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CLINTON UNDER FIRE

Intern Still Visited After White House Job Ended

Presidency: Clinton's secretary authorized woman's access to mansion, sources say. Jordan's help in finding her a job also investigated.

January 22, 1998|DAVID WILLMAN and RONALD J. OSTROW | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

WASHINGTON — The former White House intern whose association with President Clinton is now at the vortex of an independent counsel's investigation visited the executive mansion numerous times in the months after her internship ended, knowledgeable sources said Wednesday.

They said that on each occasion, the former intern, Monica S. Lewinsky, was authorized to enter the White House by the president's personal secretary, Betty Currie. Lewinsky left the White House in April 1996 to accept a public-relations post at the Pentagon, which she held until late last month.

"She clearly has visited the White House many times since she has been at the Pentagon," said one official familiar with the matter. "She has visited the White House frequently."

The visits will be a focus of investigators' attention as they probe allegations that Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky and then encouraged her to lie about it in a sworn statement she provided this month for a civil lawsuit against the president.

Investigators also are exploring why a close advisor to Clinton, Vernon E. Jordan, over the last few weeks helped Lewinsky find a new job.

Currie did not return calls seeking her comment. Senior officials said she is a widely liked "mother hen figure" at the White House and is the person to whom Lewinsky turned when she wanted to gain access for visits.

White House lawyers who are helping to map the president's immediate handling of the controversy have decided for now not to make public computerized records reflecting Lewinsky's visits.

The records, called "waves," show when a visitor arrives, on whose authority they are admitted and the time of their departure.

"The matter is under investigation and decisions regarding disclosure of documents and information will be made by the president's [private] attorney," said Lanny J. Davis, a White House special counsel. The president's two outside lawyers, David E. Kendall and Robert S. Bennett, declined to comment.

Pressed as to why the records will not be made public immediately, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said:

"I think until the question is resolved of whether or not this is something that the office of independent counsel is seeking, it would be difficult for us to satisfy requests."

Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel who for nearly 3 1/2 years has investigated the Whitewater affair, quietly won approval Friday from a special panel of federal judges to broaden his inquiry. Even before the approval, Starr's staff had begun to probe allegations that Clinton and Jordan encouraged Lewinsky to testify falsely about her relationship with Clinton. Lewinsky submitted an affidavit in connection with a civil lawsuit brought by Paula Corbin Jones, a former Arkansas state government employee who accuses Clinton of sexual harassment.

Investigators are examining Jordan's role in finding a new job for Lewinsky as she was preparing to leave the administration late last month.

Lewinsky was offered a public relations position with Revlon Inc., the cosmetics company, in New York.

On Wednesday night, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., the parent company of Revlon, confirmed that Jordan "referred" Lewinsky, 24, to the company for the position.

Jordan serves on the board of directors of Revlon. MacAndrews & Forbes is controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, who has been a major supporter of Clinton. In 1996, Perelman and Revlon contributed $577,000 to the Democratic National Committee, records show.

According to a statement issued by MacAndrews and Forbes, Lewinsky "was interviewed in December 1997 and January 1998. Thereafter she was offered a position as a public relations administrator at Revlon. In light of today's events, the company is informing Ms. Lewinsky that it will take no further action at this time on her employment application."

Jordan, a Washington lawyer, did not return phone messages on Tuesday and Wednesday. Jordan's lawyer, William G. Hundley, said he would not comment.

Jordan, 62, has achieved a status of eminence grise in Washington. As the former executive director of the National Urban League, he led Clinton's transition team from late 1992 to 1993 and has become the president's most prominent black advisor in Washington.

Jordan has been photographed often at Clinton's side, playing golf. Last August, Jordan and his wife hosted a birthday party for Clinton on Martha's Vineyard, the trendy Massachusetts coastal retreat.

Times research librarian Janet Lundblad contributed to this story.

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