No 10 Feared Tony Blair's Visit to US Amid Clinton Sex Scandal Could Taint His Image

© AFP 2022 / Richard LewisFormer US President Bill Clinton speaks with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Guildhall in London, before a Banquet dinner hosted by the Mayor of the City of London, 11 July, 2003.
Former US President Bill Clinton speaks with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Guildhall in London, before a Banquet dinner hosted by the Mayor of the City of London, 11 July, 2003. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
Subscribe
International
India
Africa
The so-called Monicagate scandal involved revelations that the 42nd president of the US had an extramarital affair with a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Clinton under oath denied ever having a sexual relationship with the woman and was impeached on perjury after evidence of the affair was exposed.
British officials feared that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit to the United States amid Bill Clinton's sex scandal could damage his reputation, The Guardian has reported, citing documents released by The National Archives. According to the outlet, Downing Street hired US lawyers to assess the gravity of Clinton's case and whether it could have implications on Tony Blair's image.

The visit was scheduled for February 1998 right at the height of special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation into Bill Clinton, including his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. After assessing the situation, lawyer John McInespie wrote the following to Mr Blair's chief of staff:

"So far our people say that there is no 'smoking gun' to charge Clinton with anything, but that might not be the case by the time of the forthcoming visit of the prime minister. You remember that Al Capone was eventually convicted of tax evasion. It is no different in this case".

Mr McInespie stressed that if Ms Lewinsky's lawyer got her full immunity then "this strategy is highly dangerous to President Clinton".

Downing Street dropped plans for UK First Lady Cherie Blair to attend a meeting on the White House intern scheme, but decided to go ahead with the prime minister's visit to the United States.

During a joint press conference Tony Blair praised Bill Clinton, describing him as "someone I am proud to call not just a colleague, but a friend".

Sir Christopher Meyer, then UK ambassador to the United States, wrote in a cable that "the tension shown by Clinton and his staff before the press conference was matched only by their relief afterwards". Sir Christopher added that officials from the Clinton administration were grateful for Blair's remarks.

"Your prime minister didn't have to say what he did at the press conference. We owe you big time", Jim Steinberg, the deputy national security adviser said as per the UK ambassador

The so-called Monicagate scandal (also known as Zippergate and Lewinskygate) centered on the revelations that the 42nd president of the United States, who back then was in his late 40s, had an extramarital affair with a 22-year-old White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. Ms Lewinsky claimed that their relationship lasted for two years between 1995 and 1997.

Bill Clinton categorically denied the allegation.

"I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false", the Democrat said in a televised speech.

The president also denied having ever slept with Lewinsky when testifying under oath in a sexual harassment case filed against him by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee.

Yet, a subsequent investigation, which saw Lewinsky turn over her dress stained with Clinton's semen, proved that the president lied. Clinton went on to admit that he had engaged in an "improper physical relationship". He was subsequently impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, but was acquitted.
Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала