EXCLUSIVE: 'Hillary must NEVER become President', says the woman who exposed Bill's affair with Monica. Former Clinton West Wing assistant Linda Tripp says Democratic contender is a liar who treats the public with contempt
- Linda Tripp, now 65, was a civil servant who had a ringside seat during Clinton's administration with office directly adjacent to Hillary's
- She exposed President Clinton affair with Monica because it was the culmination of years of so much corruption
- Although she was vilified for her role in the scandal, she breaks years of silence to tell Daily Mail Online she would do it again
- During the bimbo eruptions Hillary 'destroyed women so that their stories never saw the light of day,' Tripp says
- She went from being a lackluster First Lady with unimpressive approval numbers to First Victim
- Hillary will stop at nothing to achieve her end - the Presidency - and see the public as plebians easily seduced into believing her, says Tripp
It was the scandal that saw Bill Clinton impeached and which threatened to bring down his presidency. For many, it continues to define it to this day.
But according to the woman who outed Monica Lewinsky as the president's mistress, the real story was never about Monica. It was about 'subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice… a true abuse of power.' And it was about Hillary.
Because, according to Linda Tripp, it was Hillary who manipulated and stage managed the story, converting herself from a lackluster First Lady with unimpressive approval ratings to admirable First Victim - the blindsided wife standing by her man.
She made him forgivable. She 'orchestrated the cover up' and she made damn sure that she moved on. Nothing, and no-one, was going to stand in her way.
Linda Tripp, whose recorded conversations with Lewinsky - submitted to independent counsel Kenneth Starr - exposed the truth of the affair that both Lewinsky and Clinton had sought to deny, has never spoken fully until now.
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After more than a decade of silence Tripp, 65, has chosen to speak out. In an exclusive interview with Daily Mail Online the woman who had a ringside seat throughout Clinton's administration has given a damning insight into - and assessment of- Hillary as the 'key player' in the scandals of the Clinton presidency.
She describes Hillary as the true 'ruler' of the White House through her husband's administration; tells how she watched Hillary 'blatantly lie' to the American people; describes her as utterly 'ruthless' in her pursuit of power; and voices her belief that Hillary must never gain the presidency - the position that has always been her goal and to which she has always believed herself entitled.
According to Tripp: 'In her mind she would be part of a coronation instead of an election.
'This has been planned for so many years. I remember one of the quotes in my first week in the Oval Office which was the week after Clinton's first inauguration.
'Everybody had this little mantra, 'Eight years for Bill. Eight years for Hill.' And when I asked a senior person, 'What does that mean?' He said, 'Well eight years for his administration and eight years for hers.
'So this is a runaway train. Nobody is going to stop it.'
Tripp explained: 'I think the most compelling thing about Hillary is that she will stop at nothing to achieve her end and that she views the public as plebeians easily seduced into believing her point of view.'
Tripp's office was directly adjacent to Hillary's second floor West Wing office for the entire time she served at the Clinton White House, with the exception of the first three months during which she sat directly outside the Oval office. Her position offered her unparalleled access to, and a unique perspective on, both the couple and the administration.
Speaking today she revealed: 'I believe for all his faults as a flawed man, Bill Clinton is not as unscrupulous as his wife. He is complicit but he is not as deceitful as Hillary Clinton is. Don't get me wrong, they are both missing the integrity chip but while she is inherently dishonorable, his seems to be learned behavior.
'Hillary Clinton ruled the White House even as early as 1993 and every scandal that originated in the Clinton administration was the brainchild of Hilary.
'When I think of Hillary Clinton I think of a lingering taint of scandal and wrongdoing and, in my opinion, possible criminal activity.'
And behind it all was, according to Tripp, the pursuit of the Clintons' 'common goal' – power.
She explained: 'She has stood by him all these years because she needed him. In 1992 no female, least of all she, would have been elected to the highest office in the land.
'Their focus has always been power and the accumulation of that power. There were just so many things in the White House that made it abundantly clear to anyone in their radius that he was the elected official but she was the one with the actual power.'
And, according to Tripp: 'When a couple is as focused as they are on a goal there are many, many things that one overlooks to achieve that. Nothing is allowed to stand in the way. That means no circumstance, no person.'
The most obvious examples of this single-minded pursuit came in Hillary's treatment of the series of 'bimbo eruptions' that threatened to derail Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and continued to surface throughout his presidency.
Tripp said: 'His political success was largely dependent upon Hillary. He owed her a great deal. As is widely acknowledged, Hillary took care of all the 'bimbo eruptions' of which there were thousands in order to present to the world an electable candidate.
'In this endeavor she was ruthless. She destroyed women so that their stories never saw the light of day.'
And in the case of those stories that did surface she orchestrated an all-out attack on the women's credibility.
Tripp is in no doubt, for example, that Hillary lay behind the marginalizing of Gennifer Flowers who came forward in 1992 claiming that she had enjoyed a 12-year love affair with Clinton, then Governor of Arkansas and presidential hopeful.
Tripp said: 'Gennifer Flowers, by coming forward, was marginalized despite the fact that according to Clinton insiders at the time everything she said was true.
'She was one of a cast of thousands and they were disposed of in a way that trivialized and marginalized their impact. At the end of the day the public was left with the sense that this couldn't possibly all be true.
'It became easier to believe that these claims must be the work of a vast right wing conspiracy of politically motivated people who would stop at nothing to undermine their forward trajectory.'
When it came to Monica Lewinsky Tripp said: 'Hillary was not only aware of Monica Lewinsky she ensured that Monica was removed from the White House and in the end went from being a lack luster First Lady with unimpressive approval numbers to wronged wife. Literally within the blink of an eye she propelled herself to First Victim status. This turned the corner for Hillary.
