Hillary condemns `right-wing conspiracy'


Hillary Clinton yesterday defended her husband against allegations that he had sex with a White House intern and said it is part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" working against him since he ran for the presidency.

Asked how she could be so calm, Mrs Clinton said: "I guess I've just been through it so many times. Bill and I have been accused of almost everything, including murder, by some of the same people who are behind these allegations."

Referring to the Monica Lewinsky crisis, Mrs Clinton advised viewers of the Today programme "just to be patient, take a deep breath and the truth will come out."

Mrs Clinton said she and the president had discussed his relationship with the former intern and "as this matter unfolds, the entire country will have more information. But we're right in the middle of a rather vigorous feeding frenzy right now and people are saying all kinds of things and putting out rumour and innuendo." She described the past week as "a gruelling ordeal, and it has required every bit of religious faith and spiritual resources Bill and I have. It has been an incredible personal challenge."

Asked about reports of gifts that the president gave to Ms Lewinsky, Mrs Clinton refused to comment on "specifics" and said this should be put in context. "Anyone who knows my husband knows he is an extremely generous person, to people he knows, to strangers, to anybody who is around him . . . I've seen him take his tie off and hand it to somebody."

Asked whether Mr Clinton should resign if it were proved that he committed adultery in the White House, she replied, "If all that were proven true, I think that would be a very serious offence. That is not going to be proven true. I think we're going to find some other things . . .some folks are going to have a lot to answer for."

Mrs Clinton was scathing about the Whitewater independent counsel, Mr Kenneth Starr. "We get a politically motivated prosecutor who is allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband, who has literally spent four years looking at every telephone call we've made . . . every cheque we've written, scratching for dirt, intimidating witnesses, doing everything possible to try to make some accusation against my husband."