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From the Evidence: Tripp's Story

Linda Tripp reads a statement after her August 28 testimony. (AP)

In Today's Post
Portrait of a Doomed Friendship

Tripp May Have Taped After Warning

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New Evidence: Excerpts and Documents

Key Player Profile: Linda Tripp

Saturday, October 3, 1998; Page A24

Linda R. Tripp laid out her story in a series of 23 interviews with the FBI between February and June. The excerpts show how Tripp became involved with Monica S. Lewinsky and the two began to share confidences about the White House and Lewinsky's relationship with President Clinton.

TRIPP first met MONICA LEWINSKY in April of 1996, when LEWINSKY started to work at the Pentagon. Initially, LEWINSKY had nothing to do with TRIPP on a professional basis, but at some point, TRIPP's office moved to a place that LEWINSKY would pass. LEWINSKY noticed that TRIPP had pictures of the President in her work space. LEWINSKY struck up a conversation about the photos and the President. They realized that they had both worked in the White House.

From the outset, it was clear to TRIPP that LEWINSKY was a big CLINTON supporter, and that LEWINSKY likes to talk about the White House and the President. Apparently, LEWINSKY assumed that TRIPP was a CLINTON supporter as well.

Early in their association, LEWINSKY told TRIPP that LEWINSKY going to travel to New York City to attend the President's birthday celebration. On another occassion, LEWINSKY told TRIPP about a news report that CLINTON was in California and had jogged with ELEANOR MONDALE. LEWINSKY appeared to be upset about this and commented, "Are we not suppose to know what is going on?" In response to this comment, TRIPP told LEWINSKY that it was a good thing that CLINTON did not know how LEWINSKY felt when she worked in the White House, or CLINTON would have had LEWINSKY as one of his girlfriends. LEWINSKY did not respond to this comment.

TRIPP and LEWINSKY continued to speak at work and they became more and more friendly, even to the point where LEWINSKY told TRIPP about LEWINSKY's relationship with LEWINSKY's father, stepmother, and her real mother, MARCIA LEWIS. TRIPP became a sort of a surrogate mother to LEWINSKY. LEWINSKY's mother knew about this relationship between TRIPP and LEWINSKY and supported it.

LEWINSKY's job never really became a substantive one, and LEWINSKY used her free time on the telephone, to socialize and to search the Internet. LEWINSKY's behavior caused tension at work. LEWINSKY's superiors spoke to her about it and wrote memos about the behavior to LEWINSKY's ultimate boss, KEN BACON. TRIPP believed that LEWINSKY would have been able to do more challenging work, but no one asked her. This situation led, in part, to LEWINSKY's frustration with the job. TRIPP liked LEWINSKY and felt LEWINSKY was very mature for her age. LEWINSKY explained this maturity by saying that LEWINSKY took care of her brother from an early age, and that LEWINSKY was always the "mom" of the family. LEWINSKY was very astute and knowledgeable about relationships.

TRIPP first became aware of the sexual relationship between LEWINSKY and the President in late September or early October 1996. TRIPP recalled that one morning as TRIPP was coming into work, LEWINSKY intercepted TRIPP and they went into the cafeteria. After they sat down, LEWINSKY, in a normal, matter of fact voice told TRIPP, "I have something important to tell you." "You know how you've wondered how I got here, well I've had an affair with someone at the White House." Later in the conversations, LEWINSKY identified this "someone" as President CLINTON, who LEWINSKY referred to as the "Big Creep." Apparently LEWINSKY chose this nickname because of the way the President treated LEWINSKY and because the initals were the same.

LEWINSKY gave TRIPP a brief overview of the affair, but LEWINSKY's focus was the fact that the President had promised to bring LEWINSKY back to the White House after the election. LEWINSKY rationalized the lack of recent contact by the President as being caused by the campaign, but Lewinsky mentioned that the President had made time in the past for LEWINSKY.

