said: “No, no” and noted that Lewinsky, who was 22-years-old at the time, “was an adult.”

“There was an investigation and it, as I believe, came out in the right place,” she added.

“But let me ask you this,” Clinton continued, “Where’s the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made, and which he dismisses, denies, and ridicules?”

Ms Clinton was referring to multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment leveled against President Donald Trump, which Trump has denied.

When asked what role, if any, she played in criticizing the character of the women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct, the former secretary of state said: “None.”

“No role,” Clinton said. “I take responsibility for my life and my actions.”

In 1999, the Senate held a month-long trial of then President Clinton that ultimately fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to convict and remove him from office.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office

Monica Lewinsky, for her part, long maintained the affair was consensual, but in an essay published in Vanity Fair earlier this year wrote she had begun to re-evaluate that view.

Writing for Vanity Fair in light of the #MeToo movement, she said: “Now, at 44, I’m beginning to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern.”

Bill Clinton has also been accused by several other women of sexual misconduct in cases going back to the 1970s, prompting a reckoning of his place in history by Democrats in light of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

Watch a short clip from the interview below:

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