October 3, 1998

Excerpts of a Tripp-Lewinsky Conversation Monitored by Federal Agents

Following are excerpts of a conversation between Linda Tripp and Monica S. Lewinsky on Jan. 13, when Ms. Tripp wore a listening device for Federal agents working for Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel. This conversation occurred after both had been subpoenaed as witnesses in the Paula Jones sexual misconduct lawsuit, and just a few days before Mrs. Tripp lured Ms. Lewinsky to a meeting where Mr. Starr's prosecutors tried to persuade her to cooperate in an investigation into the President's conduct. Some names were omitted by the Judiciary Committee.

MRS. TRIPP So what's going on with the job?
MRS. TRIPP I mean, do we have a job here?
MS. LEWINSKY We---- [sigh].
MRS. TRIPP I mean, that's my big concern right now.
MRS. TRIPP Well, one of----
MS. LEWINSKY One of----
MRS. TRIPP One of many.
MS. LEWINSKY Yeah. I finally got in touch with the woman, and uh -- uh -- she's not going to give me cream. So----
MRS. TRIPP Maybe she'll get you cream.
MS. LEWINSKY I finally got in touch with the woman, you know? The black woman? And, um, the black woman----
MRS. TRIPP What black woman?
MRS. TRIPP The old black woman.
MRS. TRIPP Yeah, of course.
MS. LEWINSKY So, finally----
MRS. TRIPP You mean, you haven't been in touch?
MRS. TRIPP All this time.
MS. LEWINSKY No, It's -- It's sort of like, you know----
MRS. TRIPP So, when do you get your present?
MS. LEWINSKY I don't know. I don't know. I-- --
MRS. TRIPP Have you asked him when you're going to get your----
MS. LEWINSKY No. Because you know what? I -- can I tell you something? You know what? My mom doesn't even hardly believe it. I am so -- I am so like pulled. . . .
MRS. TRIPP I -- so what do you mean, your mom doesn't----
MS. LEWINSKY I'so -- [sigh]. I'm sure I'll get over it. I don't want to talk to him. I don't want him -- I don't want to look at him. I can't look at him on TV, can't anything.
MRS. TRIPP You're kidding.
MS. LEWINSKY No, I just -- I think it's----
MRS. TRIPP This is actually very good news.
MS. LEWINSKY I -- it's just everything. And you know what? You know, it sort of started to kind of -- kept coming back and I had pushed it away. And just a lot of things when you -- [sigh]. That whole Eleanor Mondale thing, I -- [inaudible]. You know, I started to think about it, you know? . . .
MRS. TRIPP You mean because she was in there.
MS. LEWINSKY Not because she was in there. O.K. Not because she was in there, because two months -- he hasn't even had contact with me in two month, and I was going through all of this because of him for two months. For two months.
MRS. TRIPP Yeah, because, let's face it, it had been----
MS. LEWINSKY Well, had she -- but was this, "Well, there's no time, no time to see you tomorrow, no time to see you." Just everything. I don't -- you know what? I'm just depressed. Just really -- . . .
MS. LEWINSKY So I talked to her this week and I said to her, I said, "Look, I'm supposed to sign something," and I said, "I'm supposed to sign something, and I'm not not signing it until I have a job." . . .
MRS. TRIPP Are you bound and determined to do what you plan to do?
MRS. TRIPP Absolutely.
MRS. TRIPP You -- are you -- are you positive in your heart that you want to do that? I mean --
MRS. TRIPP I'm only saying -- I'm only saying that in case you should change your mind.
MS. LEWINSKY No. I -- I -- I -- first of all, for fear of my life --
MS. LEWINSKY -- I would not. For fear of my life. I would not -- I would not cross these -- these people for fear of my life, No. 1.
MRS. TRIPP That's a terrible thing. . . . Here -- here's my -- my biggest fear where you're concerned. Then I'll tell you my fear where I'm concerned. Vernon Jordan does not have your best interest at heart, and you know it.
MRS. TRIPP He has his buddy's best interests at heart.
MRS. TRIPP The day that he told you, or took you, or whatever the hell to his attorney to represent you, that already is very scary to me. Like if you had said you had gotten your own attorney on your own, don't you think that that would make all of us feel better, that you could tell -- whatever you decide to do under oath --
MS. LEWINSKY You know what? You know what, Linda?
MRS. TRIPP At last you're telling the --
MS. LEWINSKY No, that's not true, though. A lawyer, Linda, your lawyer -- if you tell -- that -- that's not the case. That's what I thought, too, If you tell your lawyer the truth -- let's just say whatever, let's just say you stole a handbag.
MRS. TRIPP Mm-hmm.
MS. LEWINSKY And you do not tell your lawyer that you stole the handbag because the lawyer then can't represent you.
MS. LEWINSKY A lawyer can't represent you -- if you think -- they can represent you, but they can't represent you that you didn't steal the handbag.
MRS. TRIPP What? You're serious?
MS. LEWINSKY I think so. That's my understanding.
MRS. TRIPP So every convict that goes in for everything -- or every --
MS. LEWINSKY Look at O. J. You think O. J. Simpson said to them, "I did it. Get me off"? "I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it" This is -- this is -- this is how I feel. I could not live with myself if I caused trouble. I -- that is just -- that is jot my nature. I am a good person.
I think no matter what -- no matter how he has wronged me, no matter how many girlfriends he had, no matter how many people he abused, no matter how many, it -- it was my choice.