TRIPP felt sorry for LEWINSKY at the time, especially because LEWINSKY was upset. TRIPP felt a sense of deja vu during this conversation because it had an eerie similarity to the story that KATHLEEN WILLEY had previously told to TRIPP.

This inital conversation began a series of conversations and telephone calls which totaled well over 100 hours. LEWINSKY would intially call TRIPP at home at night and they would speak. During the bulk of the calls, LEWINSKY and TRIPP spent much of the time analyzing the relationship between the President and LEWINSKY. During these conversations, LEWINSKY explained there were three kinds of people in the White House when it came to the affair. The "helpers," such as NELL (a steward in the President's office) and FOX (a Secret Service Uniform Officer), who would give Lewinsky access to areas of the White House and intelligence about the President and his whereabouts; the "protectors," such as NANCY HERNREICH, EVELYN LIEBERMAN and STEVE GOODEN, who would spot her and "shoo" LEWINSKY away; and the "facilitators," such as BETTY CURRIE. LEWINSKY tried to court anyone into being a "helper" or a "facilitator." LEWINSKY would be very friendly, strike up conversations, then follow up with gifts and cards. Some people would respond, but others would not.

The Willey Incident

Linda R. Tripp's outrage over Bill Clinton's behavior began building in 1993, when she talked with Kathleen E. Willey after what Willey described as a shocking encounter with the president in the Oval Office. Willey was having financial troubles and visited briefly with Clinton in November, 1993, to ask for his help getting a job. In a June 30, 1998, grand jury appearance, Tripp described her conversation with Willey after the incident.

A: Some time after three, I was leaving the counsel's office, just coming through the door of the counsel's office which is right next to the elevator, to go down and have a cigarette, and the elevator popped open and there's Kathleen coming, saying, "Oh, my God. Come in the elevator."

Q: Okay. And so you saw Ms. Willey in the elevator?

A: Yes. Well, she was coming up to me and I was going out, so she said, "Do you have a lipstick? Come down with me."

A: Then – the elevator is tiny in the West Wing, it's very, very compact and she was all red in the face, all here, here, here, here, all red. And her lipstick was gone.

Now she didn't look like she had been raped, she didn't look anything like that, but Kathleen is very put together, everything in my opinion is always perfect on Kathleen. Kathleen even has – everything perfect. On this day, she came out and she looked completely different than when she had gone in.

Q: What did you say?

A: I said, "It happened, didn't it?"

Q: And what was her response?

A: "Yes." She was really flustered.

Q: When you said, "It happened, didn't it," what did you mean?

A: It was obvious to me that she had just been kissed. I didn't think that it was anything beyond that.

Q: Did she respond to you after saying it did? Did she give you any directions? Did she ask you to –

A: She said, "We have to go outside. I have to tell you what happened."

Q: Okay. Did you do that?

A: Yes.

Q: Tell the grand jury what happened.

A: We went down to West Executive Boulevard, which is the little parking area that separates the old EOB from the White House and I smoked and she told me what happened.

Q: Why don't you describe for the grand jury her demeanor at that time.

A: It's very hard to characterize what someone else's demeanor means. I can just tell you that she was very excited, very flustered, she smiled from ear to ear the entire time. She seemed almost shocked, but happy shocked.

Q: Why don't you start from the beginning and as best as you can remember tell the grand jury what she told you occurred in the Oval Office.

A: Well, she said that "His tongue was down my throat," was the first thing. And then I said, "Did you kiss him back?" And she said, "Well I think I did." And she kept telling me the powerfulness of it and the forcefulness of it.

And she kept saying, "He put my hand on his penis. It was [redaction]." And I said, "What?" And she said, "I am not kidding, this is exactly what happened."

And this part surprised me. And she saw my surprise. And I said, "Are you serious?" And she said, "Yes." And she went on to describe to how long it took and the questions she asked him and that sort of thing.

Q: Did she tell you whether or not the President has his hands on her body or not?

