New e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s private server released late Monday night by the State Department reveal the increasingly nasty tone and tactics deployed by her shadow adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, with the close Clinton confidant blasting Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, savaging Republican leader John Boehner, and suggesting ways to impeach African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Though President Obama banned Clinton from bringing Blumenthal into her State Department coterie, the latest tranche of private e-mails from 2010 released Monday by the department illustrates the extent to which Clinton relied on Blumenthal for political and diplomatic advice. From the conflict in Northern Ireland to Israel to the U.S. midterm elections, Blumenthal was intimately involved in some of the most sensitive topics that crossed Clinton’s desk that year.
Many of Blumenthal’s missives, however, were decidedly insensitive. In what seems to be a theme in his communiqués to Clinton, he attacks the Obama White House for perceived diplomatic blunders. In one March 17, 2010, e-mail about Israeli settlement building, he targets President Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, for particular scorn.
#share#“Here’s one small but frank thing: Axelrod should not be a foreign policy spokesman on any issue or area,” Blumenthal wrote. “He has badly exacerbated this one. Many in the press feel he’s out of his lane and resent being lectured by him on foreign policy. . . . I’d make [then–deputy secretary of state James] Steinberg tell [then–national security adviser Tom] Donilon they need to rein in Axelrod. Axelrod has enough to do fixing the domestic messes he’s made.”
‘Axelrod should not be a foreign policy spokesman on any issue or area. . . . Axelrod has enough to do fixing the domestic messes he’s made.’
Blumenthal was an equal-opportunity offender, singling out Republican John Boehner — then still Republican minority leader — for scorching criticism. “Boehner is despised by the younger, more conservative members of the House Republican Conference,” he wrote in a post-midterm autopsy on November 2, 2010. “They are repelled by his personal behavior. He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle. . . . He is careworn and threadbare, banal and hollow, holding nobody’s enduring loyalty.”
“Thnx, as always, for your insights,” Clinton wrote back. “Needless to say, I’m so distressed over all of this.”
#related#Perhaps the strangest message from Blumenthal was a report, forwarded from Clinton attack dog and Media Matters head David Brock, titled “Memo on Impeaching Clarence Thomas.” The report detailed allegations of sexual impropriety with lawyer Anita Hill during the Supreme Court Justice’s time at the Department of Education — allegations that had not been discussed in any official capacity since his confirmation in 1991.
“Brock memo here, have many more ideas on this,” Blumenthal wrote in the subject line of the Clarence Thomas memo. Clinton did not reply to the e-mail.
— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter with National Review.