Slow Burn: The Clinton Impeachment

Season 2: Episode 5


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


Episode Notes

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.

Read a transcript of Episode 5.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

Where Linda Tripp Is Coming From

On the Bushes, Clintons, SNL, and more.

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.

S. Doc 106-3, Referral From Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr, House Document No. 105–310, U.S. Senate, Jan. 8, 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.

Season Two of Slow Burn was produced by Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons. Research assistance from Madeline Kaplan. Bonus episodes for the season were produced by Jeff Friedrich and Mary Wilson.


About the Show

The saga of Bill Clinton’s impeachment is rich with forgotten characters, surprising subplots, and opportunities to reflect on just how much America has changed over the past 20 years. Whether you’re well-versed in the tale of Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, or you’re fuzzy on the details, this season of Slow Burn will take you further into the story than you’ve ever been.

From its origins in the Whitewater real estate controversy, the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit, and the suicide of Vince Foster, Clinton’s near-removal from office was the culmination of a process that remains poorly understood—and continues to reverberate through our political system today.

While Season I of Slow Burn captured what it was like to live through Watergate, Season II offers a fresh reexamination of the choices, circumstances, and manipulations that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern.

Read Leon Neyfakh’s introduction to Season 2.

Read the announcement on Season 3.

All episodes