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Government employee Linda Tripp was lived low-profile life before she became the catalyst in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. Her claim to fame is having covertly recorded her conversations with Monica Lewinsky about the affair the young intern was having with then-President Bill Clinton.
The whistleblower is depicted in the newest season of “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” a 10-episode show which dramatizes the 1990s controversy. Emmy-award-winning actor Sarah Paulson plays Tripp in the upcoming series.
Tripp became a White House civil servant in the George H. W. Bush administration and kept her job when Bill Clinton came into office in 1993. She began working in public affairs in Pentagon the following year.
Tripp told a Slate reporter, who described her as “a square,” in 2018 that she was not a fan of Clinton. She didn’t like his vulgarity or the way she felt he disrespected the White House. Furthermore, she said she really disliked how Clinton mistreated Lewinsky, a young intern she had become friends with.
Lewinsky was 22 and a White House intern in 1995 when she and Clinton began their affair. Lewinsky was reassigned to the Pentagon in 1996, where she and Tripp became friends despite Tripp being nearly a quarter-century her senior. Tripp told Slate that she viewed Lewinsky as a child and that even though she was in her twenties, she behaved like a young teenager. While Tripp was protective of Lewinsky, she also told Slate that she wanted to expose Clinton for who he was. She maintained that her motives were not political.
She began manipulating Lewinsky into talking to her on the phone about her affair with the president while she secretly taped the calls. What transpired was nearly 20 hours of recorded conversations that became a large part of the investigation that eventually led to Clinton's impeachment.
Once the scandal began unfolding in 1998, Tripp became a visible part of the controversy. While some viewed her as a hero, others deemed her a backstabber. Actor John Goodman played Tripp several times on “Saturday Night Live” skits.
A year after that infamous scandal, Tripp publicly supported for Kathleen E. Willey, another White House staffer who claimed that Clinton had fondled her in the White House.
Tripp lost her job at the Pentagon job when Clinton left office.
Tripp later sued the Department of Defense and the Justice Department after claiming that a Pentagon official released confidential personal information about her to The New Yorker during the height of the Lewinsky Scandal, the Associated Press noted last year. She received more than a half-million dollars as a settlement from that lawsuit in 2003.
Tripp married German architect Dieter Rausch in 2004 and tried to start a new life in rural Virginia, far away from all the White House drama, Slate reported. There, she lived on a horse farm where she spoke German at home and operated a year-long Christmas store.
She died last year at the age of 70 of pancreatic cancer. Lewinsky wished for her recovery before her death.
"Impeachment: American Crime Story" debuts on Sept. 7th on FX. It drops on Hulu on Sept. 8.
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