Excerpts from tapes reveal Lewinsky, Tripp conflict

January 25, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Following are excerpts from what Newsweek magazine described as tapes of conversations between Monica Lewinsky and Linda R. Tripp, recorded by Tripp without Lewinsky's knowledge:

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.

Tripp: You're going to die here. I would do almost anything for my kids, but I don't think I would lie on the stand for them.

Lewinsky: I was brought up with lies all the time. That's the how you got along. I have lied my entire life.

Tripp: I feel like I'm sticking a knife in your back, and I know at the end of this, if I have to go forward, you will never speak to me again.

They discuss a plan to have Tripp have a "foot accident" and avoid having to be deposed:

Tripp: Look, I can't lie under oath so I have to think of a way that I don't have to. I only wish you'd tell the big one [that I know]. Then I'd know he knew.

Lewinsky: I can't. If I do that, I'm just going to [expletive] kill myself.

Tripp: He hasn't asked you if you told anyone?

Lewinsky: He asked me something and I said no. The other one, the one I saw today [apparently Vernon Jordan], asked me, "You didn't tell anybody, did you?"

Tripp: And what did you say?

Lewinsky: No.

Tripp: Oh, Jesus Christ. And you think anything you tell him would definitely get back to the other one?

Lewinsky: Of course, it would.

They talk about what Lewinsky has told the president:

Tripp: He 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.

Lewinsky, who has call waiting, gets a call from her mother, Marcia Lewis. Then she speaks again to Tripp:

Lewinsky: [My mother] understands why you think it's necessary to tell the truth. She said [the plan to avoid the deposition by having an accident is] brilliant.

They discuss whether there is any evidence that could hurt them: Tripp: 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 concludes that the president will not settle the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit:

Tripp: You don't know that yet.

Lewinsky: Yeah, I do, from the way -- what Vernon 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.

Tripp: I can't be involved in this. I can't be a party to all this ugliness that will do nothing except destroy people.

Lewinsky: I will have lost the two closest people to me.

Pub Date: 1/25/98

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