Linda Tripp made the decision to record private phone calls with her colleague, Monica Lewinsky, and reveal her affair with President Bill Clinton, leading to a national scandal that darkly defined the intern’s public image for life. Listen to the tapes here.
Tripp was a civil servant in the Pentagon at the time in 1998 and a former White House employee under President George H.W. Bush, according to ABC News. She was kept on board early during Clinton’s presidency. Tripp first decided to record the phone calls with Lewinsky after speaking with conservative literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, and telling Goldberg that Clinton had a girlfriend, ABC News reported.
Lewinsky served as the “main consultant” for “American Crime Story,” reviewing scripts and sending her notes and comments to the creators, producer Brad Simpson said at a TCA event, according to Oprah Daily. Impeachment: American Crime Story is the third part of the FX limited series. It airs tonight, Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at 10 p.m. Eastern time.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tripp Decided to Record Phone Calls With Lewinsky to Offer Proof of the Affair With Clinton & Had Discussions About How Lewinsky’s Public Reputation May Be Destroyed
Tripp was considering writing a book about her time in the White House when she revealed to Goldberg that the president had a girlfriend, according to ABC News. The women discussed the impact the revelation would likely have on Lewinsky, but Tripp ultimately decided to record the private phone calls, ABC News reported.
“Yeah, but you realize the press will destroy her,” Goldberg told Tripp, according to ABC News.
“You really think that they could destroy her?” Tripp responded, according to ABC.
“Well, but no, the publicity might destroy her. I mean, I love the idea. I would run with it in a second, but do you want to be the instrument of this kid, really?” Goldberg answered, according to ABC. “If you’re ready to go ahead with this, you have to be ready to lose her as a friend.”
“Oh, I have already made that decision,” Tripp responded, according to the ABC News report.
Tripp Was Indicted on Wiretapping Charges, Which Were Dropped, & Lewinsky Reflected on the Betrayal She Felt Over the Recordings
Tripp was indicted on wiretapping charges, which were ultimately dropped by state prosecutors when a pre-trial hearing eliminated Lewinsky as a witness, the Baltimore Sun reported at the time.
“My family and I are enormously gratified that the federal immunity I was given has finally provided the protection it promised,” Tripp said at the time, according to the Baltimore Sun.
She said in the statement reported by the Sun that she believed she did “the right thing.”
Lewinsky, however, described the secretly recorded phone calls and Tripp’s actions as a “fissure in my life that would never close up,” according to The New York Times. However, she decided that Tripp should be portrayed with “nuance” in Impeachment: American Crime Story.
Tripp died from pancreatic cancer in 2020, only one week after she was diagnosed, according to the Daily Mail. Lewinsky wrote on Twitter after learning of Tripp’s diagnosis that she hoped Tripp would recover.
“no matter the past, upon hearing that linda tripp is very seriously ill, i hope for her recovery. i can’t imagine how difficult this is for her family,” Lewinsky wrote.