A: Oh, he did.

Q: And can you describe what she told you?

A: Well, she said that it was all over her backside and pulling her tightly and she kept saying that it wa – almost took her breath away it was so forceful.

Q: Did Kathleen Willey relate to you anything she told the President along the lines of "What if anybody interrupts us?"

A: That was one of the main questions she said to him. She said, "What if Hillary comes in? What if someone sees?" And she repeated the Hillary question because of the back door that leads to the presidential dining room that goes into George or whoever sits in there not, the other back office, she was afraid – because she could not see the other doors. And he said, "I have that covered. Don't worry."

And she said, "Well, what if someone sees?" And that's when I first heard the words, "Deny, deny, deny."

Q: And how did she explain those to you?

A: That way, that he said, "Don't worry. I have that covered." And she repeated the questions and she told me at the time that he said, "Just deny, deny, deny."

The FBI Contact

Monica S. Lewinsky first confided in Tripp in the fall of 1996 in the cafeteria at the Pentagon, where both of them worked. Tripp eventually shared the confidence with Lucianne Goldberg, a New York agent with whom she was discussing a book about her experiences in the White House.

Tripp placed an anonymous call to independent counsel Kenneth R. Starr's office the evening of Jan. 12 and talked until almost midnight. The details she spelled out about Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton eventually filled seven typed pages of prosecutors' notes. Tripp also agreed to wear a wire to tape Lewinsky at a previously scheduled lunch the next day.

This summary comes from an FBI report on those early FBI discussions with Tripp, in which she described Lewinsky's attempts to steer her to lie in grand jury testimony, and Tripp's decision to wear awire at her luncheon meeting with Lewinsky.

Under one LEWINSKY scenario, LEWINSKY suggested that LEWINSKY would claim to have been hallucinating about her relationship with President CLINTON if TRIPP revealed it and then TRIPP might have to be concerned [about] perjury charges against TRIPP.

LEWINSKY also voiced her belief that TRIPP was in danger of losing her job if she testified truthfully against the interest of President CLINTON. LEWINSKY told TRIPP that President CLINTON, in discussing LEWINSKY's testimony in the PAULA JONES case, told LEWINSKY to deny, deny, deny. LEWINSKY said if two people in the same room both deny something occurred in the room, the presence of circumstantial evidence is not enough to prove the event happened.

LEWINSKY has asked TRIPP to meet her tomorrow and talk to TRIPP about changing her mind and agreeing to lie in the PAULA JONES case. TRIPP plans to meet LEWINSKY at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, either in the piano bar area or the back dining room.

LINDA TRIPP met him and other Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a room at the RITZ CARLTON HOTEL in Pentagon City, Virginia, on January 13, 1998. TRIPP signed and initialed a handwritten form prepared by Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) [REDACTION], FBI, evidencing voluntary participation in the consensual monitoring of MONICA LEWINSKY

SSA [REDACTION], assisted by Special Agent (SA) [REDACTION], provided TRIPP with a concealed recording device. In order to maintain the modesty of TRIPP SA [REDACTION] and TRIPP accomplished final fitting of the device in the bathroom the hotel room, out of sight of the male Agents. At approximately 2:29 p.m., the device was activated, and TRIPP left shortly thereafter to meet LEWINSKY in the RITZ CARLTON RESTAURANT.

TRIPP was put in touch with the Office of Indpendent Counsel (OIC) indirectly with the assistance of her literary agent from New York, New York.

The Paula Jones Case

At a Jan. 13 lunch, Tripp engaged Lewinsky in a lengthy conversation about their predicament and whether they would truthfully testify in the Paula Jones matter. Lewinsky says she intends to say she never had a sexual relationship with Clinton.

Tripp: Are you bound and determined to do what you plan to do?

Lewinsky: Uh-huh.

Tripp: Absolutely.

Lewinsky: Uh-huh.

Tripp: Okay.

