Bill compared his presidency to a boxer “staggering” around after a 15-round prize fight that’s been extended to 30-rounds, leaving him searching for an outlet, which he found in Lewinsky.
“And here’s something that’ll take your mind off it for a while,” Bill said of his two-year affair. He continued, “Everybody’s life has pressures and disappointments, terrors, fears of whatever. Things I did to manage my anxieties for years.”
Episode three of the four-part series, titled “The Hardest Decision,” examines the affair that nearly ended Bill’s presidency and haunted Hillary throughout her own political career. It opens up with footage from the 2016 campaign in which Donald Trump discusses the scandal, referring to Hillary, his opponent at the time, as “an enabler.” Later on, Bill’s deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against him is shown.
He was asked detailed questions about Lewinsky during this deposition, which was later used against him. Bill made statements denying the affair, which led to the perjury charges that then led to his impeachment in the House, before his ultimate acquittal in the Senate in 1999.
Bill went on to reveal that once news of his relationship with Monica began to circulate, he woke Hillary to alert her personally.
“I was just waking up … I was having a hard time processing, and I said, ‘What are you talking about? What is this? What do you mean?'” Hillary recalled. “He said, ‘There’s nothing to it. It’s not true. I may have been too nice to her, I may have paid her too much attention … but there was nothing. He was adamant, and he was convincing to me.”
The 72-year-old former first lady said she was initially convinced that the accusation was false.
“If they could make up something, they were so partisan that they would do it.”
Eventually, Bill confessed to the affair.
“I went and sat on the bed and talked to her. I told her exactly what happened, when it happened,” he confessed in the documentary. “I said I feel terrible about it … I have no defenses; it’s inexcusable what I did.”
Hillary unsurprisingly said that the news left her “devastated,” which is apparent in her clearly emotional demeanor while speaking about the incident.
“I was so, you know, personally hurt. It just … anyway, it was … horrible.”
After his wife was aware of his infidelity, Bill was forced to disclose the information to the couple’s daughter.
“Justifiably, what I did was wrong. I just hated to hurt her, but … we all bring our baggage to life, and sometimes we do things we shouldn’t do, and it was awful what I did.”
Despite Bill moving on with his life, he did extend his apologies to Monica.
“I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky’s life was defined by it, unfairly I think, over the years I’ve watched her try to get a normal life again,” he said.
Lewinsky, now 46, has said that the relationship with Bill was “a gross abuse of power,” on his part, considering their 27-year age gap and his position as president at the time.
Though Hillary doesn’t comment on the impact of the affair, she said that she and her husband underwent counseling, which led to “painful, painful discussions.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And while the affair was troubling for Hillary, she maintained that Bill should not have been impeached over it.
“He shouldn’t have done what he did, he shouldn’t have tried to hide it, but it was not an impeachable offense.”
Despite backlash scrutiny, Hillary decided to stick with Bill, a move he is forever grateful for.
“I was so grateful she thought we still had enough to stick it out.”