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Linda Tripp (1949–2020), Clinton/Lewinsky scandal whistleblower

by Linnea Crowther

Linda Tripp was a former White House employee best known for leaking recorded phone calls of Monica Lewinsky talking about the sexual relationship between herself and President Bill Clinton, which helped lead to the president’s impeachment.

A key player in the scandal

Tripp began working in the White House while George H.W. Bush (1924 – 2018) was president, and she remained there during the Clinton administration. She became friends with White House intern Lewinsky, and Lewinsky began confiding in Tripp about her relationship with the president. Tripp secretly recorded these phone calls and ultimately turned the recordings over to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. She was given immunity from prosecution for wiretapping in exchange for the tapes.

Tripp called it her “patriotic duty” to turn over the tapes. They were a crucial piece of evidence as Clinton was impeached in 1998. Public opinion over Tripp’s actions was mixed: Some considered her a brave whistleblower, while others believed she betrayed her friendship with Lewinsky in order to bring Clinton down.

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Tripp on recording Lewinsky

“[It] had nothing to do with politics. I was faced with a corruption — and again this was not partisan in any way — that was infecting the office of the presidency.” —from a 2018 speech

Full obituary: The Washington Post

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