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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 29, 1998
                           PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL       

The Briefing Room

4:49 P.M. EDT

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There are a sufficient number of questions about the statement that David read that I just want to answer a few questions ON BACKGROUND. I want to stress that I'm on BACKGROUND, SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL.

Several things that you should know about the statement David made. He noted that the President is going to voluntarily provide his testimony. My understanding is that a subpoena was issued on July 17th for the President's testimony, but that subpoena has now been withdrawn. And to answer Bill's question, I'm not aware of any other subpoenas.

Q What do you mean withdrawn? I'm not clear.

Q Yes.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You can't voluntarily appear if there's a subpoena. So the fact that he's voluntary --

Q So Starr has agreed to withdraw the subpoena in light of this agreement is what you're telling us?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Has been withdrawn and the President will voluntarily testify.

The other question a couple of you had, was the grand jury going to be there. I am not aware of any plans for that, and obviously the fact that it's videotaped would suggest to you that that's probably up to Judge Starr to decide what to do with it, but he no doubt would want to play that for the grand jury would be my assumption.

Q Who is going to do the questioning, and will there be any limits on the kinds of --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Any other details on that we're not going to go into. I think that that is the product of the discussions and the understandings between Mr. Kendall and Mr. Starr. I don't have any further information.

Q Can you tell us whether there is any understanding about the questioning?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think they -- I have no doubt they talked a lot about it back and forth, but beyond what Mr. Kendall just said in his statement I'm not going to have any other --

Q Will Mr. Kendall be there?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Hold on, please. I'm not going to have any other additional details to provide --

Q -- to the length of the time or does the statement speak to it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It just says that he will provide his testimony on August 17.

Q Suggesting one day?

Q How does this -- with his schedule --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He was planning, obviously, to head up to Martha's Vineyard, and I can easily imagine that he'll want to go on vacation as soon as he can after this.

Q So he's delaying his vacation?

Q He would not go and come back?

Q He's delaying his departure?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. He planned to go up to the Vineyard that weekend, but this is Monday, the 17th. So he'll go up shortly after. I don't know whether he'll go up that night or the following day.

Q Obviously this will be as he has done before. Where has he given, physically at the White House, where has he given videotaped depositions before?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think it's been in the Map Room in the past. I would not jump to the conclusion that's necessarily where this will be. I don't have that. But that's -- the reference to prior occasions is presumably like it's been on prior occasions.

Q Was that agreement reached today, and did the judge have anything to do with it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can't answer the latter question. My understanding is that they felt sufficiently about putting this statement out as a product of discussions today and culminating this afternoon.

Q And was he in -- just in with the President, David Kendall?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He came over, David came over here to brief the President on this, and then I snagged him.

Q What's the President's reaction to this?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The President is obviously looking forward to a prompt resolution of the matter.

Q Was there any agreement that he would be the last person to testify?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't have any details on what aspects like that of the arrangements are that they made.

Q Who would be present?


Q Including his lawyer?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The statement made by Mr. Kendall simply says "lawyers."

Q Do you know whether lawyers will have a right to speak and to talk to their client during the process?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't know the answer to that and I don't expect that we're going to provide details like that.

Q Will Monica Lewinsky have testified before that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can't answer that question. I don't know -- I can't answer it because I don't know.

Q What was the President's role in this final arrangement?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, he obviously had to approve the arrangements made.

Q Was this what he instructed Mr. Kendall to work out?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We've indicated we've wanted a prompt resolution of the matter and he instructed Mr. Kendall to figure out a way to get the grand jury the information it needed.

Q Have lawyers been present at the previous --


Q It was this morning did you say that this came to a conclusion?


Q He instructed Kendall to do what?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think the discussions have been underway, but I think they were -- the arrangements were finalized this afternoon.

Q He instructed Kendall to do what?

Q It just says August 17th.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Mr. Kendall's statement very clearly says one day, August 17th.

Q He instructed him to do what? You said he instructed Kendall to do what?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: To ensure that the grand jury would have the information that it needs. And pursuant to those instructions from the President, Mr. Kendall had the discussions with Mr. Starr that we've told you about and --

Q And Kendall can be in the --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We did indicate that when they were complete, we would try to let you know, and we did. So we got something done for a change.

Q Kendall can be in the room?


Q All his lawyers can be there?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The President's testimony will be videotaped at the White House with lawyers present.

Q Do you have any idea, is the President going to keep his schedule so that he can work --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think the President is going to want to take some time to prepare. He's got blocks of time on -- I mean, his travel schedule, immediately, is going to remain the same. He will have some blocks of time available that he will spend with his lawyers, and I do anticipate that he'll have to spend some time with David and others preparing for his testimony.

Q But that week before that, he had a number of --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Those travel arrangements are going to stay put, but he will have now that weekend off.

Q Do you know if this will be sworn testimony?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't know the answer to that. I would presume so, because that was the case on prior occasions.

Q Are there any restrictions on the scope of the questioning?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Wolf, I just am not apprised as to all of the arrangements made between Kendall and Starr, and I don't think we're going to provide details on those kinds of arrangements.

Q Do you have any reason to believe there are restrictions?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I have reason to believe that this announcement is the product of a complex set of discussions.

Q Is it assumed it will be one day, or could it go on more than one day?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: For the third or fourth time now, the statement made by Kendall very clearly says August 17th. It doesn't say anything about additional days.

Q Any indication who is going to do the questioning? Was that part of the agreement as far as you know?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't know. That has changed -- on prior occasions, it's been different members of the OIC staff.

Q -- kind of thing the President wanted? I mean, these kind of --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think the President wanted to get on with business and reach a prompt resolution.

This is -- by the way, remember, this is a BACKGROUND session. I'm a senior administration official. Does anyone not understand those terms?

Q On background, does the President intend to testify fully and truthfully?


Q And do you expect him to stick to what he originally said in his --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm not going to preview his testimony.

Q And just to clarify, when you say the statement says August 17th, you were saying that that means that that is the only day available.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I've said that the testimony is on August 17th and I expect the President to depart shortly thereafter for his vacation. So that's that.

All right. Thanks, everyone.

END 4:56 P.M. EDT