The next installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story, aptly titled Impeachment, will tackle the infamous sex scandal that plagued Bill Clinton’s presidency — and the new season, showrun by Sarah Burgess, will feature familiar faces from Murphy’s ever-growing television empire, including Sarah Paulson, Billy Eichner, and Annaleigh Ashford.
Previous seasons of the anthology series explored the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the assassination of high-profile fashion designer Gianni Versace, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series in both 2016 and 2018. Expectations for Impeachment are thus high, and so here is your guide to the many people involved in the scandal and who will be portraying them on the small screen when Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres on FX on September 7th.
Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson)
American Horror Story and American Crime Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays civil servant and whistleblower Linda Tripp. Tripp worked in the White House under George H.W. Bush and for a short time under Clinton. She met former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1996, when they were both transferred to the Pentagon, and the two became fast friends despite their significant age gap and differing levels of political experience. Lewinsky grew close to Tripp, eventually confiding in her about her sexual relationship with the married Clinton, and Tripp later argued that she felt it was her “patriotic duty” to leak the information about the inappropriate relationship, even though she knew that Lewinsky would likely never speak to her again. With the support and encouragement of literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, Tripp secretly recorded hours of her private conversations with Lewinsky in which she detailed her experiences with the president. The recordings proved helpful to Kenneth Starr, who was already leading an investigation of Whitewater, another scandal that muddied Clinton’s reputation. What was once a professional mentorship and friendship between Tripp and Lewinsky became a public nightmare. Tripp died at age 70 in April of 2020.
Bill Clinton (Clive Owen)
British actor Clive Owen (The Knick, Lisey’s Story) plays the 42nd President of the United States (the one who gets impeached, in case that wasn’t clear). The Democrat, known for his centrist views and policies, was also the attorney general and governor of Arkansas, his home state. He attended Georgetown and studied law at Yale Law School, where he met his future wife and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The series will focus on his time in the White House and his inappropriate relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky. The smooth-talking president faced several accusations of sexual misconduct before, during, and after his time in office, and the House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton during his second term as President after he lied under oath, an obstruction of justice. (Putting him alongside Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump on the shortlist of Presidents who were impeached.)
Hillary Clinton (Edie Falco)
Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) will embody First Lady Hillary Clinton in the star-studded series. Hillary explored her interest in politics during her time at Wellesley College and Yale Law School. She continued her political career post-graduation, working with the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives and being appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the board of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978.
As First Lady, she focused her efforts on advancing health reform and children’s health rights. She and Bill worked together on several White House initiatives, including their attempt at universal healthcare. Oftentimes, her involvement with the president’s agenda led to public scrutiny and backlash. She served as Secretary of State from 2009-2013 and ran for president in 2008 and 2016. Despite the numerous allegations against President Clinton, the First Lady never left her husband’s side or defense. She initially dismissed the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal as a conspiracy by his opponents on the right. After more evidence surfaced that corroborated the affair, she acknowledged the situation and said that they were committed partners in their marriage. It is believed that Hillary Clinton will not have as prominent of a role in the season as predicted.
Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein)
Starring in a dramatic series is quite the departure for actress Beanie Feldstein, who is best known for her scene-stealing comedic performances in films such as Lady Bird, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and Booksmart. The actress plays activist, public speaker, and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who made headlines when she had an affair with President Bill Clinton. She quickly became a household name as a result of the constant media coverage of the scandal. Both Bill Clinton and Lewinsky testified in front of a grand jury, which resulted in his impeachment. The real-life Lewinsky became a celebrity and a pop culture figure in the wake of the scandal, appearing on reality shows, advertisements for Jenny Craig, and sketches from Saturday Night Live. She has since given in-depth interviews on her experiences, appearing on the popular podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard in 2019. She is also credited as a producer on the anthology series.
Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford)
Monica Lewinsky’s relationship with Clinton was not the first time the president was linked with sexual misconduct. Annaleigh Ashford (Plan B, American Crime Story) plays civil servant Paula Jones, who accused the president of sexual harassment. When she worked for the state of Arkansas in 1991, she claims that Governor Clinton invited her to his hotel room and exposed himself. Jones sued in 1994 and her lawsuit reached the Supreme Court. It was her sexual harassment case that triggered the investigation that would eventually unearth the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Clinton denied the charges against him, and the case was settled outside of court. Paula’s husband Steve is played by Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam and actress Jeanetta Arnette (Boys Don’t Cry, Pineapple Express) plays her mother, Delmer Lee Corbin.
Lucianne Goldberg (Margo Martindale)
Emmy winner Margo Martindale (The Americans, Justified) plays literary agent Lucianne Goldberg. Before the Lewinksy scandal, Goldberg was already in conversation with Tripp, as they were planning to collaborate on a book about deputy White House counsel Vince Foster (though those plans fell through). During one of their conversations, she encouraged Linda Tripp to record her private phone calls with Monica Lewinsky with the intention of leaking them to the press. Tripp was led to believe that it was legal to record conversations, but that was proved not to be the case in Maryland, Tripp’s home state.
Matt Drudge (Billy Eichner)
Matt Drudge, political commentator, author, host, and founder of the popular news site The Drudge Report is played by Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street, Difficult People). The Drudge Report was the first to report the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal and continues to be a much-visited news source.
In addition to these actors, actress Betty Gilpin (GLOW, The Tomorrow War) joined the cast earlier this year as conservative pundit and author Ann Coulter. Due to scheduling conflicts, however, she was forced to back out of the project. It is uncertain whether or not she will be recast, or if the series will do away with Coulter’s storyline altogether. Also, Anthony Green (The Bourne Identity) is set to play environmentalist and former Vice President Al Gore, who publicly supported Clinton during the troubling time.
Impeachment: American Crime Story will premiere on FX September 7th.
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