The Story of Linda Tripp
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On January 17, 1998, the Drudge Report released allegations about then-president Bill Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky to the public. By January 21, the mainstream press, including The Washington Post had picked up the story and spread the information throughout the American public.
During the summer of 1994, Linda Tripp was transferred from the White House to work at the Pentagon, in the public affairs office. In 1996, she met another former White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, who had also been offered a position at the Pentagon. The two became close friends over the span of a year and a half. In that time, Lewinsky disclosed information to Tripp about her secret affair with President Clinton. Soon after the information was revealed, Tripp began to record conversations with Lewinsky when she discussed details about her affair with Clinton. As Tripp gathered more information about the sordid affair, Lewinsky was asked to testify in the Jones v. Clinton case, where Clinton had been accused of sexual harassment prior to becoming president. The hope in involving Lewinsky in the case was that she would shed light on Clinton’s pattern of inappropriate sexual behavior. However, Lewinsky denied any claims of sexual involvement with Clinton. She also urged Tripp to deny any information about her affair with Clinton during the Jones v. Clinton trial.
In January of 1998, Tripp turned over the conversation recordings over to Kenneth Starr, who wished to use the tapes to prosecute President Clinton. She also informed Starr of the now-infamous “blue dress,” which had stains of Clinton’s semen on it, therefore providing DNA evidence of the affair. When Tripp had been close with Lewinsky, she had discouraged Lewinsky from getting the dress dry-cleaned, and instead urged her to hold on to the dress in case she ever needed it. This transfer of vital information granted Tripp immunity from prosecution.
Linda Tripp has acknowledged that she felt it was her patriotic duty to reveal the information that had been confided to her by Monica Lewinsky, and that she came forward out of self-defense, fearing for her own legal safety. Tripp’s testimonial led to Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton appearing before a grand jury. This led to the eventual impeachment of President Clinton on multiple counts of perjury and abuse of power.
On the final day of the Clinton Administration, January 19, 2001, Linda Tripp was terminated from her position at the Pentagon.
At the end of the grand jury questioning, Monica Lewinsky was asked if she had any last words, to which she simply responded, “I hate Linda Tripp.”