American Crime Story is one of the best anthology series that has focused on some of America’s most notorious events, like the O.J. Simpson murder case and the death of Gianni Versace. Now, it returns with a new story Impeachment, premiering on September 7 on FX.
Impeachment follows the Clinton Scandal, one of the most infamous presidential bombshells in history when it was revealed that President Clinton had abused his power to initiate a sexual relationship with an intern. The scandal is still referenced today, and the event has been spoofed and joked about in the media. Therefore, it is important to learn the background of this case, including the developments and the aftermath.
10 The Sexual Relationship From 1995 To 1997
According to History.com, Lewinsky joined as a White House intern during Clinton’s first term as president in early 1995. Bill Clinton then began a sexual relationship with her on November 15, 1995. In 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon after staff members became suspicious, but the sexual relationship continued until 1997.
Although the series is titled Impeachment, referring to Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, trailers heavily focused on Clinton and Lewinsky. Showrunner Sarah Burgess shared that they will not show any sex scenes to showcase a different angle of Lewinsky’s difficulties during this period. Clive Owen will portray Bill Clinton, while Beanie Feldstein will play Monica Lewinsky.
9 Clinton Vs. Jones
In 1994, Paula Jones started a suit against Bill Clinton and accused him of sexual harassment. According to History.com, Clinton’s lawyer argued that he had presidential immunity, meaning that he could not be charged as a sitting president. Clinton vs. Jones was taken to the Supreme Court. The ruling was unanimous in that a sitting president did not have presidential immunity on civil issues that took place before a president’s term.
Annaleigh Ashford, portraying Paula Jones, spoke to NY Daily News and shared memories of the scandal uncovering in the 1990s. She recalled that women like Jones were used as a “political tool,” and the scandal came from a “male lens.” The series will focus on the women’s voices and the scrutiny and misogyny they faced.
8 Whitewater, Another Clinton Scandal
Clinton also dealt with another scandal, known as Whitewater. As reported by Vox.com, the Clinton family made a failed investment on Whitewater Developmental Corporation with a real estate businessman Jim McDougal. Soon, McDougal took over a bank called Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan and paid Clinton’s gubernatorial campaign debts in 1985. Many people believed that the Clintons were also in on the fraudulent scheme.
Ken Starr was one of the leading investigators who tried to prove their wrongdoings with no success. Dan Bakkedahl will portray Starr in the series, and Whitewater will have the ball rolling about the scandal. So far, the trailers have shown little of Starr, but he has a significant role during the Clinton Scandal and subsequent impeachment, which will likely unfold later in the series.
7 Linda Tripp Had The Tapes
According to History.com, Lewinsky confided to Tripp about the details of her relationship with Clinton. Tripp taped these conservations and shared them with a literary agent, Lucianne Goldberg. She soon turned in the tapes to Starr, and the scandal slowly was unfolded to the public and became the turning point for Clinton’s impeachment proceeding.
The trailers have heavily focused on Tripp’s role in disclosing the evidence of the scandal, given that the show is shown from Lewinsky’s perspective. Therefore, it appears that the series will focus on her backstory and showcase her in a different position. From a LA Times interview, Sarah Paulson shared her qualms about portraying Tripp, given that her decisions were not justifiable, but she has a “greater understanding as to the why.”
6 The Blue Dress
The series will focus on the Clinton Scandal, so the references to the stained blue dress will be made. Lewinsky followed Tripp’s advice and kept some of the gifts from Clinton and items she wore, including her blue dress as “insurance.” According to an archived CNN report, the blue dress was stained with bodily fluids, and Starr received it in exchange for immunity for Lewinsky and her parents.
Burgess confirmed the series reduced the contents of the sexual relationship and that the dress will only be referenced, not shown. Although these scenes will be minimized, Lewinsky persuaded the makers to include the thong-flashing moment as reported by NY Daily News.
5 Clinton’s Denial Speech Became An Infamous One-Liner
Once the scandal made headlines in January 1998, Clinton held a press conference to deny the allegations with his wife Hillary Clinton next to him. He quoted, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” which has become one of the most infamous one-liners in history.
As shown in the trailers, Owen recreated this moment, showcasing a similar mannerism and tension. During an interview with ET Canada, he was nervous about his recreation of the historical footages, his “gravelly voice,” and features, but he found it to be the fascinating part of the role. While many viewers are aware of the common knowledge behind the scandal like his speech, the series will further explore Clinton’s story, including his marriage with Hillary Clinton.
4 Bill Clinton: The Second United States President Impeached In History
The Clinton Scandal became the turning point, and the Starr Report further pushed for articles of impeachment. On December 19, 1998, Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton became the second president (out of three) in history to do so. The only other impeached presidents have been Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump.
The series is titled Impeachment, and it will use the scandal to build up to the impeachment process. However, the trailers showed no scenes about the impeachment process, so it is unclear how much the series will focus on this part of the historical event. Nevertheless, it is expected that this will be addressed.
3 The Senate Acquitted Clinton
For a president to be convicted and removed, two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote “yes,” requiring at least 67 Senators’ votes. The trial started on January 7, 1999. After nearly a month, the Senate conducted the final votes on both impeachment charges. Clinton was acquitted on both accounts on February 9.
While the series will follow the developments of the Clinton Scandal leading up to the impeachment, it is unclear how much the trial will be referred to or uncover the details. However, video-taped testimonies will likely be shown to highlight Lewinsky’s experience during this period.
2 Hillary Clinton Remained Supportive Of Her Husband
Although Bill Clinton had cheated, Hillary Clinton remained supportive of her husband during the scandal. However, she admitted to Barbara Walters at ABC News that she was “furious” when her husband confirmed his sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton is still married to him today.
Edie Falco will portray the then-First Lady in the series. Of course, it has raised some eyebrows if Hillary Clinton or any Clinton member will watch the series. As reported by Deadline, Brad Simpson, the executive producer, shared that no one from the Clinton family has watched the series yet. Although he is curious about their reaction, he does not believe that Hillary Clinton will watch it, given the sensitive and personal nature of the story.
1 Monica Lewinsky’s Life After The Scandal Was Difficult
While Clinton recovered from the scandal and still received high approval ratings as a president, Lewinsky did not experience the same energy. According to Time, she was slut-shamed in the media and experienced constant cyberbullying.
Despite trying to lay low in public, the scandal hurt her personal life and career. Lewinsky was vocal about the scandal, published an essay on Vanity Fair, and became an anti-cyberbullying advocate. She has also addressed the situation on social media, including tweets about MeToo and internship experience trends.
Impeachment will focus on Lewinsky’s perspective and the vilification she received from the media. Lewinsky joined as a co-producer, consulted the script with her input, and worked with Feldstein about the portrayal. From her interview with Hollywood Reporter, she felt she was in the right hands with the team that wanted to respect her and showcase her in a better light. Of course, reliving the experience while consulting on the project was “triggering” for Lewinsky, and she had a trusted therapist during her journey with the series.