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In Testimony, Clinton Admitted He Aided Lewinsky in Search

By John F. Harris
and Susan Schmidt
The Washington Post

President Clinton told prosecutors he tried to help Monica S. Lewinsky in January in her efforts to find a private-sector job and asked a senior White House aide whether he would be willing to write her a favorable job recommendation, according to sources familiar with his grand jury testimony.

Clinton, sources said, asked John Hilley, then serving as the White House legislative liaison, whether Hilley could recommend the former intern for a job. But sources supportive of the president's defense described this exchange as innocuous, since Clinton never instructed Hilley to write a recommendation, and none was apparently ever written.

Clinton's effort on behalf of Lewinsky, with whom he has acknowledged having an extramarital relationship, came at the same time that lawyers for Paula Jones had issued a subpoena seeking Lewinsky's testimony in Jones's sexual harassment suit against the president. After receiving a private job offer in New York, Lewinsky signed an affidavit swearing she had no sexual relationship with the president. Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr is exploring whether Clinton obstructed justice by allegedly seeking to win Lewinsky's silence about their relationship.

January was only the latest time Clinton had taken a personal interest in Lewinsky's job prospects, Clinton acknowledged in his Aug. 17 grand jury testimony, sources said. In the summer of 1997, he talked to White House deputy personnel director Marcia Scott about Lewinsky's desire to return to the White House after her involuntary reassignment to the Pentagon the year before.

Senior White House officials have told the grand jury that they wanted Lewinsky out of the White House because they believed she was spending too much time around the president, but claimed they did not know she was in an intimate relationship with him.

Clinton, sources said, discussed with Lewinsky her anger about being transferred and later asked Scott if there was a position for her back at the White House. But sources said Clinton issued no instructions to Scott and suggested she find something for Lewinsky only if it was "appropriate." In the end, sources said, Scott did not offer Lewinsky a job and assured her that her public affairs job at the Pentagon was far from a demotion or black mark on her record.