Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern whose affair with President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s led to impeachment proceedings in Congress, has spoken out about the way in which Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation is being handled compared to the Starr report 21 years ago.
After concluding his investigation of Clinton’s extramarital affair with Lewinsky, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr wasted no time sharing his report with the public. In contrast, Attorney General William Barr has yet to publicly share Mueller’s report, although he summarized some of its key points in a letter to Congress.
In a March 26 tweet, law professor Orin Kerr (who teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles) reflected on how different things might have been in 1998 if Starr had given his report only to Clinton’s attorney general, the late Janet Reno—and Reno “then read it privately” before sending a letter to Congress “stating her conclusion that President Clinton committed no crimes.”
Lewinsky, now 45, saw Kerr’s tweet and responded with only three words: “if. fucking. only.”
In 1998, Republicans in Congress—especially House Speaker Newt Gingrich—went after Clinton with a vengeance for having an affair with Lewinsky and lying about it under oath. Clinton was impeached by a GOP-controlled House of Representatives. But when an impeachment trial was later conducted in the Senate, Clinton was acquitted—and he served out the rest of his second term before passing the torch to Republican George W. Bush in January 2001.
Clinton was only the second president in U.S. history to face a Senate trial after being impeached in the House. In 1868, Democratic President Andrew Johnson was impeached in the House but, like Clinton many years later, acquitted in the Senate and allowed to serve out the rest of his term.