A trailer for the new season of the FX series American Crime Story is telegraphing a smear job against former President Bill Clinton’s enemies in his 1998 impeachment scandal — particularly Linda Tripp, the woman who gathered the evidence of Clinton’s dalliance with intern Monica Lewinsky.
The trailer follows Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) as she becomes involved with the sex predator president (Clive Owen). But it also focuses on the times Lewinsky confided in Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson). And Tripp is portrayed as dark, scheming, and manipulative in the trailer.
“Monica can never find out,” she says in a phone conversation — presumably about her secret tapes of their conversations — before the trailer cuts to a shot of Lewinsky, looking betrayed and hurt, whirling to look at Tripp, who cowers in shame.
If the trailer is any indication, the Impeachment: American Crime Story series will locate much of the blame for the 1998 impeachment trial on Tripp for daring to document the illicit relationship between Lewinsky and the president.
As the trailer approaches its climax, White House Counsel Bernard “Bernie” Nussbaum (Kevin Pollak) warns that Republicans investigating Clinton are engaging in a witch hunt. “They will not stop until they find a crime,” he barks at someone off-camera. “They will not stop! Do you understand?”
That spin — that Clinton did not clearly perjure himself and was set up by conservative operatives comes straight out of CNN pundit Jeffrey Toobin‘s book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President — which the showrunners admit is the source material for the series.
According to actress Beanie Feldstein, Monica Lewinsky was personally involved in the writing of the limited series. “When I received the scripts, I knew that every word that I was saying was approved and had been to Monica first,” Feldstein told Entertainment Weekly.
However, executive producer/writer Sarah Burgess admitted that as much as Lewinsky was consulted during the writing stage, she never took the time to consult with either Linda Tripp (who passed away in April of last year) or Clinton accuser Paula Jones, who is also a main character in the show.
Burgess added that all of America is guilty over the Clinton scandal, and it was “a crime that we are guilty of collectively as Americans” because of how the nation responded to the scandal as it developed.
Characters not featured in this trailer include Hillary Clinton (Edie Falco), Kenneth Starr (Dan Bakkedahl), and Matt Drudge (Billy Eichner).
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