Lewinsky: I –

Tripp: I'm only saying – I'm only saying that in case you should change your mind.

Lewinsky: No, I – I – I – first of all, for fear of my life –

Tripp: Yeah

Lewinsky: – I would not. For fear of my life. I would not – I would not cross these – these people for fear of my life, number one.

Tripp: But Vernon Jordan is behind you. He's a very powerful man.

Lewinsky: He – no, I don't think he's behind me. I think if he was behind me (inaudible). I think he's going to distance himself from me. I don't know why.

Tripp: He – he knows the truth, and you know it. And he had the all-powerful way of fixing it.

Lewinsky: Well, I don't know.

Tripp: . . . I just wish I had a Vernon Jordan. I'm not kidding. I feel very lost. I feel like I'm sitting out there in suburbia. I have two kids in college –

Lewinsky: Okay.

Tripp: – I'm a working stiff –

Lewinsky: Okay. What is it you want?

Tripp: I don't have anybody protecting me.

Lewinsky: ... I don't think – you think he took me to that lawyer to be nice to me? No. I think he took me to make sure I went and make sure that I said what I was supposed to say.

Tripp: Right. But he – he – then he insinuated himself in the process so that –

Lewinsky: I insinuated him. If I am asked – if I am asked –

Tripp: Whatever.

Lewinsky: If I am asked how I got my lawyer, I'm gonna say, "Well, he suggested it to me." And then they'll say, "Well, how do you know him?" "Why, everybody knows him."

Tripp: Right, I know.

Lewinsky: I mean, if – (sighing). I feel like what – what you're saying to me, but you're not saying to me is, "Monica, if you can somehow arrange for me to have some kind of protection, I will do this." That's what I feel like you're saying, Linda.

Tripp: There is a lot of fear here. I'm not denying that. . . . . I can't – I can't under – make you understand how big this is to me.

Lewinsky: No. I know it's a big thing, and I – (sighing). You know. I know that it's not a matter – I would be indebted to you for life. I would do anything. I would write you a check for (deleted). Because to me –

Tripp: (Laughing).

Lewinsky: – because even though he despises me right now, I know if my inner mind I love him.

Tripp: I know.

Lewinsky: And just to even protect him.

The Tapes

On March 3, the FBI sent special agents to Tripp's home to authenticate tapes she had used in recording her phone conversations with Lewinsky. The tapes were the work of an amateur who devised her own system for recording Lewinsky's conversations and left tapes carelessly scattered around her home. She offered these details to the FBI, according to its report of the meeting.

TRIPP advised that she has only used one tape recorder to make the tapes that she turned over to the Office of Independent Counsel.

. . . Whenever TRIPP received a phone call, she would first check her "CALLER ID" box to determine who was calling. If it was MONICA LEWINSKY calling, TRIPP turned on the tape recording machine by depressing the "PLAY" and "RECORD" buttons at the same time. If the call was from another individual, or if a "CALL WAITING" call was recieved, TRIPP stopped the recording by depressing the "STOP" button. On a few occasions, TRIPP's cats stepped on the machine and activated the "PAUSE" button. In those cases, TRIPP hit "PAUSE" again to de-activate the setting.

The tape recorder was never serviced. The only malfunction TRIPP has experienced was when the batteries were draining and the machine was operating slowly.

TRIPP was shown the cassette tapes that were previously provided to the FBI. The purpose was to verify, to the best of her knowledge, that the tapes which the FBI had in its possession were the same tapes TRIPP used to make telephone recordings between TRIPP and LEWINSKY. TRIPP verified that seventeen (17) out of the twenty-one (21) were TRIPP's cassettes. She could not identify the source of the other four (4) tapes.

TRIPP believed that there were still some of the original cassette boxes in various locations of the living and dining rooms. . . . In attempting to locate empty boxes, TRIPP found three (3) additional cassette tapes, two in a living room drawer, and one in the portable radio/cassette player previously identified in this communication.

