Linda Tripp



The William J. Clinton administration and the American public was taken by storm as news of President Clinton's alleged sexual relationship with a 25 years old former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, broke out on January 17, 1998. The Lewinsky scandal lead to Clinton impeachment by the House of Representatives and acquittal by the Senate and forever linked his presidency with inappropriate sexual behavior, professional misconduct, and moral corruption. Linda Tripp, a close confidante of Lewinsky, documented details and taped conversations of her discussing her intimate relationship with the president. Tripp exposed the relationship to the Office of Independent Consul which lead to Clinton's testimony before the grand jury in 1998. Through the courageous actions taken by Tripp, the Monica Lewinsky scandal astonished the world in 1998 and stands as one of the most defining moments of Clinton's tenure as President.


In June of 1995, the 21 years old Monica Lewinsky arrived at the White House as an unpaid intern in the office of Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta. Beginning in November of 1995, Lewinsky and Clinton started a sexual relationship that lasted until March of 1996. During these 5 months, Lewinsky documented at least nine occasion of sexual encounters with President Clinton. In April of 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to a job as an assistant to Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon. At the Pentagon, Lewinsky met Linda Tripp, a 47 year old government worker. Tripp (pictured in the far right) was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and served as Army Intelligence secretary at Fort Meade before transferring to a position in Washington D.C. She was an employee in the George H.W. Bush administration who later transferred to the Public Affairs office in the Pentagon.


Tripp, a government worker, became a close companion of Monica Lewinsky following her move to the Pentagon's public affairs office. Lewinsky confided to Tripp that she was involved in a physical relationship with a "married man" in the White House but it was not until the late 1996 when she revealed that it was President Clinton. In March of 1997, Tripp was approached by a reporter from Newsweek about what he had heard of a sexual relationship between Clinton and an aide, Kathleen Willey. Tripp recalled that she has seen Willey emerge from the Oval Office with her blouse untucked, her makeup smeared and appears to be "joyful and happy". After her quote appeared on Newsweek, Robert S. Bennett, Clinton's personal lawyer, referred to Tripp as someone that "should not be believed". In hearing about Bennett's bitter words, she was inspired to prove that she was telling the truth. In October of 1997, she met with Jonah Goldberg, a New York literary agent, and she told Tripp that she need to clear her name by taping her conversation with Lewinsky which will demonstrate her credibility. After consulting with Goldberg, Tripp was still debating whether to record her conversation but decided to so after she became worried that she might be subpoenaed in a sexual misconduct lawsuit against President Clinton filed by another woman, Paula Jones. With fear of a possibly trial and determined to clear her name, Tripp bought a $100 voice activated tape recorder and began to surreptitiously tape phone conversations with Lewinsky while she discussed her relationship with the president and her Oval Office dalliances. Along her secretly recording conversation with Lewinsky, Tripp convinced her to conserve the presents that Clinton bestowed her and not to launder her infamous blue dress which contained Clinton's DNA and later served as one of the key components and evidence of Clinton's impeachment trial. In January of 1998, she delivers the recording to her lawyer, Jim Moody and approached Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel, whom she supplied with more than 20 hours of recordings. Starr, who was investigating the Whitewater Scandal which Bill and Hilary Clinton were suspected of taking inappropriate benefits during his tenure as governor of Arkansas, was informed by Tripp about the possible effects to conceal and cover up this relationship by Clinton. For her cooperation, she received immunity from prosecution. The tapes contained evidence which Lewinsky detailed her affair with Clinton and indicate that Clinton and his friend friend Vernon Jordan allegedly told Lewinsky to lie under oath for another sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton. Under the encouragement of Starr and the FBI, Tripp wore a hidden wire and met with Lewinsky twice at the Ritz-Calton hotel in Arlington, VA where Lewinsky exposed more intimate detail about her inappropriate relationship with Clinton. Based on the overwhelming evidence from the recording, Starr obtained approval from the Attorney General and expanded his investigation in the relationship of Clinton and Lewinsky.


