Clinton Aide Peddled Stories Against Conservatives Exposing Lewinsky Affair
Emails sent by Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, to a prominent liberal journalist during the Monica Lewinsky scandal provide a rare look at the Clinton White House directly attempting to influence the journalistic process to target the Clinton’s conservative critics.
Blumenthal, who is considered one of Clinton’s staunchest defenders, did so by attempting to convince David Corn, then a reporter with The Nation, a progressive magazine, to look into Lucianne Goldberg and Bill Kristol.
Emails sent from Blumenthal to Corn are contained among thousands of documents released by the Clinton Presidential Library on Friday.
Blumenthal’s first email to Corn was sent on July 6, 1998 targeted Goldberg, a conservative literary agent who had encouraged Linda Tripp to record conversations with Lewinsky. Tripp and Lewinsky worked together at the Pentagon.
“Do you want to do a story about Lucianne Goldberg?” Blumenthal asked Corn, who is currently a reporter at Mother Jones and a contributor to MSNBC.
“She was sued about ten years ago by Kitty Kelley for stealing a lot of money from her. Lucianne was her agent and made off with more than $20,000. It went to trial and Lucianne lost and was forced to pay back all the stolen lucre,” Blumenthal wrote.
“Do you want Kitty’s phone number? I think she’d talk on background,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal floated several questions in the email to Corn involving another client of Goldberg’s, Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles detective involved in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
“I have no recollection of receiving this email and no recollection of pursuing or writing any story along these lines,” Corn told The Daily Caller through email.
He said he did not recall whether he spoke to Kelley and that he knew the celebrity biographer only “in passing” at the time.
“I do see — on Lucianne’s Wikipedia page — that the story of her legal tussle with Kitty was covered by The Washington Post in 1988,” Corn wrote. “So, it seems, Sidney was not passing along any inside material or unknown-to-the-public information in this regard. Which may explain why I didn’t pursue the matter.”
Corn also told TheDC that he also has no recollection of investigating Fuhrman’s ties to Goldberg.
In another email to Corn on Oct. 14, 1998, Blumenthal alleged that Bill Kristol, the publisher of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, was “linked to the plotters.”
Blumenthal walked through his logic, pointing out that Kristol appeared on ABC “This Week” on Jan. 18, a day after the Drudge Report broke the story.
“On Jan. 22, in a story by Howard Kurtz, Kristol said that he learned about the story before the Drudge Report was posted from another source,” continued Blumenthal, who then rattled off several names he believed tied Kristol to the story.
“Richard Porter used to work with Kristol, when Porter did oppo [opposition research] for Quayle and Kristol was Quayle’s chief of staff,” Blumenthal wrote. “Kristol was also a founder of the Federalist Society and is part of the network that includes Porter, George Conway and Jerome Marcus.”
“In other words, Kristol is linked to the plotters,” wrote Blumenthal, who then promised Corn, “I’ll send another batch of clips.”
Asked if Blumenthal’s theory persuaded him to investigate Kristol, Corn wrote “Nope. Doesn’t ring any bells.”
“I have no recollection of him being involved with the Lewinsky ‘plotters,’ as Sidney called them,” Corn told TheDC. “Nor do I have any recollection of looking into any possible connection. If I did any reporting on that front, I think I would recall that.”
A cursory Google search conducted by TheDC found no articles written by Corn characterizing Kristol as being involved in what Blumenthal considered a plot.
In his email to TheDC, Corn pointed to an exchange between Blumenthal and a university professor included in the Clinton Library documents in which the journalist is assailed for being a Clinton critic.