Hillary Clinton: Affair Wasn't Abuse Of Power Because Monica Lewinsky 'Was An Adult'

Hillary Clinton has claimed that her husband's affair when was President of the United States didn't count as an abuse of power because Monica Lewinsky was "an adult".

Appearing on CBS's Sunday Morning, the former Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State answered questions about Bill Clinton's affair with his then-22-year-old intern.

The scandal, which dominated headlines for months when it broke in late 1998, has come under new light in the wake of the #MeToo era, which has seen a number of high profile men in entertainment, media and politics resign over sexual harassment and assault.

President Clinton was impeached in 1998 by the House of Representatives, but was subsequently acquitted on two charges of impeachment by the Senate and served out the remainder of his four-year term until 2001.

"In retrospect, do you think Bill should've resigned in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal," asked CBS's Tony Dokoupil.

"Absolutely not," Hillary Clinton replied.

"It wasn't an abuse of power?"

"No. No."

Bill Clinton was more than double Monica Lewinsky's age when their affair began in 1995. Photo: Getty.

Dokoupil pressed the point. "There are people who look at the incidents of the 90s and they say, 'A president of the United States cannot have a consensual relationship with an intern; the power imbalance is too great," he said.

"...who was an adult," Clinton replied.

She then flipped the conversation to President Donald Trump, against whom there have been numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

"But let me ask you this: Where's the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made, and which he dismisses, denies and ridicules?"

Hillary Clinton Says Her Husband's Affair Was Not An Abuse Of Power

Earlier this year, Bill Clinton told CBS that he believes he "did the right thing", and that he doesn't owe Lewinsky an apology.

READ MORE: Bill Clinton On Whether He Owes Monica Lewinsky An Apology: 'No'

But Lewinsky, writing in the post-#MeToo era, has described Clinton's actions as a "a gross abuse of power".

Monica Lewinsky at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Photo: Getty.

Writing for Vanity Fair, Lewinsky revealed that she'd been diagnosed with PTSD following the explosion of media coverage, and that, several decades later, she was re-examining the consensual affair.

“Now, at 44, I’m beginning … to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern,” Lewinsky said.

“I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot, although power imbalances – and the ability to abuse them – do exist even when the sex has been consensual.

“But it’s … very, very complicated. The dictionary definition of ‘consent’? ‘To give permission for something to happen.’ And yet what did the ‘something’ mean in this instance, given the power dynamics, his position, and my age? Was the ‘something’ just about crossing a line of sexual [and later emotional] intimacy? An intimacy I wanted -- with a 22-year-old’s limited understanding of the consequences.

“He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college."

READ MORE: Monica Lewinsky Tells Hannah Gadsby She Bawled Her Eyes Out During Nanette

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au

Lead photo: CBS