Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday said her husband Bill Clinton was right in not resigning from the US presidency in the aftermath of his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998.
Amid a raging #Metoo storm, the two-decade old episode resurfaced with many questioning whether the power imbalance between a sitting president and an intern made it impossible for the relationship to be considered consensual.
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Hillary Clinton, who ran against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections said the incident could not be considered “abuse of power” as Lewinsky, 22 years old at the time, was an “adult.”
In 1999, the Senate held a month-long trial of president Clinton that ultimately fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to convict and remove him from office.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s has said that Clinton should have stepped down after he was impeached by a Republican-controlled House in late 1998 for lying about the affair.
Speaking to CBS News, Clinton defended her husband. Pressed on whether the relationship was an abuse of power, Clinton said: “No, no” and noted that Lewinsky “was an adult.” “There was an investigation and it, as I believe, came out in the right place,” news agency AFP quoted Clinton as saying.
Lewinsky, for her part, long maintained the affair was consensual, but in an essay published in Vanity Fair earlier this year wrote she had begun to re-evaluate that view.
Bill Clinton has also been accused by several other women of sexual misconduct in cases going back to the 1970s, prompting a reckoning of his place in history by Democrats in light of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.