05:01 GMT04 June 2020
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    Linda Tripp, whose secretly taped conversations with Monica Lewinsky led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, has died age 70. She made a secret of covert recordings with the White House intern, which were handed over to independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr.

    Linda Tripp was a public affairs specialist at the Pentagon in 1994 and worked there with Monica Lewinsky, who would later get an internship at the White House.

    The pair became friends and when Lewinsky confessed to sexual liaisons with the President, Tripp betrayed their friendship by secretly taping her explosive relations and later handing them over. She said she was acting out of "patriotism."

    So what did Lewinsky say in those tapes?

    © AP Photo / KHUE BUI
    Linda Tripp meets with reporters outside federal court in Washington Wednesday July 29, 1998 after her final appearance before a grand jury investigating an alleged affair between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

    One of the most revealing conversations dates from 20 November 1997 when Tripp urges Lewinsky to keep hold of a stained blue dress she wore during a sexual encounter with the president.

    Linda Tripp (LT): So one other thing I want to say to you that you can do what you want with…I want you to think about this…and really think about it, instead of always just dissing what I say, O.K.?

    Monica Lewinsky (ML): I don't always dis what you say…but sometimes you’re such a…

    LT: You're very stubborn. You're very stubborn. The navy blue dress. Now, all I would say to you is, I know how you feel today, and I know why you feel the way you do today, but you have a very long life ahead of you, and I don't know what's going to happen to you. Neither do you. I don't know anything and you don't know anything. I mean, the future is a blank slate. I don't know what will happen. I would rather you had that in your possession if you need it years from now. That's all I'm going to say.

    ML: You think that I can hold onto a dress for 10, 15 years with from…

    LT: Hey, listen. My cousin is a genetic whatchamacallit…and during (trial of former NFL star) OJ Simpson, I questioned all the DNA, and do you know what he told me?

    Monica Lewinsky and her attorney William Ginsburg leave a Washington restaurant in February 1998, weeks after the scandal breaks.
    © AP Photo / CHARLES REX ARBOGAST
    Monica Lewinsky

    ML: Huh?

    LT: I will never forget this. And he's like a Ph.D, and blah, blah, blah. And he said that on a rape victim now - they couldn't do this, you know, even five years ago. On a rape victim now, if she has preserved a pinprick size of crusted semen, 10 years from that time, if she takes a wet Q-tip and blobs it on there and has a pinprick on a Q-tip, they can match the DNA with, absolutely, with certainty.

    ML: So why can't I scratch that off and put it in a plastic bag?

    LT: You can't scratch it off. You would have to use a Q-tip. And I feel like this is what I would tell my own daughter. That's why I'm saying this to you. I would say to my own daughter, for your own ultimate protection, which mea culpa, I hope you never need it. But I don't want you to - to take it away, either. I'm telling you, I would say this to my own daughter, who would tell me to off, but…

    ML: Well, I'll think about it.

    LT: All right.

    ML: I'll think about it. I just…

    LT: I…and believe me, I know how you feel now. I just don't want to take away your options down the road, should you need them. And believe me, I know better than anybody probably, other than your mother, that you would never, ever use them if you didn't have to. I know this. Believe me.

    LT: I just, I don't trust the people around him and I just want you to have that for you. Put it in a baggie, put it in a zip-lock bag, and you pack it in with your treasures, for what I care. I mean, whatever. Put it in one of your little antiques.

    ML: What for, though? What do you think?

    LT: I don't know, Monica. It's just this nagging, awful feeling I have in the back of my head.

    ML: What if I didn't have it?

    LT: Well, I know that. I'm just, I think it's a blessing you do, and it could be your only insurance policy down the road. Or it could never be needed, and you can throw it away.

    LT: But I never, ever want to read about you going off the deep end because someone comes out and calls you a stalker or something, and you have (inaudible) and he confirms it. Something, God forbid, awful like that.

    LT: And in this day and age, there's nothing I don't, I don't trust anybody. Maybe I'm being paranoid. If I am, indulge me. I'm not saying you should do it if you don't want to; I'm just saying I think it would be a smart thing to do. And then put it somewhere where no one knows where it is but you. And you don't label it, obviously. Of course, you don't say (what it is).

    ML: I know. I know.

    LT: (Laughing)

    Monica Lewinsky arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
    © AP Photo / Evan Agostini
    Monica Lewinsky arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

    The Lewinsky scandal first broke in The Drudge Report in January 1998 and was then covered by the Washington Post a few days later.

    On 26 January 1998 President Clinton, with his wife Hillary standing next to him, said in a televised speech: “I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false.”

    But in August 1998 he testified to a grand jury that he had engaged in an “improper physical relationship” with Lewinsky.

    The stained blue dress - with President Clinton’s semen on it - was used as evidence when Kenneth Starr charged him with perjury and in December 1998 he was impeached but by Congress but, like President Trump earlier this year, was acquitted of the charges and stayed in office until January 2001 when he was replaced by George W. Bush.

    Tags:
    White House, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky
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