Only two hours after that, ABC News delivered a bombshell: Lewinsky had turned over to Starr a navy blue cocktail dress with a telltale stain.
The dress was sent to the FBI lab for testing, but Clinton, in all likelihood, could guess at the results.
In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, four out five Americans say that the First Lady must have known "for some time" about her husband's extramarital relationship with Lewinsky. The 300-plus-page report now being written by the office of the independent counsel -- expected for delivery to Congress by late September -- will include graphic vignettes of sexual encounters in the president's small study off the Oval Office.
The common assumption around Washington last week was that Hillary was posing as a victim so she wouldn't look like a liar. (The principal staffer assigned to write the report, a nonpracticing lawyer named Stephen Bates, is the author of one earlier book -- a study of the press entitled "If No News, Send Rumors.") Starr is known to believe that the public will be deeply offended by some of the kinkier details.
At a morning meeting in the office of White House counsel Chuck Ruff, the aides asked if the item was true.