President Clinton flatly says no. "There is not a sexual relationship," he told PBS — and much has been made of his use of the present tense. Potentially more serious is the allegation, which Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr has sunk his teeth into, that Clinton, along with confidant Vernon Jordan, conspired to make Lewinsky commit perjury in the Paula Jones case. It's not baseless — Starr has tapes — as many as 17 of them, CNN believes — of Lewinsky's conversations with her friend, Linda Tripp. On those tapes, according to the Washington Postand ABC News, are graphic details of Lewinsky's affair with the President — and the revelation that he told her to lie about it when subpoenaed by Paula Jones' lawyers.
So much for the accusations. What do we actually know for a fact? Only that Lewinsky has signed a sworn affadavit denying any affair; Clinton is "outraged;" his attorney Robert Bennett "smells a rat;" and even Starr himself is "upset" that his whole investigation has been outed by the media. There are stark, public and sharply contradictory versions of events. But the story shows every sign of going beyond a one-day tabloid sensation into a direct challenge to Clinton's presidency.