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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Monicagate Need Never Have Been

Former President Boris Yeltsin has said he knew in advance of the impending sex scandal involving U.S. President Bill Clinton but chose not to warn him.

Yeltsin, interviewed by ORT television Saturday to coincide with the presentation of his third book, also said former German Chancellor Helmut K?hl had been treated unfairly by his own Christian Democrat Party over a funding scandal.

Yeltsin told ORT that he still admired Clinton despite scandals surrounding his presidency.

"We had talks about 20 times over all that time and I have no intention, over a single incident, of changing my opinion of him," he said.

Yeltsin said Russia’s intelligence services had made him aware that Republicans were planning to go public with the scandal but he decided not to tell Clinton.

"I got the data far in advance and had the chance to warn him but decided against it," he said.

"First of all, I found it revolting by our moral standards. Secondly, I didn’t really believe it, and thirdly, I thought that Bill Clinton would find a way to deal with it."

The interview coincided with Yeltsin’s presentation at a glittering ceremony of his third book, titled "The Presidential Marathon" in Russian and "Midnight Diaries" in English.

Yeltsin also fondly remembered his relations with both former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and with K?hl.

He said his own departure from the political scene was the first time a Russian leader had quit without coming under a barrage of abuse or scandal.

"For the first time a president stepped down and was not spat upon," he said. "That allows for further action in the political and other arenas."

Yeltsin also took full responsibility for the bloodshed in Chechnya in the interview, according to The Associated Press. "I cannot shift the blame for Chechnya, for the sorrow of numerous mothers and fathers," he told his interviewer, ORT general director Konstantin Ernst. "I made the decision, therefore I am responsible."

(Reuters, AP)