Girlfriend Talk

Part confidante, part counselor. part coach, Tripp's conversations with Lewinsky touched on every subject from weight loss and hairstyles to White House gossip and Clinton's future. Lewinsky felt at times that she was living in "La-La Land," as she confided to Tripp. In many of the conversations, Tripp served as the shoulder on which a lovesick friend frequently cried.

From an Oct. 6, 1997, taped conversation:

Lewinsky: I think I just need to start over. But what's hard for me is that and I know this is so stupid, but, Linda, I don't know why I have these feelings for him. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I don't really have these feelings. Maybe I'm pretending it. I don't know. But I just –

Tripp: (Sigh.)

Lewinsky: – when I tell you that I – I never expected to feel this way about him. And I am not kidding you.

Tripp: You protect him.

Lewinsky: You know?

Tripp: Every inch of the way.

Lewinsky: I didn't. I never – and the first time I ever looked into his eyes close up and was with him alone. I saw somebody totally different than I had expected to see. And that's the person I fell in love with.

Tripp: Yeah.

Lewinsky: And that's the person that was there on the 4th of July. And that's the person that's been there at tender moments. And he's been distant and vacant for me for the past few months.

Tripp: On purpose.

Lewinsky: And I don't know why.

Tripp: He's not letting you in. He's not letting you in because it's dangerous to let you in. He let you in, and now he's afraid. He's afraid. Fear is the biggest motivator. Self-preservation is everything.

I don't believe that your last phone conversation with him was the same as it would have been before the fear took over.

Why do you think you haven't been having the same access? You seem to believe that, all of a sudden it's "because he doesn't like me."

I don't believe that for a minute especially given my perspective from a different age than you. I don't see it that way. I see it more as, [redaction] I'm going to have my ass handed to me on a platter.

And I know you want to protect him. Of course, I know that. I just don't want you to be savaged in the process.

Lewinsky: Well, I think I need to accept that I'm just not going to work there. And I think this is the last chance.

Tripp: Okay. Then if you accept that, are you ready to say that, "I need whatever help I can get in X, Y, and Z place?" Because this is your last shot. . . .

From another conversation:

Lewinsky: The most pathetic commentary on this entire relationship is that it will be two years next month, and I have no clue how he feels about me.

Tripp: I think you have a lot of information. You have to sort through what you feel resonates to you. I think – I think that there is no one outside of you and him who, who can really determine what level of emotion was there. You are the only person who was in. . . .

Lewinsky: I know. But it's like one of those things where, okay, you know – I don't know, I walked out of there on 4th of July. And I walked into my house and my mom said, "Well?" And I laughed and I said, "He's in love with me."

Tripp: Mm-hmm.

Lewinsky: And that's how I felt. And now I feel like he couldn't give a [redaction] about me. And he doesn't think about me. And – because I can't see why if he did care he wouldn't call. But you and I can have this fight another day.

Tripp: Well and because you know I will fight because I believe fear is the biggest motivator.

Tripp advises at one point that Lewinsky talk with her mother, who, she says, "wants you out of this mess."

Tripp: I mean, anyone who cares about you, Monica, wants you out of this mess.

Lewinsky: I know.

Tripp: I think he wants you out of this mess and doesn't know how to do it.

Lewinsky: I know. Everybody does. If he could just be nice to me. Why can't he just say, "Look. Go enjoy your life, and in three years we'll get married."

Tripp: (Laughing.) Oh, you don't want much.

Lewinsky: Why can't –

Tripp: He almost said that to you July 4th. Do you realize that? And probably put the fear of God in his own self. I feel very sorry for him in a very stupid way.

Lewinsky: I know. I feel that way, too, sometimes. Like he's not allowed to be a real person.

Tripp: [Redaction] And do you think that for anybody – I don't care what a philanderer he's been – that's a hard thing to face. He's on the upward slide to 60, and things are going to change in huge ways for him. You know, he's going to have to drive himself places. You know? I mean it's just phenomenal.

