Published: November 04, 2019
A Clinton family ally reportedly tried to stop the publication of a book about a "deep state" plot to undermine President Trump.
Sidney Blumenthal, who was an outside political adviser to Hillary Clinton, claimed investigative journalist Lee Smith's new book was defamatory and sent threatening letters to publisher Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, according to a Fox News source.
But the source said the publisher's legal team found the threat to be "meritless," and the book, The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History, was released on Tuesday.
As of Sunday, Blumenthal had not responded to the outlet's request for comment.
The book focuses on the "scandal" that began late July 2016 with the start of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign following a tip from an Australian diplomat about how Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos said the Russians had damaging information on Clinton.
Smith said the investigation, which was later wrapped into former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, was a "political operation designed to assist the Clinton campaign" during a Sunday appearance on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures.
"We talk a lot about the FBI and DOJ and we’re right to focus on the very bad, likely criminal things they did. But it’s important to remember that the primary beneficiary was the Clinton campaign," he said.
The origins of the Russia investigation are now under criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham.
Blumenthal worked with the Clinton Foundation and was an informal adviser to Clinton during her stint as secretary of state. Blumenthal has been a controversial figure, helping out with a “secret spy network” to give Clinton information on Libya.
The FBI used Blumenthal to corroborate the controversial dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele that was used to obtain warrants to electronically surveil Carter Page, a onetime member of Trump's 2016 campaign, former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said earlier this year.
“I have seen each factual assertion listed in that dossier, and then I’ve seen the FBI’s justification. And when you’re citing newspaper articles as corroboration for a factual assertion that you have made, you don’t need an FBI agent to go do a Google search,” Gowdy, who was a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a Fox News interview in May.
“And when the name Sidney Blumenthal is included as part of your corroboration, and you’re the world’s leading law enforcement agency, you have a problem,” Gowdy said. source