News of the affair broke out on a internet gossip website, the Drudge Report, who cited that Newsweek had investigated and delayed the reports of an alleged affair between Clinton and Lewinsky. The story first broke out on mainstream press after the Washington Post reported it on January 21, 1998. As the clamor and demand for answers grew louder and massive circulation of the story, Clinton and the White House swiftly denied any participation in an affair. Between January 21 and 24, Clinton repeatedly stated his innocence before his cabinet staff and ask former members to return to the White House to assist in dealing with the controversy. On January 22, Vernon Jordon held a press conference in which he denied any intentions of asking Lewinsky to lie under oath and reconfirmed that Lewinsky told him that she was not romantically involved with Clinton. After being unable to satisfy mass opinion and proclaim his innocence, Clinton held a White House press conference along with his wife on January 26, 1998. In his speech, he strongly denied any involvement in a relationship outside his marriage and this is later known as one of the greatest sound bites of his presidency. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never." Upon mass speculation and debate, Clinton chose not to address the affair in his State of the Union address. Throughout the next several months, Clinton continued to stress his innocence and that he did not obstruct justice. Due to Lewinsky's unwillingness to cooperation, there are no evidence beyond the existence of Tripp's tapings. On July 28, 1998, Lewinsky agreed to testify in court in exchange for transactional immunity and turned over her DNA tainted blue dress, which Tripp has persuaded her to save, to the authority who in turn sent it to the FBI lab for further testing. Subsequently, Clinton agreed to testify voluntarily. In his deposition, Clinton denied any involvement with Lewinsky but based on the DNA results of Lewinsky's dress, the court concluded that Clinton had given a false testimony under oath. Later, Clinton admitted to receiving inappropriate sexual favors from Lewinsky and on August 17, he became the first president to testify before a grand jury and he went on national television to admit that he had a inappropriate sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Due to his false testimony, Clinton was held in civil contempt of court by Judge Susan D. Wright and had his license to practice law suspended in the state of Arkansas for five years and was fined $90,000 for giving false testimonies under oath. On September 9, 1998, Starr submitted his report and 18 boxes of material to the House of Representatives. On September 11, 1998, the House of Representative votes to receive the Starr report and the House Judiciary Committee takes possession of the material and released the first 445 pages to the public. During the impeachment trial of Clinton, news of multiple Republican representatives, who strongly advocated for impeachment, was part taking in marital infidelity. The Democrats and Clinton supporters accursed them of hypocrisy. On December 19, 1998, after the passage of House Resolution 611, Clinton was impeached due to false testimony before a grand jury and obstruction of justice. However, two articles of impeachment failed as the House voted against a second count of a perjury in Jones trial and another accusing Clinton of abusing his executive powers. The impeachment was sent to the Senate for ratification and on January 7, 1999, the Senate trials began. On February 12, 1999, William J. Clinton was acquitted on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The tumultuous year of scandal came to an end as 55 members of the senate voted against his impeachment and a 50-50 vote on charges for the obstruction of justices. The acquittal and ruling of Clinton was predictable given the near party line votes on impeachment charges in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The ruling allowed Clinton to complete the remaining 702 days of his second term in 1999. Although Clinton was found not guilty of both charges and allowed to continue his tenure, his legacy is forever linked with inappropriate hallway sex and the infamous blue dress. The investigation, impeachment, and trial hindered the administration and the country's attention from dealing with crucial problems such as the growing domestic business and foreign policies. In a New York Times survey completed shorter after the trials, it reveals that 60 percent believed the Lewinsky matter would have a serious effect on his Administration over the next two years. Although Clinton commanded much of the spotlight, his now demoralized staff must face the possibly political consequence in the future. For the remaining two years of his tenure, Clinton must face a Cabinet whose own credibility he compromised by allowing them to embrace his denials in the Lewinsky scandal and the millions of America who now suspect his integrity and honor. Even though, Clinton may have regained his political power but his moral authority stands lingering in the wakes of the scandal.