From a taped conversation about the navy blue dress Lewinsky kept after a sexual encounter with Clinton. FBI tests confirmed that the dress was stained with semen that matched Clinton's DNA type.

Tripp: . . . This navy blue dress. Now all I would say to you is: I know how you feel today . . . but you have a very long life ahead of you. . . . I would rather you had that in your possession if you need it years from now. . . .

Lewinsky: You think that I can hold onto a dress for 10, 15 years with (redacted) from –

Tripp: Hey, listen. My cousin is a genetic whatchamacalit. . . . He said that on a rape victim now . . . if she has preserved a pinprick size of crusted semen, 10 years from that time, if she takes a wet Q-Tip and blobs it on there . . . they can match the DNA with absolutely with certainty. . . .

Lewinsky: Well, I'll think about it. . . .

Tripp: . . . It could be your only insurance policy down the road. Or it could never be needed and you can throw it away. . . . Maybe I'm being paranoid.

From another conversation regarding false grand jury testimony. The conversation was on Dec. 22, 1997, after Lewinsky learned that she was going to be subpoenaed in the Paula Jones case.

Lewinsky: Maybe I should just tell the creep, maybe I should just say, "Look, don't ever talk to me again. And [redaction] you over, and so know you have the information and that, Do whatever you want with it."

Tripp: Well, I think if – if you do want to do that – that's what I would do, but I – I just can't – I don't know that you're comfortable with that. I think he should know. I don't –

Lewinsky: He won't settle. He's in denial.

Tripp: (Sigh)

Lewinsky: Nothing is going to (inaudible).

Tripp: I think if he [redaction] knew, he would settle,

Lewinsky: I don't think so, because he what it will end up just being me against you.

Tripp: I don't think –

Lewinsky: I don't want to paint you as a bad person.

Tripp: Hey, look, Monica, we already know that you're gonna lie under oath. We also know that I want out of this big time. I mean, how else is this going to go? If I have to testify – if I am forced to answer questions and answer truthfully, it's going to be the opposite of what you say, so therefore it's a conflict right there,

Lewinsky: But it doesn't have to be a conflict.

Tripp: What do you mean? How? Tell me how. Tell me how. I'm supposed to say – if they say, "Has Monica Lewinsky ever said to you that she is in love with the President or is having a physical relationship with the President?" – if I say no, that is [redaction] perjury.

That's the bottom line. I will do everything I can not to be in that position. That's what I am trying to do, but I don't know how else to do this. I'm coming up with foot surgery in California. I will do anything.

Lewinsky: I know.

Tripp: But no, you really don't know 'cause you don't believe me. I think that you really believe –

Lewinsky: I believe you.

Tripp: – that this is very easy and I should just say, [expletive deleted], they can't prove it."

Lewinsky: I believe you, but obviously, I don't have the same feelings about the situation that you do, so I can't –

Tripp: What do you mean?

Lewinsky: Because if I had the same feelings that it was so wrong to do – to – to deny something then – then I would not be doing it. Do you see what I mean?

Tripp: I think down deep, you don't like having to lie.

Lewinsky: Of course not. I don't think that anybody likes to, but it's like –

Tripp: But the scary thing to me is –

Lewinsky: This is how – this is how family is. This is – I would lie on the stand for my family. That is how I was raised as family.

Tripp: I don't think I – you know what Monica? You're gonna die here, and I would do almost anything for my kids, but I don't think that I would lie on the stand for them.

Lewinsky: Well, I mean, I just – that's just – for me, you know, that's just how –

Tripp: I mean I have this –

Lewinsky: I'm sure that you were raised, too, in a very sort of honorable family.

Tripp: I would have been – I would have probably been tarred and feathered if I even considered saying something like that in my house.

Lewinsky: Right.

