In a rare interview, Linda Tripp, a pivotal figure in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, revealed on Sunday it was common knowledge while she worked in the West Wing that Bill Clinton had affairs with “thousands of women.”
Speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” Tripp for the first time divulged that she personally knew another White House staffer aside from Lewinsky who was also having an affair with Clinton. That unnamed staffer was mentioned by Tripp in various depositions but she has not spoken about it publicly.
She charged that Hillary Clinton not only knew about her husband’s exploits, “She made it her personal mission to disseminate information and destroy the women with whom he dallied.”
Tripp says she cringes at the sight of Clinton presenting herself as “a champion of women’s rights worldwide in a global fashion, and yet all of the women she has destroyed over the years to ensure her political viability continues is sickening to me.”
Tripp documented evidence of Lewinsky’s phone calls about her relationship with Bill Clinton and submitted the evidence to independent counsel Kenneth Starr, leading to the public disclosure of the affair. She explained to Klein that she did so because she believed her own life and Lewinsky’s were in danger, saying that Lewinsky was threatening Clinton with outing the relationship.
Tripp also used the interview to criticize what she says is the news media’s unwillingness to investigate the Clintons. She singled out and thanked Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report, declaring that without him “things would have been very, very different.”
Drudge’s website was the first media outlet to break the Lewinsky scandal after Newsweek sat on the story.
Tripp had unique access to the Clintons because her office was directly adjacent to Hillary’s second floor West Wing office for the entire time she served in the Clinton White House from 1993 to the summer of 1994 with the exception of the first three months of the Clinton administration, when she sat just outside the Oval Office.
Tripp’s nonpartisan position was a carryover from the George H. W. Bush administration in which she served.
Listen to Part One of Klein’s interview with Tripp:
‘Monica Lewinsky is alive today because of choices I made’
She told Klein that her role in the Lewinsky case followed “years of alarm at what I had seen in the Clinton White House, particularly Hillary and the different scandals, whether it was Filegate, Travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster.”
“All of the scandals that had come before and were so completely obliterated in the mind’s eye of the American people because of the way all of them were essentially discounted. So I watched a lying President and a lying First Lady present falsehoods to the American people.
“So my dismay predated the January 1998 period when the Monica Lewinsky scandal surfaced. To me it was very important that the American people see what I was seeing. My years with the Clintons were so disturbing on so many levels.”
Tripp maintains that she went public with the Lewinsky evidence to ensure the intern’s safety as well as her own.
She told Klein:
I say today and I will continue to say that I believe Monica Lewinsky is alive today because of choices I made and action I took. That may sound melodramatic to your listeners. I can only say that from my perspective I believe that she and I at the time were in danger, because nothing stands in the way of these people achieving their political ends.
I think that had it not become public when it did, particularly in light of the Paula Jones lawsuit, which was coming to a head with President Clinton’s deposition, that we may well have met with an accident. It’s a situation where unless you lived it as I did you would have no real framework of reference for this sort of situation.
Tripp said the young Lewinsky, 21-years-old when she entered the White House as an intern, was unaware of the danger that she faced.
She described Lewinsky as a “young girl, smart, clever … but in this one area she was blinded and she fancied herself in love.”
He fancied himself entitled. It was nothing more than a servicing agreement. She romanticized that there was an affair. And when it didn’t pan out the way she had hoped it would – he had promised her he would bring her back to the White House as soon as the 1996 election campaign had finished. When he didn’t, she essentially lost her mind and started acting in erratic and frightening ways. Threatening the president.
There came a point in July of 1997 when she not only threatened to expose the affair, as she referred to it. But also she at that time informed him that I knew all about it. So at that time it became dangerous for Monica and for me. This was something that absolutely could never see the light of day. And she never realized the implications of threatening a president or her behavior. And I did.
Listen to Part Two of Klein’s interview with Tripp:
‘Thousands’ of women
Tripp told Klein that “the biggest fallacy that most people believed is that this was a unique occurrence. Monica was somehow special. And regrettably that’s the farthest thing from the truth.”
She said, “Everyone knew within the West Wing, particularly those who spent years with him, of the thousands of women.
“Now most of your listeners might find that difficult if not impossible to believe. And I can tell you in the beginning I felt the same way. But let me be clear here. This is a pattern of behavior that has gone on for years. And the abuse of women for years.”
Asked whether Clinton was having affairs with others in the West Wing, Tripp replied, “I know that to be true. One in particular who I will not name told me this herself.”