In 1998, Linda Tripp went from an obscure government worker to front page of national media outlets when she exposed Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Immediately after the scandal, Tripp was arrested for violating wire taping rules in the state of Maryland with 49 democrats in the Maryland legislate calling for her persecution. Due to the immunity agreement that she reached with Kenneth Starr, the Independent Counsel, much of the evidence that could be used in her persecution was not accessible. The plaintiff called Monica Lewinsky as a key witness at the pre-trial hearing but the state court deemed that Lewinsky, who had admitted to lying under oath, was not credible. Therefore, all charges were dismissed on May 26, 2000 under the ground of lack of evidence. On January 19, 2001, the last day of Clinton's administration, Tripp was fired from her post at the Pentagon. Tripp was also involved in a lawsuit in which she accused the Department of Defense and the Justice Department for violating the Privacy Act of 1974. She cited that both agency released her confidential information to the media. In 2003, both parties agreed on a settlement under which she would receive a payment of more than $595,000, a retroactive promotion, and salary for the years of 1998, 1999, and 2000. She will also receive a life time pension and will be cleared to work as a federal worker once again. The settlement also preserved her right to claim a class act lawsuit against the federal government. In an interview with Larry King, she announced that she is suffering from breast cancer and she revealed that despite a successful lawsuit, she did not receive a signifiant amount of financial benefits due to the hefty fees from her attorney and other charges. Tripp undergone a $30,000 plastic surgery performed by Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Keyes. Since the scandal, she moved to Northern Virginia and married Dieter Rausch, a German architect. She now owns a year-round Christmas shop, the Christmas Sleigh, in Middleburg, Virginia.


Through the scandalous year of 1998, one can only hope that a presidency is not only judge on merit and peace but also of moral judgement and personal choices. Bill Clinton's approval rating at the peak of the trials was 63% according to the CBS. Although the Clinton administration is characterized as one of the most prosperous eras in American history, the images and context of inappropriate sexual relationships forever tainted this writer's sour view on Bill Clinton. Clinton not only lied to his own staff but to the American people. He denied all accusation against him and even went on national television to deliver his innocence. This writer believes that if Clinton were not forced to testify in a grand jury, he would have continued to denied all allegation and speculation from Starr and Lewinsky. From Tripp's perspective, the writer can only hope that she acted out of self-defense and her patriotic duties but the evidence behind her meeting with Newsweek leads the writer to believe that she only taped Lewinsky in hopes of scoring a luxury book deal with literacy agent, Goldberg. Through all the trauma from the trial to the alleged affair, future politicians must bear in the mind that they must maintain the highest moral integrity and honor while serving their fellow citizens. Although the leaked tapes did not result in a tremendous amount of change in the time, over 73% of American approved of his administration in December of 1998, it shaped the way future generation interrupt William J. Clinton and linked his legacy to sexual misconduct while he held the highest post of civil service.

Selected Videos

Bill Clinton I Did Not, Have, Sexual, Relations, with THAT Woman, Monica Lewinsky.flv
Clinton Impeachment Hearings (Part 1 of 3)
Clinton Impeachment Hearings (Part 2 of 3)
Clinton Impeachment Hearings (Part 3 of 3)
Monica Lewinsky on Larry King (part 4)
Monica Lewinsky discusses her relationship with Linda Tripp


Work Cited

Works Cited

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A Chronology: Key Moments In The Clinton-Lewinsky Saga. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

Clinton and the Intern. Washington Post, 2 Feb. 1998. Web. <>.

"Clinton Impeachment Hearings (Part 1 of 3)." YouTube. YouTube, 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

"Clinton Impeachment Hearings (Part 2 of 3)." YouTube. YouTube, 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

"Clinton Impeachment Hearings (Part 3 of 3)." YouTube. YouTube, 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

Clinton: Lewinsky Affair a 'terrible Moral Error' Cable News Network, 21 June 2004. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. <>.

"Government Settles with Tripp for $595,000." CNN. Cable News Network, 6 Nov. 2003. Web. 16 Feb. 2013.

In Linda Tripp's Career, Clues to Her Motivation. Washington Post, 25 Jan. 1998. Web. <>.

Jr., Elaine Sciolino And Don Van Natta. "TESTING OF A PRESIDENT: THE CONFIDANT; Linda Tripp, Elusive Keeper Of Secrets, Mainly Her Own." The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Mar. 1998. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

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"Map of the West Wing of the White House." Map of the West Wing of the White House. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

"Monica Lewinsky on Larry King (part 4)." YouTube. YouTube, 08 Mar. 2010. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

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Staff, TIME. "Where Are They Now: The Clinton Impeachment." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.

"The Stained Blue Dress of Monica Lewinsky That Almost Lost APresidency." The Stained Blue Dress of Monica Lewinsky That Almost Lost APresidency. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2013.

"The Stained Blue Dress of Monica Lewinsky That Almost Lost APresidency." The Stained Blue Dress of Monica Lewinsky That Almost Lost APresidency. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.

Transcript: Linda Tripp on 'Larry King Live' Cable News Network, 16 Jan. 1999. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.