This week, the State Department released the latest tranche of Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. Unsurprisingly, the emails reportedly contained few revelations, since Clinton deleted 30,000 of them and wiped her server before turning it over to the authorities.
But they did contain a few nuggets of interest: the State Department tech department had no clue Hillary was using a private email server or personal email address; Hillary liked to correspond with out-of-government players like former Clinton hit man Sidney Blumenthal, particularly on critiques of people like Speaker of the House John Boehner (Blumenthal called Boehner “louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle,” a largely-accurate but not entirely free-of-irony description coming from Blumenthal); and more classified emails Hillary has denied ever sending or receiving.
It’s no shock that Hillary’s emails contain no smoking gun; that’s the point of spoliation of evidence. What’s more interesting is the cast of characters surrounding Lady Hillary in this latest Shakespearian drama. As Obi Wan Kenobi might put it, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. America must be cautious.
Sidney Blumenthal. Hillary’s emails contain an inordinate amount of correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal began as a “journalist” – he wrote for The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The New Republic, among other publications. Like other mainstream media journalists, he fell head over heels for the Clintons after covering them during their first term, then joined the second Clinton administration as a special assistant to Bill. According to media reports, Blumenthal smeared Monica Lewinsky in an attempt to prevent her from damaging his boss; he also attempted to sue Matt Drudge for libel and tried to smear independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Blumenthal was so dirty – connected to so many shady lobbying groups – that the Obama administration rejected him as an adviser for Hillary’s State Department. But that didn’t stop Hillary from using him for advice. According to the Associated Press, “During Clinton’s years as secretary of state, Blumenthal offered a flood of intelligence and advice to his former boss, sending near-monthly missives about the growing unrest in Libya to the personal email account she continued to use as a government employee.”
Blumenthal frequently sent articles from his radically anti-Semitic son, Max Blumenthal, to Hillary as well. The younger Blumenthal has compared Israel and Nazi Germany and likened Israeli activity to Kristallnacht and the concentration camps. Max’s article on The Innocence of Muslims, the YouTube video Hillary blamed for the Benghazi attacks, went directly to Hillary via Sidney.
It wasn’t just advice and random political thoughts, either. In the context of those emails, Blumenthal allegedly lobbied on behalf of foreign-security contractors in Libya – groups with which he had a financial relationship, as National Review reported:
A May 2011 e-mail shows Blumenthal working to secure $60,000 from longtime Clinton operative Cody Shearer in order to send four Osprey security contractors into Libya. By August, Osprey had signed a contract with the Libyan National Council, which took over the country following the Gaddafi regime’s collapse.
Hillary told the media that she only corresponded with Blumenthal because “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…I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are.” But she’s only known Blumenthal in the context of politics. And hit men come in useful more often than not.
Cheryl Mills. Hillary’s top aide has said she didn’t have a personal email address on Hillary’s private server, but media reports have disagreed. Mills is a longtime Clinton hatchet woman – she was Hillary’s chief of staff and White House counsel during Bill’s impeachment. She also allegedly destroyed emails on behalf of the Clintons back then.
As Paul Sperry reports, Mills told Commerce Department employees not to turn over documents related to Bill and Hillary selling seats on trade junkets for campaign cash; she was called “loathsome” by US District Judge Royce Lambert for failing to protect 1.8 million Clinton emails under subpoena at the time. Sperry also notes that Mills “‘concealed’ so many subpoenaed emails and other documents detailing allegedly illegal fundraising activity between the White House and the Democratic National Committeee…that staff lawyers for the House Government Oversight Committee in 1998 sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department demanding federal prosecutors charge Mills with obstruction of justice and perjury.”
Mills hit the news again in 2012, when Hillary put her in charge of document production for all issues related to Benghazi. According to deputy ambassador to Libya Gregory Hicks, Mills told him to stonewall Congressional investigators. And as Sperry concludes, “Mills negotiated the weak conflict-of-interest rules for disclosing foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation with the Obama administration.”
Huma Abedin. Abedin is perhaps Hillary’s closest adviser, and had an email address on Hillary’s private server. The wife of penis-texter Anthony Weiner, Huma has long stood by Hillary’s side. Hillary’s State Department even granted Abedin unique status when it came to conflicts of interest: as Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pointed out earlier this year, the State Department gave Abedin the green light to work for Teneo, a firm that lobbies the government for contracts – even as she worked for Hillary. Abedin didn’t disclose her financial arrangements with Teneo on financial reports. She also worked as a consultant to the Clinton Foundation while working for the State Department. Melanie Sloane of ethics group CREW explained to The New York Times, “If she was being held out as a deputy chief of staff, it would be highly unusual for her to be a part-time employee or a consultant. Being a deputy chief of staff at the State Department is generally considered more than a full-time job.”
And then there are Abedin’s controversial family ties. Andrew McCarthy of National Review pointed out in 2012 that Abedin’s mother is a top figure with the Muslim Brotherhood female division and works with more than one terrorist-connected group. Abedin’s father is also closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Abedin herself edited a journal founded by an al-Qaeda financier, according to Robert Spencer. Abedin has always been considered a close adviser to Hillary on Middle East affairs.
Philippe Reines. Reines has been Hillary’s longtime press aide. He recently made the headlines after the State Department told Gawker that it had no records of exchanges between the notoriously hotheaded Reines and journalists; just a few weeks ago, the State Department handed over some 18,000 such emails. Reines’ brusque manner has drawn scrutiny before: he once told a reporter to “f*** off” (so much for Donald Trump’s supposed brutality with regard to Jorge Ramons!) and recently sent an email copying various members of the media and ripping media coverage of his email account. Even Politico finds Reines off-putting:
Still, one wonders whether such an aggressive spokesperson — Reines is and will always be a Clinton spokesperson, even if that is not his official title — is beneficial to the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign….stories about angry emails with expletives and name-calling — who says “lying liar pants on fire”? — may reinforce some voters’ worst fears about the Clinton brand of petty, bullying politics.
Hillary has put together quite the charming team: the sleazebag smear artist with the radical politics and corrupt ties; the hatchet woman allegedly willing to destroy anything and anyone to help her boss; the top aide with troubling ties; and the press agent from hell. No wonder Hillary’s campaign is on the upswing.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.