Tripp: Look –

Lewinsky: And I'm – and I was brought up with lies all the time, so that – that was how – you got along in life – was lying.

Tripp: I don't believe that. Is that true?

Lewinsky: Yes, that's true. I wanted something from my dad – well, once my parents were divorced, if I wanted something from my dad, I had to make up a story. When my parents were married, my mom was always lying to my dad for everything. Everything. My mom helped me sneak out of the house. I mean, that's just how – that's just how I was raised.

Tripp: Well in the Catholic religion, there are white lies and there are black lies. Those are white lies. Those are – those are like white lies. Those are kind of like lies like, "You look great," when really you look [redaction].

Lewinsky: Uh-uh.

Tripp: That – that's not what I am talking about here.

Lewinsky: I mean, I have outright – I lied to my dad. I have lied my entire life. [Redaction] But my dad knew.

Tripp: How old were you?

Lewinsky: Eighteen.

Tripp: [Redaction]

Lewinsky: But this is just – this is just – I mean, they've just –

Tripp: The worst thing here to me, I have to say to you – I know, because I know the whole history – I know how devastatingly terrible – and I would be the cause of being devastatingly terrible for him to know that you told. That's my biggest problem with the whole thing and that's why I want out of it. Not because I admire him, but because right now I think he's a schwonk, not because I'm an enemy of the administration, because I don't think I am, it's because I can't bear the pain and anguish and frankly, I don't know what you would do –

Lewinsky: Well –

Tripp: – and I'd have that on my conscience too. Forever.

Lewinsky: (Sigh) Well – okay. (Sigh)

Tripp: And believe me – believe it or not, none of this has to do with him to me. It has to do with you. All of it.

Lewinsky: (Sigh)

Tripp: All of it.

Lewinsky: Okay, is there anything – what about if I could ensure that you had job security? No matter what you said about Kathleen.

Tripp: You can't, Monica, because that implies that we have talked about it and you might as well come out and say – do you understand? You can't get anymore involved than you are. It's just – you tell one lawyer friend ot yours, you know where it's going to get back to. It's as though you were saying –

Lewinsky: I know.

Tripp: You can't do that. You absolutley can't. Unless you're willing to tell him or let him know the truth – by inference, because that's the way it is.

Lewinsky: What's the point? What's the point? Because then everyone gets screwed anyway.

Tripp: Yeah, but I'm saying for you to go forward and say something like that, you might have well said the whole thing. Because they'll get it. Believe, it's no answer unless the answer is that you want – you're – you're ready for him to know and I don't think that's it.

That's what we have to try to do – you know (sigh) I've got to meet with Kirby. I don't know when the [redaction] I'm supposed to fit this in – I'll have to go tomorrow. I'll have to go tomorrow.

I came home and ate a huge truffle, trifle or whatever, so you can tell how upset I am. I haven't done that in months. Made myself sick. [Redaction]

Lewinsky: Well, it'll all go away.

Tripp: No it won't.

Lewinsky: That's what my mom says.

Tripp: Yeah.

Lewinsky: [Redaction]

Tripp: Yeah. Well, it's not going to be good if I eat the rest of them.

Lewinsky: Well, don't eat anymore.

Tripp: Oh, sure. That's what I do when I am stressed.

Lewinsky: Well, think about how good you look.

Tripp: Oh, [redaction] that. Right now, that's the last thing on my mind. This is so amazingly huge to me, Monica, that –

Lewinsky: Well, it's –

Tripp: It's – I know it's huge to you, I know it's huge, but your answer – I'm being [redaction] friend and that is the last thing I want to do, because I won't lie. Okay? How do you thinkthat makes me feel? I could make you – I could make you stop crying, and I could make your life so much easier, if I would just [redaction] lie.

How do you think this makes me feel? I feel like I am sticking a knife in your back, and I know that at the end of this if I have to go forward, you will never speak to me again, and I will lose a very dear friend – someone whose friendship I value very much, And I – I keep my friends over a lifetime. I don't – I don't pick friends –

Lewinsky: I know. I know.