MRS. TRIPP I know that. . . .
I -- I know what your'e saying. I do understand what you're saying. But what I'm saying is when you do it under oath, the scary thing is that that is your -- your sworn testimony. What if -- I don't know. I don't know. Let's just say what if someone --

MS. LEWINSKY But there -- there isn't --
MRS. TRIPP No one could have looked in the study window?
MS. LEWINSKY So what? If someone looked in the study window, it's not me. I -- I --
MS. LEWINSKY You know what? Do you see what I'm mean? Look, I don't know who they saw, but it wasn't me.
MRS. TRIPP See, but Monica, there are records at that place.
MS. LEWINSKY So what? There are no records of me going back there. There are no records of me going back there. There is -- I have thought about this. I have stayed up nights thinking about this. . . .
MRS. TRIPP Did they agree that a signed, sworn -- whatever it says?
MS. LEWINSKY They have not agreed, no. There is no agreement, because -- but what my lawyer has said is that what signing this will do is, it will show them -- OK. They have on rumor and innuendo I have [inaudible]. Well, here I am, under oath -- no, no, no.
MRS. TRIPP He asked you?
MS. LEWINSKY Of course. [Inaudible] enough. So [inaudible], waiting for me to go sign it.
MRS. TRIPP I think Vernon did a wink-wink with him.
MS. LEWINSKY I don't know.
MRS. TRIPP I mean, he's not a stupid man. Sorry. . . . O.K. So what if -- what if it doesn't work, and you have to go --
MRS. TRIPP -- and then do you have to produce things?
MS. LEWINSKY Yeah. So I have produced the most, you know. I got rid of everything else. I have produced the most --
MRS. TRIPP You got rid of the one thing?
MS. LEWINSKY What? Oh, I -- like everything is just --
MS. LEWINSKY I -- I put it -- I gave it to my mom, and I said, "You can throw it away, you can burn it, you can do whatever you want with it." I said, "Because I don't want to have anything to do with it." And I didn't ask her what she did with it. I think she -- she is more petrified than I am, so I would imagine she threw it away. . . .
MRS. TRIPP If that's true, then I don't have to lie under oath, and they'll just say it's one word against the other. But the real problem here, of course, is that you told.
MS. LEWINSKY I -- I don't even -- I mean, I just --
MRS. TRIPP Because if it's just a question of your word against mine --
MS. LEWINSKY I mean, it'll become a huge -- I mean, I -- I -- I -- Linda, it's hard for me to understand -- I have to be honest with you.
MRS. TRIPP [Sighing.]
MS. LEWINSKY It is hard for me to understand how -- how -- how you could want to do that to me.
MS. LEWINSKY I mean, you are hurting one person. You will hurt one person. You will help Paula Jones and you will hurt me.
MRS. TRIPP I'm not here to help Paula Jones. You know that.
MS. LEWINSKY But that's what -- that's what you'll do, though. That's what you'll do.
MRS. TRIPP How would that help her?
MS. LEWINSKY Huh, huh.
MRS. TRIPP I mean --
MS. LEWINSKY Because they'll have --
MRS. TRIPP No. You just got through saying it's your word against mine.
