NBC's Craig Melvin grills Bill Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky scandal in tense Today interview

Bill Clinton.
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Justin Lewis)

The president wasn't missing, but he may have wished to be.

Former President Bill Clinton sat for an interview with NBC's Craig Melvin on Sunday for a Today segment ostensibly about the novel he co-authored with legendary thriller writer James Patterson. The novel, called The President Is Missing, was released Monday, and Patterson sat beside the former president for the interview, which aired Monday morning.

But while Melvin did ask the men about the book, the conversation eventually turned toward Clinton's indiscretions and whether he had any regrets in light of the thundering #MeToo movement. Melvin noted that detractors say Clinton should've resigned after admitting to having an affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and asked the former president whether if he were president "now, in 2018," he would've handled things differently.

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Clinton immediately took a defensive tack, saying, "I don't think it would be an issue because people would be using the facts, instead of the imagined facts. If the facts were the same today, I wouldn't [do anything differently]." He added that he believes that "a lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted" from the 20-year-old scandal, blaming the renewed interest on people who are "frustrated" about the "serious allegations" of sexual assault made by many women against President Trump.

"I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution," Clinton said, before acknowledging that while he publicly apologized at the time to Lewinsky and her family, he never personally offered his contrition. Melvin pressed Clinton on that point, prompting the former president to issue a fiery defense of his record. Watch the full segment below — including NBC's masterful use of reaction shots from Clinton. Kimberly Alters

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