Tripp: – and then dump them when they're done with the job. I hadn't planned on – I never saw New York as an ending. I do now.

Lewinsky: No. Well –

Tripp: I do now. Because I have to go forward with this, Monica –

Lewinsky: Oh, well, I mean if it all goes – I mean, I don't know what I am going to do. I'll have no job. So –

Tripp: What does that mean?

Lewinsky: Well –

Tripp: No, that's not true.

Lewinsky: Because it is going to be obvious – look, I will deny it so will not get screwed in the case, but I'm going to get screwed personally.

Tripp: Why?

Lewinsky: Because – I – it will be obvious, it will be obvious to him. It's going to be obvious to him. It will be obvious to him because you would obviously say things that would make it obvious that, you know, that I told you.

Lewinsky: (Sigh)

Tripp: You know –

Lewinsky: This is – this is sick. This is sick. Well, maybe the idea – it's by the 30th.

Lewinsky: Mmm-mmm.

Tripp: Okay. They have not – they – they don't have to subpeona me again because Kirby has agreed that as long as he agrees with the date, we will work out a date in January. I think what I have to do is tentatively make a date late in the month. . . . You think that I'm trying to avoid the –

Lewinsky: Uh-huh.

Tripp: I could maybe do that.

Lewinsky: But I can't get into too much detail, but – but if you think hard about this, it would be a really good time for me not to be here this month.

Tripp: I have six, seven – seven installations to visit and I have a winter advance and I have to do a spring advance. So that's like 14 trips.

Lewinsky: Mmm-hmm.

Tripp: Minimum. I mean, sometimes I have to go three times. So, it's not unrealistic.

Lewinsky: Right.

Tripp: The panel convenves on the 15th, if I tell him – which I need to be there for. I mean, that's a stretch. Because you know what would happen – Cliff would question that. But after that, I can leave most of it in the hands of Lindsey because by then, the biggest part of the job will be done. So I guess, to avoid whatever I'm going to have to try to – what if this doesn't work?

Friendship Via E-Mail

While both worked in the Pentagon, Tripp and Lewinsky exchanged frequent e-mails on their office machines, often carrying on lengthy back and forth conversations in a single day. They talked of many things: Lewinsky's dissatisfaction with her appearance, their mutual concern about weight loss. Many of these exchanges had to do with rocky times in Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton, whom they usually referred to as "the creep."

Feb. 3, 1997:

Tripp to Lewinsky, 9:08 a.m.: Good morning. Are you there today? Just checking. Between reading that book you loaned me (unadolterated trash, how very fitting . . .) and our conversations, I swear, I had a dream featuring you and the big creep. Nothing spectacular, just conversation in the Roosevelt Room. Bizarre. Maybe we can get away for a few minutes for coffee or something.

Lewinsky to Tripp, 9:23 a.m.: I am here physically, but certainly not mentally. I would love to get away for a few years . . . uh . . . I mean minutes (ha-ha). . . . Although I must warn you that I am horrible company today. I read that [deleted] is going away next week on domestic trips to promote the lame [deleted]! . . . I wonder if Betty will call me. . . . Let me know when you want to go. I want to hear more about your dream. Maybe I'll have to start living vicariously through your dreams.

Lewinsky to Tripp, 9:56 a.m.: [Deleted] is wearing the secret tie I gave him – the bright, blue and white one. I hope he chokes wearing it.

Tripp to Lewinsky, 10:54 a.m.: Wonder if this was an associative choice – i.e., Betty, phone call, tie today. . . . Whaddya think? I think a strong possibility . . . which may mean some action.

Lewinsky to Tripp, 11:06 a.m.: . . . Re: the tie, boy you sure are pulling teeth to try to make me happy. Thanx!!!!

Starr did not produce other significant email between the two until October 27, when something obviously was amiss between the two women.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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