The parents of Monica Lewinsky have spoken out on-camera for the first time about their daughter and her brief affair with former president Bill Clinton.
Dr. Bernard Lewinsky and his wife Marcia said on the second episode of the new A&E docuseries The Clinton Affair that they were thrilled when their daughter got an internship at the White House.
‘I’m an immigrant from El Salvador and it was awesome and unbelievable that she would be working at the White House,’ said her father, the son of German Jews who fled to Central America during World War II.
That internship soon spiraled out of control when Lewinsky was discovered to be having an affair with the president, and the FBI forced her to help in the investigation into Clinton.
Lewinsky reveals they did this by threatening to prosecute her mother, breaking down in tears as she recalls how Kenneth Starr’s team and federal agents said both women were facing 27 years in prison for lying about the affair.
She’s got the look: Monica Lewinsky and her parents opened up about her affair with Bill Clinton in the A&E docuseries The Clinton Affair on Sunday night (Lewinsky above after changing into a sage suit to get Clinton’s attention in 1995)
I kept asking could I call my mom, they kept saying no,’ recalled Lewinsky of the 12-hour interrogation inside a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton.
‘You’re 24, you don’t need to call your mommy, you need to make a decision about what to do.’
Lewinsky was unflappable at that point however, and told the men: ‘Well, you should learn I am leaning towards not cooperating.’
That is when the men made the decision to threaten not only her, but also her family.
‘And then he said, “Well, you should know, we’re also thinking about prosecuting your mom for the things you said she did on the tape,”‘ said Lewinsky, breaking down in tears.
Lewinsky then informed the men that she had to call someone, either her mother or a lawyer, before she would make the decision to wear a wire and have her calls tapped by the FBI.
The men eventually gave in to Lewinsky’s demands, and she said she went to a pay phone and called her mother in the local mall.
Lewinsky said her mother attempted to get her to calm down and breathe, before finally coming to realize the situation her daughter was in at the time.
‘FBI … have me … I’m in a hotel,’ recalled Lewinsky of her words to her mother.
Monica’s mother recalled her daughter’s earlier days in the second episode, while sharing some photos of the girl’s childhood.
‘Monica was a beautiful and very, very smart little girl,’ said her mother Marcia.
‘But stubborn. Really stubborn.
Dr Lewinsky added: ‘She was very gregarious, friendly, you know when she was in the room.’
And he said of the moment he learned about her internship: ‘I was so proud of her and she was so happy about it.’
Speaking out: Lewinsky also detailed the events that led to her decision to confide in Linda Tripp, the woman who would eventually alert the special prosecutor
Lewinsky also detailed the events that led to her decision to confide in Linda Tripp, the woman who would eventually alert the special prosecutor to the fact that Clinton was having an affair with a former intern.
It all started when members of Clinton’s staff decided to move Lewinsky out of her post working for Legislative Affairs at The White House and transfer her to the Pentagon amid growing concerns over how close she had become with the president.
Lewinsky suggested that this was all done with the knowledge of her paramour, who she describes as ‘crestfallen.’
The two had been seeing one another daily and enjoying weekly trysts prior to that Lewinsky had revealed, but the move to a new job and building changed all that in an instant.
Lewinsky would instead be forced to wait until the middle of the night for Clinton to call, but she said that he had promised to move her back to a White House position after the election.
At that point the pair had been carrying on their affair for five months, and a number of staff members had begun to take notice of how often Lewinsky was around the president and Oval Office.
It was an optics problem however, said staffers, with no one explicitly stating that they believed the intern was having an affair with the president.
The job shift also came while Clinton was in the middle of his reelection campaign, meaning that he was not in touch with Lewinsky for days or even weeks at a time.
‘I had this nagging insecurity that maybe he just did all these things these last six months cause he wanted to keep me quiet during the election,’ explained Lewinsky.
‘How stupid am I that I believed this, that I bought this. I felt so deflated and so desperate. And those were the conditions along with some other things that led to me confiding in Linda Tripp.’
Lewinsky described her mindset at the time by saying she ‘had naively invested in his promise,’ but that was shattered when the election came and went without the offer of a White House job.