“But as to the hundreds or thousands, remember I worked closely with the closest aides to the president. And it was a loosey-goosy environment so there was not a lot of holding back. So it was common knowledge, let’s put it this way, within the West Wing that he had this problem. It was further common knowledge that Hillary was aware of it.”
Listen to Part Three of Klein’s interview with Tripp:
Hillary ‘instilled fear’
Tripp described the tense West Wing atmosphere between what she characterized as two almost diametrically opposed Clinton camps.
The dynamic between the two groups – the Bill Clinton people and the Hillary Clinton people. It was as though they were almost opposing forces. But I can tell you that the one with the power and the one that instilled the fear in the other was the Hillary camp.
And the [Bill] Clinton people would cower if she were coming into the area, just as an example, of the Oval without notice. There would be scurrying around to make sure there was no one in the wrong place at the wrong time, shall we say. It was a fascination to see the amount of energy that was expended covering up his behavior. It was horrifying.
Hillary’s ‘war on women’
Tripp said Hillary personally targeted Bill’s female conquests and accusers, with the future presidential candidate exhibiting behavior that is “egregious and it’s so disingenuous.”
In my case, for instance, right after the Lewinsky story broke, she was heard directing her staff to get anything and everything on Linda Tripp. So the defamation of character and the absolute assurance that my credibility would be destroyed began right away. And it happens with any woman who is involved in any way, either with him in a physical relationship or an assault or anything that can endanger their political viability.
Tripp recalled Hillary’s January 27, 1998 appearance on NBC’s The Today Show in which she was seen as standing by her husband while blaming the Lewinsky scandal on a “vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”
“She didn’t do it in an honest way,” said Tripp of Clinton’s NBC interview. “Instead she lied, which didn’t surprise me. And I will give her credit. She is enormously effective. And became a victim. A wife who was betrayed.”
“This is someone who had no real personal problem with any of this behavior. The problem was in it becoming public. They had to continue to become electable… She was the more aggressive one in ensuring that the political viability was not endangered in any way.”
Tripp told Klein that Hillary “does not possess integrity on any level. I just wish that your listeners could know the person that I knew. Because if they did there is not a chance she would be elected president.”
Listen to Part Four of Klein’s interview with Tripp:
Disdain for military, classified material, email scandal
Tripp’s ringside seat afforded her rare insight into the scandals of the 1990s and perhaps alleged wrongdoings to come, with the West Wing employee personally witnessing behavior that may have foreshadowed Clinton’s email scandal, in which she is accused of sending classified materials through her personal server.
Tripp said she noticed major differences in the manner in which classified material was handled by both the Clinton and Bush administrations in which she served.
President George H.W. Bush’s administration had “a completely different way of operating on every level, including on classified and secret material,” she said.
All the regulations were followed, right down to a cover sheet being essential if the document had had any sort of classifications. The securing of classified documentation in safes. The burn bags that were used if any sensitive material was to be disposed of. All of this was familiar to me and followed every security protocol that I had experienced in the past.
When the Clintons came in this was one of the things that I found appalling right from day one. And it went hand and hand with the disdain for the military. The military was present in the White House in the form of presidential aides. The aide that carried the nuclear football, just as an example. And in the Bush White House they were respected, as they should be. In the Clinton White House, they were disdained. To see it treated this way and to see these people treated this way was disturbing.
Tripp referred to Clinton’s private mail woes as “classic Hillary Clinton in a nutshell.”
“She gets to decide what she does. Look, the rules don’t apply to the Clintons. If you understand that basic premise you understand the Clintons.”
For Tripp, Clinton’s use of a private server was “all about control. She has a need to control every single aspect of her life. And you know anyone in government knows that any key stroke on a keyboard within a government agency belongs to the government… it is not up to the employee on any level to control what happens to it for posterity.”
‘Eternally grateful to Matt Drudge’
Tripp said she was personally hurt by the way the news media portrayed her as betraying Lewinsky when she says she was motivated by a sense of duty to country and fear for the personal safety of Lewinsky and herself.
“It was very sad to me to see that my children had to see their mother, who had always sort of done the right thing, be destroyed this way in the media.”
Although she never spoke to or met Drudge, Tripp used the interview with Klein to state that she is “eternally grateful” to Drudge for his historic role in exposing the Clintons and “for reporting things that no one else literally in the mainstream media covers at all.”
It is a service to the country and it’s something that we need more of. We don’t have enough Matt Drudges out there. And he’s sort of a one-man show in my opinion that the mainstream media doesn’t touch in any way. So just personally I would thank him for his work. And people like me are dependent on people like him who get it out into the, over the public airwaves and into the people’s homes and they can at least consider whether or not they want to believe the other side of the story.