MS. LEWINSKY But it will become -- you think that they'll drop it? You think that if I say -- go up there, I sign the thing. I say no. They ask me questions and I say no. You go there and you say, "Yes, Monica Lewinsky had a thing with him, and da, da, da, da, da." You think they're going to go, "Oh, O.K. It's your word against her word. Hmm. Who should we believe?" No. Then they're going to pull me back in there, they're gonna pull him back in there --
MRS. TRIPP And say what?
MS. LEWINSKY And then -- then --
MRS. TRIPP But if you continue -- You're telling me you're going to continue to . . . deny anyway, so how -- how does that -- make me understand this, Monica. How does that ----
MS. LEWINSKY I mean, what if they could get you in trouble -- if there is no way to prove that what I'm saying is wrong?
MRS. TRIPP Oh, I know it could get me in trouble.
MS. LEWINSKY You know? I mean, telling the truth could get you in trouble. I don't know why you'd want to do that.
MRS. TRIPP [Sighing.]
MS. LEWINSKY I -- and --
MRS. TRIPP Believe me.
MS. LEWINSKY Especially when -- I think -- I think that you're thinking this is a bigger -- this is a bigger.
MRS. TRIPP I'm thinking it's huge.
MS. LEWINSKY It -- and it's not. It's not a huge thing.
MRS. 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 --
MRS. TRIPP -- I'm a working stiff --
MS. LEWINSKY O.K. What is it you want?
MRS. TRIPP I don't have anybody protecting me. . . .
MS. LEWINSKY O.K.. O.K.. Look, either -- either way, I think -- can I tell you something: I don't think the way that man thinks, I don't think he thinks of lying under oath.
I think, to you, he probably, in a meshuga, strange way -- O.K.? He's probably not even thinking in terms of lying under oath. He not thinking that. To him --
MRS. TRIPP Yes, he is because he's the one who said, Deny, deny, deny." Of course he knows.
MS. LEWINSKY Right. But it's -- it's hard to explain this. It's like -- [sigh].
MRS. TRIPP You know what I mean. I mean, I don't know -- do I think he is consciously --
MS. LEWINSKY If -- if -- if I said, if somebody said to him, "Is Monica lying under oath." he would say yes. But when he on his own thinks about it, he doesn't think of it in those terms. O.K.?
MRS. TRIPP Probably.
MS. LEWINSKY O.K.? He thinks of it as, "We're being safe. We're being smart." O.K.? We're being smart, we're being safe, it's good for everybody."
MRS. TRIPP Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
MS. LEWINSKY [inaudible].
MRS. TRIPP Uh-huh. So you -- O.K..
MS. LEWINSKY The truth is if I felt -- and I know this is going to sound really hokey, but --
MS. LEWINSKY To me a little bit of -- it's for the country. Every President every [word deleted] President we have ever had has always had lovers because the pressure of the job is too much. Too much.
MS. LEWINSKY Too much to always rely on your wife, with whom you have too much baggage -- which you inevitably will if you got to that point. And I think it's bad for the country.
I think every President [inaudible]. [Inaudible] that makes our country look like a joke.

MS. LEWINSKY And there's that element of it.
MRS. TRIPP But, see, that --
MS. LEWINSKY But this is what I'm trying to explain, to tell you, is that whatever you can do -- O.K.. I don't think that they're probably sitting there thinking what you're going to say is favorable. Would you agree with me on that? Or do you feel differently? You're not sure?
MRS. TRIPP Um. I'm not sure. I mean, I obviously don't think that they think, "It's a done deal."
Thank you.

