Most US Presidents have at least one significant footnote in the country’s history that outlasts their terms and creates a legacy.

Very few have passed through the office where no significant changes were asserted onto the United States or where nothing of historic note happened which they had to preside over.

Even calm years can have turmoil that a President has to navigate for his country. A few of them made their turmoil. 

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was known for a few things. He was a much more bold public face than the Presidents before him.

He was more casual, down to Earth, an “entertainer” in his speeches, and a beloved public figure. He had his share of misdirections and international incidents, such as bombing campaigns in the Middle East.

But everyone knows him for one thing above all of that: his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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10 /10 How It Started

Bill Clinton was President from 1992 to 2000, with official years in the office of ’93 to ’01. He succeeded in the position of former president George H. W. Bush and was succeeded by his son, George W. Bush.

During that time, he oversaw several incidents, such as escalating tensions and violence in the Middle East, and at that time, he was already having one significant affair.

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9 /10 Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky was an intern under Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. She got the job through a family connection; though it was an unpaid internship, it promised immense credibility for working close to the President.

She took the job in 1995 and later that same year was given a paid position in Legislative Affairs.

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8 /10 The First Flirt

In 1996, she was relocated from the White House offices to the Pentagon when her superiors became suspicious of spending time around the President.

By that time, it was already too late, as the affair allegedly began in 1995 and carried to 1997 despite the distance drawn between them. She even denied a job at the United Nations upon being selected for an interview.

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7 /10 Tripping The Wire

Monica first confided in her friend Linda Tripp about the affair. Tripp instructed Lewinsky to keep all her gifts and not clean a stained dress as “insurance.”

Tripp then talked to a literary agent about what she learned and advised recording their conversations.

These recordings went on and were sent to the lawyers in charge of the Paule Jones case – a woman who claimed Bill Clinton sexually harassed her previously.

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6 /10 Breaking The Gate

The scandal erupted in January of 1998 through the Drudge Report and later through The Washington Post. Days later, Bill Clinton denied, famously, having “sexual relations with that woman” in a clip that, for its time, became viral.

His wife Hillary spoke up for him, denouncing it as a “right-wing conspiracy” to discredit Bill as a Democrat and President. The next few months were covered by investigations and hearings, leading to the first trials.


5 /10 Indicting Indecency

Bill Clinton was deposed and put before a senate jury to address the claims. Monica also turned over her dress with his semen stains, which became irrefutable evidence in the case against him.

Clinton did admit to having an affair, which then led to charges of perjury for lying about it in the first place, as well as obstruction of justice.

These all led to letters of impeachment being put forward to remove him from office following a trial where he would have to prove his innocence against all the proof in the world.

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4 /10 Operation Wag The Dog

In August of 1998, just three days after Clinton testified in his famous “what the definition of is is” standing, his previously launched military effort “Infinite Reach” led to bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq in retaliation for al-Qaeda bombings earlier that year.

This was seen as a distraction attempt to get the public eye away from his sex scandal – and mirrored the events of a movie released the previous year about a President in a sex scandal starting a fake war to distract from it before re-election.

The coincidence was written off, but the bombings were not forgotten.

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3 /10 A History Of Corruption

This wasn’t Lewinsky’s first time running an affair. She was alleged to have had experiences with her high school drama teacher after she graduated, and then once again, she went to college in Portland, Oregon.

She revealed on Larry King Live in 2000 that she had an affair after the Clinton scandal as well, shortly before vanishing from the public after her image as a “presidential homebreaker” was put forward.

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2 /10 Crime And Punishment

Clinton was acquitted and effectively released from any legal wrongdoings in the end after a majority vote failed to impeach him or maintain his guilt within the Senate.

His collective punishment was a $90,000 fine and a suspension of his ability to practice law in the state of Arkansas for five years, which later led to a disbarring of his legal credentials.

His further punishment has come many, many years later where the scandal has overtaken his entire persona and legacy, in the same way that Watergate did to Nixon.

All of his accomplishments have been shadowed by the presence of his relationship with his office intern. His reputation has never recovered – not that he seems to care.

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1 /10 The Other Story

As for Monica, she did confirm – more than once – that the relationship happened but was mutual and consensual, albeit slightly unprofessional.

She even took the blame for herself later on, outright insisting that some fault did lie with her.

She left the public eye until around 2014, when she re-emerged to discuss the scandal, its fallout, how public perception can affect trials.

She spoke out about cyberbullying and has remained a positive public figure in various activist circles, including the #MeToo movement – though she was not specific on who had sexually harassed her. Perhaps it was an understatement.

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