Linda Tripp, Clinton Affair Whistleblower, Dead at 70

Tripp was reportedly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer less than a week ago

Linda Tripp speaks to reporters outside the US District Courthouse in 1998. (Photo by Larry Morris/The The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Linda Tripp speaks to reporters outside the US District Courthouse in 1998. (Photo by Larry Morris/The The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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By Bonnie Stiernberg / April 9, 2020 9:50 am

Linda Tripp, whose secretly recorded conversations with Monica Lewinsky about the then-White House intern’s relationship with President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment in 1998, has reportedly died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 70.

“As a family we are deeply saddened of the passing of our beloved mother/sister/grandmother/daughter and a great friend to many,” her son, Ryan, said in a statement. “She spent her life following a code of ethics and her moral compass. Doing what was right was more important to her than taking the easy or popular way out.” Tripp turned over 20 hours of tapes to Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor investigating Clinton, which led to the president being impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. (Clinton was eventually acquitted in the Senate.)

“She made a difficult decision to protect those ethics by taking on a sitting president while being ‘pressured’ to lie under oath,” the statement continues. “While half the country took to attacking her and claiming it was all for a book deal (I believe she’s probably the only one involved with that scandal to have not taken the opportunity to write a book) I believe she was a brave whistleblower and was on board with the #metoo movement well before it become popular.”

Tripp insisted in a 2018 interview that she believed she was acting in Lewinsky’s best interests, doing what she could to stop a man she believed to be a sexual predator. “This was flying by the seat of my pants, terrified, out of my wits, completely guilt-ridden that I was having to manipulate her, but convinced in my soul that in the end it would benefit her,” she said. “That he would no longer be able to do this to hurt anyone else.”

On Wednesday, when news broke that Tripp was gravely ill, Lewinsky tweeted, “No matter the past, upon hearing that Linda Tripp is very seriously ill, I hope for her recovery. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for her family.”

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