Back when Monica Lewinsky was a young intern, she confided in an older civil servant working at the Pentagon by the name of Linda Tripp. The audio recordings that Tripp recorded of their conversation first blew up in the public eye during the Ken Starr investigation into former President Bill Clinton.
ABC is resurrecting the Clinton/Lewinsky investigation in a two-hour documentary called Truth and Lies: Monica that will air on January 10, 2019. “How did late-night phone calls between two friends explode into one of the biggest political scandals in American history? ‘Truth and Lies: Monica,’ a new two-hour documentary from ABC News, takes an up-close look at hours of surreptitiously recorded conversations between White House intern Monica Lewinsky and her confidante, Linda Tripp; how the saga that ensued took an emotional toll on the desperate, young intern; and the lengths her colleague would go to uncover an American president’s deception,” ABC reports.
How can you listen to the full Monica Lewinsky tapes? There are many hours of them, and they are available on YouTube. You can listen to many of the audio recordings below.
Here’s what you need to know:
Today, Monica Lewinsky is in her 40s. She was born on July 23, 1973. Does she have a husband? No, she’s never married, and, in some ways, the scandal that engulfed her early 20s has never gone away for her (Clinton said on the Today Show on June 4, 2018 that he doesn’t plan to offer her a direct apology). However, Lewinsky has slowly regained her voice and a new identity in the public eye, largely for speaking out against Internet abuse.
Lewinsky was only 22-years-old, when, as a White House intern, she had a relationship with the president. The president told Today he didn’t plan to ask Lewinsky directly for forgiveness, writing, “I do not. I have never talked to her. But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”
According to Rolling Stone, the women’s conversations run the gamut and include many incendiary comments about Clinton, including, Lewinsky telling Tripp of the then president: “I saw him for 60 seconds, Oh my God, Linda he looked so gorgeous” and claiming “I never even came close to sleeping with him,” an “We didn’t have sex, Linda.” At another point in the audio, Lewinsky tells Tripp: “Linda, if I ever want to have an affair with a married man again, especially if he’s President, please shoot me.”
Today, Linda Tripp, a mother of two and a grandmother, is married to Dieter Rausch, and they run a German Christmas store together in Virginia.
The Clinton-Lewinsky relationship, which began when Clinton was president and Lewinsky was a White House intern, spanned a year and a half and included “nearly a dozen sexual encounters in the White House,” according to History.com.
“In April 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. That summer, she first confided in Pentagon co-worker Linda Tripp about her sexual relationship with the president,” reports History.com, which adds that the relationship was over by 1997.
On Twitter, Lewinsky has called herself, “social activist. public speaker. vanity fair contributor. ambassador @bystanderrev + @antibullyingpro. knitter of things without sleeves #clickwithcompassion.” Most recently, her profile reads, “human/anti-bullying activist/speaker/@vanityfair contributor/@tedtalks giver/@resiliencefnd board member/rap song muse/former beret model. #clickwithcompassion.”
In 2014, Monica Lewinsky wrote a high-profile essay about the aftermath of the scandal for Vanity Fair.
The essay’s introduction said, “After 10 years of self-imposed reticence, and now hoping to help victims of Internet shaming, she critiques the culture that put a 24-year-old through the wringer and calls out the feminists who joined the chorus.”
In the article, she criticized what she called the “‘culture of humiliation’ that not only encourages and revels in Schadenfreude but also rewards those who humiliate others.” It thrives especially online, she wrote.
The scandal led to one of the most memorable presidential utterances in history. Bill Clinton told the nation: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”
Of course, it later turned out that Monica had preserved a blue dress that bore traces of the president’s DNA on it. Lewinsky eventually received immunity and testified before a grand jury.
According to History.com, Bill Clinton became “the second president in American history to be impeached,” but the Senate did not remove him from office.
President Donald Trump, despite the accusations against him, brought up the Clinton-era concerns during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he was running against Hillary Clinton.
Here’s more of the Monica Lewinsky tapes: