LAST UPDATED: JUNE 12, 1998
AN OVERVIEW OF LINDA TRIPP:
Political affiliation: A registered Independent.
Role: Surreptitiously taped roughly 20 hours of conversations between herself and Monica Lewinsky in which Ms. Lewinsky reportedly claimed to have had a lengthy sexual relationship with President Clinton.
Background: A former Bush Administration White House employee, Linda Tripp says she survived into the Clinton White House after being recommended to Clinton’s transition team by a Bush aide.
Later, she worked as an administrative aide to Bernard Nussbaum in the counsel’s office of the Clinton Administration. This placed her just outside the office of Nussbaum’s deputy, the late Vincent Foster. In fact, she brought Foster lunch on the day he was later found dead in Fort Marcy Park. She was used as a witness by Kenneth Starr in his investigation of Foster’s death.
After Nussbaum’s departure she eventually left the counsel’s office and spent two years working in a basement office at the Pentagon before the arrival of Lewinsky and the subsequent start of their friendship.
According to a Newsweek article published in the Jan. 22 online edition of the Washington Post, Tripp has also testified before a federal grand jury and the Senate Whitewater investigation committee about the so-called Travelgate affair and has spoken to Starr’s assistants about Kathleen Willey whom Tripp says she had seen in the fall of 1993 leaving the Oval Office with her make-up smeared and her clothing askew. Tripp says Willey told her she had just had a sexual encounter with the president.
[On Jan. 29, The Washington Post reported an account it has received of Willey’s deposition in the Paula Jones case. In it, Willey described how the president “fondled her breast and put her hand on his genitals.” He then allegedly told her, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”]
After a Clinton lawyer publicly questioned Tripp’s credibility in relation to the Willey story, Tripp says she began to worry that she would remain in the sights of the White House and might possibly risk losing her job at the Pentagon if she told her Willey story under oath to Paula Jones’ lawyers. With the hope of creating some insurance for herself, she then began taping her conversations with Monica Lewinsky.
Lucianne Goldberg, a friend of Tripp’s as well as a New York literary agent, claims to have thought of the audiotaping idea. Her association with Ms. Tripp causes some to question Tripp’s motives in this case, since Ms. Goldberg moves in circles both close to Kenneth Starr and to publishers and writers of books antagonistic towards the Clinton presidency.
[A note which Ms. Lewinsky allegedly gave to Ms. Tripp containing instructions for altering her story during her deposition to Paula Jones’ lawyers could become crucial to this case, according to William Safire in his Feb. 13 NY Times column. Safire assumes Lewinsky did not write the note herself and points out that the person who did, if found, will likely face jail time. With the threat of a prison sentence, the author may choose to take others down with him (or her).]
MORE RESOURCE LINKS:
WHITE HOUSE REBUTTAL | CLINTON GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPT | LEWINSKY GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPT | NEW STARR RELEASE | 81 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS | EXPERTS TESTIFY ON IMPEACHMENT | HEARING TRANSCRIPTS: 2-DAY CLINTON DEFENSE | 184-PAGE CLINTON DEFENSE REPORT | CLINTON’S POST-IMPEACHMENT ADDRESS TO NATION | BIOS OF SENATE TRIAL MANAGERS | LEWINSKY DEPOSITION | JORDAN DEPOSITION | BLUMENTHAL DEPOSITION | MANAGERS’ CLOSING ARGUMENTS | PRESIDENT’S CLOSING DEFENSE
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