'Women across the world could certainly understand her position of standing by her man, finding it admirable that she was working on her marriage, unaware that it was a charade.'
In Tripp's opinion: 'She has that particular scandal to thank for her Senate candidacy and election and for everything that followed.'
But while the 'bimbo eruptions' may have grabbed headlines and attention they were, according to Tripp, far from the most significant scandals to rock the Clinton administration or to be covered-up by Hillary.
She explained: 'I can't emphasize enough how relatively insignificant the bimbo eruptions were compared to the real issues.
'In the case of Monica Lewinsky the story was never really about Monica or Linda Tripp. It was about subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice and a true abuse of power on the part of a sitting president.
'That should have been the story. It never was.
'And so it gave Monica her much needed fifteen minutes and it took the rest of us along with it but the actual crux of the entire issue escaped most.
' And now the very person who orchestrated that cover up and all the other cover ups over the years including those surfacing today is running for president of the United States.'
According to Tripp: 'When I came forward it was not simply because of Monica Lewinsky. It was because of a culmination of years of so much corruption. So much the opposite of what was being presented to the American people, it was so completely different than what was going on behind closed doors.'
As a political independent with no agenda or ax to grind Tripp was, she admitted, appalled by what she perceived as the 'disingenuous front' presented by the Clintons to the world. It stood in stark contrast to the previous Bush administration under which she also served.
She said: 'The Bush administration may have bungled but the work of the people was all done in a straight forward, honorable way. The first George Bush was not a particularly talented politician but a decent statesman.
'Bill Clinton is a gifted politician and he was able to charm and seduce the country. The Clintons presented a disingenuous front.'
The year 1994 saw the first of a series of investigations into the propriety of real-estate purchases involving Bill and Hillary back in 1978 when he was attorney general of Arkansas and shortly before he became governor.
The investigations spanned seven years and became known as the Whitewater Scandal after the name of the business Bill and Hillary had started with friends James B and Susan McDougal with the intention of developing 230 acres of land in the Ozarks, Arkansas.
According to Tripp what she witnessed behind the scenes at the peak of the Whitewater scandal 'was not spin. It was lying to the American people knowingly and doing it routinely.'
She said that not for the first time and certainly not for the last: 'This was not recognizing any controlling legal authority investigating the various scandals and obstructing the investigations at every turn to ensure the malfeasance never surfaced publicly.'
As for Hillary's role, Tripp said: 'I watched her on countless occasions blatantly lie to the American people and knowingly lie.
'This was not a mistake or error or even spin. This was pure manipulation of the truth. In a press conference during the height of the Whitewater frenzy she was well rehearsed, her wardrobe was carefully selected to be soft and pastel and essentially every word out of her mouth, preserved for posterity, was a lie. It's all of a piece with Hillary.'
Because according to Tripp, Hillary operates on the assumption that, 'the rules do not apply' to her or her husband.
Her modus operandi was, and continues to be, Tripp explained: 'I will do what I want and then when I'm questioned I will say, "oops," or "bureaucratic snafu", and then after a couple of months her refrain will be, "this is old news, it's been investigated, I did nothing wrong, let's move on, it's time to address the issues facing the middle class of America."
'That's what she has always done and that's what she will continue to do and the frightening aspect of that approach is that it works.'
It is, Tripp believes, the way Hillary is approaching emailgate, the current scandal in which she is embroiled and which centers on the fact that, throughout her time as Secretary of State, Hillary used her own private email account as opposed to only her government address via a personal server which she has since wiped.
Among Hillary's initial justification for her actions was her assertion that she used the private account for convenience as she did not want to carry two devices. This was quickly scotched by the revelation that she uses multiple devices.
Tripp for one is not surprised by the scandal that she has described as a 'timely and telling' indicator of Hillary's 'no rules apply to me' way of operating.
She explained: 'The scandals simply continue. She covers them up and moves on. People should be aware that she is probably the first cabinet secretary in the history of our country who has operated with their own private server, for a reason. Every lowly government employee understands that electronic communication on government-operated computers belongs to the United States.
'Hillary knows this and it's why she chose to break the rules. Because every document written on a government device is a record and it is retrievable forever more. Hillary's voluminous documents are not retrievable. She is answerable to no-one.'
She continued: 'She was clearly not answerable to the president for whom she worked and more importantly by actions she took she was not answerable to the American public.
'She hands over what she chooses, deletes the rest and wipes the server clean. That is Hillary Clinton in a nutshell'.
It is a damning conclusion and it is a belief that has prompted Tripp to speak out. Today Tripp lives in rural Virginia, on an idyllic $3million farm that she and husband, Dieter, are currently selling.
The couple run a successful German Christmas store, The Christmas Sleigh, in Middleburg and, as a grandmother of seven, life for Tripp revolves around the family of which she is justifiably proud. It is not an existence she has any desire to disrupt but she is motivated now by the same sense of duty that saw her speak out 17 years ago.
Then, she faced dire consequences as she found herself publicly vilified for her actions and indicted on charges of illegal wiretapping. The charges were subsequently dropped.
Asked by Kenneth Starr if she had any final words on testifying, Lewinsky said simply, 'I hate Linda Tripp.'
Looking back Tripp said: 'I regret what I put my children through. I regret very much that they had to endure that level of vitriol but would I do it again? Yes.
'I come from a very patriotic background. My civil service career, well over 20 years at that time, meant a sense of loyalty, patriotic duty and honor. I sincerely cared about the integrity of the country's leadership.'
She still does. It's why she believes Hillary Clinton must never be president.
She said: 'I'd love to see a female president in my lifetime but I certainly would not choose to vote for a president of the United States based primarily on gender.
'Without a doubt it's time for a female president but it is without a doubt not the time nor will it ever be the time for Hillary Clinton to be that president. She simply lacks the integrity.'