Linda Tripp, who taped Monica Lewinsky, on Slow Burn.

Linda Tripp Exposed Bill Clinton’s Affair With Monica Lewinsky. Why Did She Do It?

Linda Tripp Exposed Bill Clinton’s Affair With Monica Lewinsky. Why Did She Do It?

History in real time.
Sept. 12 2018 6:00 AM


Linda Tripp exposed Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. What was she thinking?


Aside from Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the most pivotal player in the Clinton-impeachment saga may have been Linda Tripp—an ordinary person who made extraordinary choices that precipitated the entire crisis. In perhaps the deepest and most intimate interview she’s ever given, Tripp talks to Leon Neyfakh about what she did, and why.

Listen to Slow Burn via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.


Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. This week, hear more from Neyfakh’s interview with Linda Tripp, including Tripp’s feelings about the Bushes, why she disliked the Clintons, and how she feels about her role in history. Neyfakh also discusses the making of Episode 5 with Slate senior producer Mary Wilson.

If you are logged into your Slate Plus account, you can find this week’s bonus episode in the player below or in your members-only podcast feed. Not yet a member? Click here to join.

Notes on Episode 5

In researching this episode, we made use of the following sources:



Gormley, Ken. The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, Crown/Archetype, 2010.

Isikoff, Michael. Uncovering Clinton, Crown, 1999.

Morton, Andrew. Monica’s Story, St. Martin’s Press, 1999.


Schmidt, Susan and Weisskopf, Michael. Truth at Any Cost, HarperCollins, 2000.

The Starr Report, Washington Post, 1998.

Toobin, Jeffrey. A Vast Conspiracy, Random House, 1999.


Film and TV

American Experience: Clinton, PBS. Goodman, Barak and Durrance, Chris, 2012.


Boyer, Peter J. “Linda Tripp: ‘It’s a Day Late, and It’s a Dollar Short,’ ” the Weekly Standard, Nov. 24, 2017.


Carvajal, Doreen and Miller, Judith. “The Book Agent: A Maverick Who Is No Friend of Bill,” the New York Times, Jan. 30, 1998.

Eavesdropping on a Scandal,” CNN, Nov. 17, 1998.

Fisher, Mark. “Tripp’s Tapes: Listening In on a Betrayal,” the Washington Post, Nov. 18, 1998.

Goldberg, Jonah. “Ink,” the New Yorker, Feb. 9, 1998.

Goldberg, Lucianne. “Spikey’s Hypocrisy,” Slate, March 31, 1999.

Hedgpeth, Dana and Timberg, Craig. “Celebrity Overtakes Quiet Cul-de-Sac,” the Baltimore Sun, Jan. 28, 1998.

Henneberger, Melissa. “The Lewinsky-Tripp Tapes: Friends but Little Friendship,” the New York Times, Oct. 3, 1998.

Isikoff, Michael. “The Right Wing Web,” Newsweek, Feb. 21, 1999.

Leen, Jeff. “Extent of Jordan’s Help to Ex-Intern Was Unusual,” the Washington Post, Feb. 20, 1998.

Leen, Jeff and Weingarten, Gene. “Linda’s Trip,” the Washington Post, March 15, 1998.

Lucianne Goldberg,” PBS/American Experience, 2012.

Mayer, Jane. “Portrait of a Whistleblower,” the New Yorker, March 23, 1998.

Sanchez, Rene. “In Linda Tripp’s Career, Clues to Her Motivation,” the Washington Post, Jan. 25, 1998.

Sciolino, Elaine and Van Natta Jr., Don. “The Confidant: Linda Tripp, Elusive Keeper of Secrets, Mainly Her Own,” the New York Times, March 15, 1998.

Van Natta Jr., Don. “Maryland Is Dropping Wiretap Case Against Tripp,” the New York Times, May 25, 2000.

Weiss, Philip. “The Goldberg Variations: Philip Weiss Tapes Lucianne Goldberg,” Observer, June 26, 1998.

Podcast produced by Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons. Research assistance from Madeline Kaplan.