Clinton family ally Sidney Blumenthal said a new book telling of a “deep state” plot to undermine President Trump contained “factual errors” about him and that he asked the publisher to correct them.
An Oct. 25 Fox News report cited a source who said Blumenthal sent “threatening letters” to investigative journalist Lee Smith and his publisher Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, in an effort to stop the publication of Smith’s book because he viewed it as defamatory.
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.
Fox News reported they had reached out to Blumenthal for comment but that he had not yet replied. A follow-up report published Sunday, based on an interview Smith did on Sunday Morning Futures, also said he had not responded yet.
Blumenthal told the Washington Examiner on Monday that this is untrue and that he replied to a producer of The Ingraham Angle. “I have requested that certain falsehoods about me be corrected and not circulated or aired,” he said he wrote to Fox News.
Blumenthal also said he communicated with the publisher about the book, which he described as “false and defamatory.”
“I called to the attention of Mr. Smith’s publisher his factual errors and requested that they be corrected. Rather than correct his falsehoods, he is now attempting to promote his book by recklessly disregarding the truth,” he said.
Center Street did not return a 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.
The book alleges that Democratic operatives were involved with 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. The dossier, which contains unverified claims that the Russians had dirt on Trump, was commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS and was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee via the Perkins Coie law firm.
Lee has not publicly commented on any legal threats made in regard to his book, but he did tell Fox News, “People in the Clinton world are keen for this book not to come out.”
Former South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy has said he has seen evidence showing Blumenthal, who worked with the Clinton Foundation and was an informal adviser to Clinton during her stint as secretary of state, was used by the FBI to corroborate the dossier.
“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.
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