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CLINTON UNDER FIRE | TRIPP TAPE EXCERPTS

'I Think . . . You Don't Like Having to Lie.'

January 25, 1998

Newsweek magazine on Saturday released new excerpts of Linda Tripp's tapes of her conversations with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky. In the excerpts, the women discuss their pending depositions in the Paula Corbin Jones civil suit, in which they expect to be questioned about Lewinsky's alleged sexual relationship with President Clinton.

TRIPP: Look, Monica, we already know you're going to lie under oath. We also know that I want out of this, big time. . . . If I have to testify, it's going to be the opposite of what you say. . . .

LEWINSKY: Well, it doesn't have to be a conflict.

TRIPP: What do you mean? How? Tell me how? [What am I] 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 [expletive] perjury. That's the bottom line. I will do everything I can not to be in that position. That's what I'm trying to do. . . . I think you really believe that this is very easy, and I should just say [expletive] it. They can't prove it.

LEWINSKY: I believe you, but obviously I don't have the same feelings about the situation. . . .

TRIPP: What do you mean?

LEWINSKY: Because if I had the same feelings that it was so wrong to deny something, then I would not be doing it. You see what I mean?

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

LEWINSKY: I don't think anybody likes to. . . . I would lie on the stand for my family. That is how I was raised.

*

LEWINSKY: Look, I will deny it so he will not get screwed in the case, but I'm going to get screwed personally.

TRIPP: . . . This is sick, this is sick. . . .

*

The women discuss whether she should be truthful in her sworn statements in Jones' sexual-harassment lawsuit against Clinton.

TRIPP: He [Clinton] knows you're going to lie. You've told him, haven't you?

LEWINSKY: No.

TRIPP: I thought that night when he called, you established that much.

LEWINSKY: Well, I mean, [I] don't know.

TRIPP: Jesus. Well, does he think you're going to tell the truth?

LEWINSKY: No. . . .Oh, Jesus.

TRIPP: So he's at least feeling somewhat safe that this is not going to go any further right now, right?

LEWINSKY: Yeah. . . .

*

The women debate whether there is any hard evidence that can hurt them, such as gifts to Lewinsky from the president or videotapes of the two together.

LEWINSKY: Whatever they have, if they have anything, has to be inadmissible. Nobody saw him give me any of those things, and nobody saw anything happen between us.

TRIPP: Are you positive that nobody saw you in the study?

LEWINSKY: I'm absolutely positive.

TRIPP: How about Betty [Currie, Clinton's secretary]? . . . What if they are able to subpoena records?

LEWINSKY: What records?

TRIPP: Phone records.

LEWINSKY: Phone calls to me? Honestly . . . I'd say I was afraid to say he [called me] because we're friends, and I know what this case is about. . . . I'm sure he calls on some sort of special phone. You know he got caught once [by using a regular phone], so. . . .

*

Lewinsky sighs as she concludes that Clinton will never settle the Jones lawsuit.

TRIPP: You don't know that yet.

LEWINSKY: Yeah, I do, from the way--what Vernon [Jordan, Clinton's confidant] said.

TRIPP: Was he definite?

LEWINSKY: Oh, you could hear it in his voice. It's like done.

TRIPP: But again, I go back to [the fact that] he [Clinton] doesn't know everything. . . .

LEWINSKY: Even if you didn't know [about the sexual relationship], I'd still be doing this because it's not their [the lawyers in the Jones case] business. It's not their business. . . .

TRIPP: If they have anything, it's that you were given federal employment.

LEWINSKY: I already had it [a federal job] when it [the sexual relationship] started. . . .

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