WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton said Sunday that her husband’s presidential affair with Monica Lewinsky wasn’t an abuse of power — because the then-22-year-old White House intern “was an adult.”
Almost all the highest-profile #MeToo accusers of such figures as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer and Al Franken were legal adults like Ms. Lewinsky was.
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for perjury and obstruction, but acquitted in 1999 by the Senate.
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate compared the reaction against her husband’s conduct to that of President Trump, and implied that she either thought it was excessive, or at least that there hasn’t been enough investigation of Mr. Trump.
The New York Post reports:
The assertion by Clinton was particularly stunning given the current #MeToo movement she has championed, not to mention that her presidential campaign centered on her becoming the nation’s first female commander in chief if elected.
Asked if her husband should have resigned the presidency after the affair came to light, Hillary told CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” “Absolutely not.”
Pressed on whether Bill had committed an abuse of power — since a president of the United States couldn’t have a consensual relationship with an intern — she added, “No, no” because Lewinsky “was an adult.”
Bill Clinton was 49 at the time.
Hillary then tried to deflect attention away from the issue and began focusing on President Trump and his many allegations of sexual misconduct that were leveled before the 2016 election.
“Let me ask you this: Where’s the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made and which he dismisses, denies and ridicules?” Clinton said.
As for her husband, she said, “So there was an investigation, and it — as I believe — came out in the right place.”
The US House voted to impeach Bill Clinton for lying under oath and obstructing justice, but the US Senate later acquitted him, and he remained in office.
The CBS interview comes as a record-breaking number of women are seeking office this year in direct response to President Trump’s election and buoyed by the #metoo movement.
Despite the surge of candidates, Clinton said sexism is still front and center in politics.
She pointed out Brett Kavanaugh’s aggressive questioning of Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Amy Klobuchar during his US Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
“He didn’t do that to the men,” Clinton said.
Clinton said sexism is a reason for her loss to President Trump in 2016, in addition to Russian election meddling and the investigation into her e-mails.
“If you watched the way Trump debated me, it was just imbued with sexism. Making fun of me for preparing. Well, you know, that’s the old, like, “Oh, yeah, the girl in the class who’s always prepared. I don’t need to be prepared,’ ” Clinton said.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump faced a damning leak of an “Access Hollywood” video where he was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women’s genitals. His response before a 2016 debate was to hold a press conference with several women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct or assault and accused Hillary Clinton of trying to silence them.
Clinton said she played “no role” in criticizing the character of the women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct.
“No role,” Clinton said. “I take responsibility for my life and my actions.”