MALE VOICE . [Inaudible]
MS. LEWINSKY Oh, great. Could we get some catsup and mustard?
MALE VOICE . It's right here, ma'am.
MS. LEWINSKY Oh, great.
MRS. TRIPP [Inaudible]
MRS. TRIPP Um, I don't think they think I'm a done deal of course, but I - I -- I think I thought foolishly that they don't thin of me as an enemy, but I guess ultimately, [sigh] a team player would -- I think in their minds a team player would go with the party line.
MS. LEWINSKY Right. That is true.
MRS. TRIPP Do you know that to be true? I mean, tell me the truth.
MS. LEWINSKY That what?
MRS. TRIPP Tell me the truth here, Monica.
MRS. TRIPP Do you believe that he would consider me better or a team player or a good political appointee --
MS. LEWINSKY If you did that?
MRS. TRIPP Mh-hmm.
MS. LEWINSKY Of course, I do.
MRS. TRIPP You really do?
MS. LEWINSKY Of course, I do. Of course. Linda --
MRS. TRIPP How do you know that? I mean, that's Monica saying it? How do you know that?
MS. LEWINSKY Because he couldn't not. Because if he --

Ms. Lewinsky explained to Ms. Tripp what part of her affidavit in the Jones case would say:

MS. LEWINSKY No, no. It's like ten paragraphs. Then there's a statement about, oh, "Have you ever had sex with the President?" And "Have you ever --
MRS. TRIPP Yeah, yeah.
MS. LEWINSKY -- "witnessed him being inappropriate," da, da, da.
MS. LEWINSKY Then there's something about -- then the paragraph [ inaudible] and then comes the meaty paragraph that I never had a sexual relationship, you know, nor -- like no do I know of anybody who has --
MRS. TRIPP You're going to sign that?
MS. LEWINSKY Mm-hmm. Hey, look, for me, I never had sex with him. That's a sexual relationship.
MRS. TRIPP What is -- what is the definition of sex?
MS. LEWINSKY Intercourse.
MRS. TRIPP Oh. Well, yeah. O.K..
MS. LEWINSKY I never had intercourse. I did not have a sexual relationship.
MRS. TRIPP O.K.. So all right. So that's -- that's that paragraph. What else?

On Ms. Lewinsky's conversations with Vernon Jordan.

MRS. TRIPP Did he say anything about -- and, now, this is -- this is touchy and you don't have to answer it.
MRS. TRIPP But did he address the perjury issue at all? Because that is perjury.
MS. LEWINSKY O.K.. He -- yeah. He said that -- he said, "Your' not gonna go to jail. You're not going to go to jail."
MRS. TRIPP You're not going to go to jail, but did he -- did he -- did he assess what could happen? I mean, assuming -- let's say worst case, they come up to me or to you and say, "you on this date and this date and this date said something completely wrong to us. It's obviously a falsehood."
And let's just say it's perjury or can be construed as perjury. Did he --

MS. LEWINSKY I would say it's not. What I said it true. It did not happen. She is -- I did not say that. She must have misunderstood. Maybe --
MRS. TRIPP I mean, you're not hearing what I'm saying. I understand all that.
MRS. TRIPP I -- I -- I've gotten that.
MS. LEWINSKY See, no. No. I understand what you're saying. What I'm trying to show you is that what he has showed me is there's no way to get caught in perjury in a situation like this.
MRS. TRIPP Really?
MS. LEWINSKY In a situation like this --
MRS. TRIPP He's sure?
MS. LEWINSKY There's no way.
MRS. TRIPP He's sure.
MS. LEWINSKY That's -- look, that's what he's told me.
MRS. TRIPP When he presented it to you, did he seem sure?
MRS. TRIPP Like -- but you don't seem to be concerned about that anyway.
MS. LEWINSKY I'm not because -- because of all those reasons.
MRS. TRIPP I know. But did you express concern at all?
MS. LEWINSKY Yes, I did. Of course, I did.
MRS. TRIPP You said --
MS. LEWINSKY I was crying.
MRS. TRIPP You were?
MRS. TRIPP O.K.. So you knew -- he knew that you were concerned.
MS. LEWINSKY Yes. Oh, yes.

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