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ACS Impeachment: Who was Linda Tripp’s boss, Vince Foster?

Bruno Cooke September 8, 2021
linda tripp boss
Photo credit should read WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP via Getty Images

Season 3 of American Crime Story, which tells the story of the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal and has Linda Tripp (played by Sarah Paulson) at its centre, aired yesterday on FX. Who was Linda Tripp’s boss, Vince Foster, and what effect did his suicide have on Tripp?

What is Impeachment: American Crime Story about?

Impeachment is the third instalment of FX true-crime anthology series American Crime Story

This season revolves around the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal, which erupted in 1998 and earned numerous Watergate-inspired monikers, including “Lewinskygate”, “Monicagate” and “Tailgate”.

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Impeachment: American Crime Story | Official Trailer

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Impeachment: American Crime Story | Official Trailer
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Starring English actor Clive Owen (Children Of Men) as former president Bill Clinton, Beanie Feldstein (What We Do In The Shadows) as former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and Sarah Paulson (an American Horror Story stalwart) as civil servant Linda Tripp, the eight-parter will play weekly until the end of October.

What did Tripp’s former boss have to do with the scandal?

Tripp died in 2020. Years after the scandal played out, she told ABC News her motivation for exposing Clinton and Lewinsky’s relationship was “because it was so cruel”.

In the words of Vanity Fair’s Julie Miller, she acted out of “moral duties” to “protect her friend”. 

But Exiles, the first episode of Impeachment, establishes what Miller calls a “complicated back story to Tripp’s betrayal”. And that back story apparently has a lot to do with the suicide of Linda Tripp’s boss, Vince Foster, in 1993.

Who was Linda Tripp’s boss, Vince Foster?

In 1993, after a stint as a floating secretary under the Bush administration, Tripp started working permanently for Bernard Nussbaum and Vince Foster (pictured below). 

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Photo by Jeffrey Markowitz/Sygma via Getty Images

Nussbaum, now 84, served as White House counsel under Clinton. Vince Foster, formerly an Arkansas lawyer, was his deputy.

Foster lived across the street from Bill Clinton when they were young, and later employed Hillary Clinton at Rose Law Firm, according to Vox.

How did he die?

On 20 July 1993, Vince Foster shot and killed himself using an antique revolver.

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Photo credit should read BOB OCHEN/AFP via Getty Images

Linda Tripp was one of the last people to see her boss alive – she had served him his final meal. In the days leading up to his death, he had reportedly described work as “a grind” to his mother.

He was, at the time, mired in scandal, both as deputy White House counsel and as a personal lawyer for the Clintons. His death spawned numerous conspiracy theories.

Miller, writing for VF, contends his suicide marked a “critical turning point” in Tripp’s attitude, and laid the groundwork for her “betrayal”.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.