During the fallout from her use of a personal email account, Hillary Clinton has attempted to downplay her working relationship with Sidney Blumenthal, but emails released last week show that the two met at her State Department office in 2012.Blumenthal has proved a thorn in the Democratic presidential candidate’s side. The former journalist, who worked as an aide in the Bill Clinton White House, frequently emailed Clinton intelligence that he had gleaned from undisclosed sources. In many cases, Blumenthal was advancing the business interests of companies for which he was working. In other emails, Blumenthal would email Clinton political gossip — some of which was critical of President Obama and the White House.
In distancing herself from Blumenthal, Clinton has claimed that his emails were “unsolicited.”
“I have many, many old friends, and I always think it’s important, when you get into politics to have friends you had before you were in politics,” Clinton said in May, adding that “I’m going to keep talking to my old friends whoever they are.”
Despite her claim that she did not seek Blumenthal’s advice and insight, numerous emails contained in the Clinton trove show that the then-secretary of state frequently asked her friend for follow-up information and gossip. (RELATED: Emails Undermine Hillary’s Claim That Blumenthal Emails Were ‘Unsolicited’)
A March 23, 2012 State Department meeting listed on Clinton’s State Department calendar also undermines Clinton’s claim that she kept Blumenthal at arm’s length.
Blumenthal was joined at the meeting with Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz, another close Clinton ally. Other emails that Blumenthal sent to Clinton show that he and Wilentz are close friends. In one Oct. 2010 email, Blumenthal sent Clinton a link to an article bearing Wilentz’s byline which was critical of the tea party.
“Did this with Sean,” Blumemthal wrote.
Blumenthal’s appearance at the State Department is notable for another reason. He was famously blocked by the Obama White House in 2009 from taking a job with the State Department because of his shady campaign activities during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary contest between Clinton and Obama. Blumenthal, always the loyal hatchet-man, was responsible for circulating a number of rumors about Obama among his circle of journalism friends.