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THE CLINTON INVESTIGATION | DICK MORRIS

'. . . I Know Just What You're Going Through; I've Been There'

October 03, 1998

These are excerpts from the testimony of former presidential advisor Dick Morris.

Morris: I had not really been in touch on a constant basis with the president for some time until about the middle of December of 1997. We just have gone through periods where we're in touch and periods where we're not, and this was one of the nots. And around the middle of December of '97, we began to talk to each other a fair amount and largely looking toward the State of the Union speech at the end of January of 1998.

On the morning of the 21st of January, when I woke up, I heard about the Lewinsky scandal, and at about 11 in the morning, I received a page from the president. Actually, I think it was 11:25 in the morning.

And, as it happened, I was on the subway at the time and I was literally on a train, and when I got off the train, I got another page at 11:38 and I was just below the place where I was going so I figured I'd return it when I got to that office. And I called at about 11:45 on Wednesday morning. . . .

Q: . . . OK. How long did that conversation last?

A: It's hard to tell when you're talking to him, time seems to--you know, you're always feeling like you're keeping him from a nuclear war or something, so you're not sure how long it is, but my guess would be 10 to 15 minutes.

*

Q: All right. What do you recall was the discussion, as specific as you recall?

A: So what are you asking?

*

Q: Tell us what your conversation was.

A: You mean tell you the words as nearly as I can recall?

*

Q: Yes. Please.

A: OK. This is--this may not be completely accurate because it's memory, but it went something like this. He got on the phone and I said, "You poor son of a bitch. I've just read what's going on. I feel for you tremendously. I know just what you're going through; I've been there. I've been through it, and my heart just goes out to you incredibly."

And he said, "Oh, God. This is just awful."

And I said, "All I can tell you is I've been through it, and if you live through it, you can improve."

Then he said, "I didn't do what they said I did, but I did do something. I mean, with this girl, I didn't do what they said, but I did--but I did do--but I did do something." He repeated it like twice.

And then he said, "And I may have done enough so that I don't know if I can prove my innocence."

And I said, "There's a vast capacity for forgiveness in this country."

He said, "There may be gifts. I gave her gifts, but only after she gave them to me. And there may be messages on her phone answering machine."

I said, "Entry and exit records from the residence?"

And he said, "There won't be any."

And I said, "Look. This is a he said, she said situation."

The president said--it may be at that point that he said there may be gifts or something like that, it was in that--that frame of the conversation.

Then--OK. Then I said, "Look. You may have to play this thing outside the foul lines," which means transcend the legal process . . . go over Starr's head and go to the public and ask them for forgiveness, tell them what you did and ask them for forgiveness. There's a great capacity for forgiveness in this country and you should consider tapping into it."

And he said, "But what about the legal thing? You know, the legal thing? You know, Starr and perjury and all that?"

And I said, "This is not a legal process, this is a political process. You're the only human being in the country . . . "

I'm sorry, let me interrupt my narrative to go back to the beginning of the conservation. . . .

After--like as the second or third thing that I said to him, I said, "It occurred to me that I may be the only sex addict you know and maybe I can help you."

And then--yeah. And then we--and then we talked about "I didn't do what they said I did."

*

Q: All right. As you've already revealed.

A: Yeah.

*

Q: All right, sir.

A: Then he said, before we got into the bit about forgiveness and that stuff, he said, "You know, ever since the election, I've tried to shut myself down. I've tried to shut my body down, sexually, I mean."

*

Q: All right. He said, "Sexually, I mean"?

A: Yes.

*

Q: All right, sir.

A: "But sometimes I slipped up and with this girl I just slipped up."

And I said--I said, "I know. You know, addicts fall off the wagon." I said, "This is an addiction just like drugs or alcohol, and you just have to recognize it and fight it."

And then he repeated, "I didn't do what they said I did, but I did something."

And I said, "You just got to confront it and you just got to deal with it personally and politically and you've got to ask for the country's forgiveness."

Then we got into the forgiveness issue. And I said, "The one thing you've got to avoid is getting trapped like Nixon into a rigid posture of denial because that gives you no flexibility, no room to maneuver, and you get stuck. And presidents only get killed when they get stuck. But on the other hand, if you play this outside the foul lines and you really let it out, people are going to cut you slack on it."

Then he said, "You think so?"

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