Clinton had no choice but to run Blumenthal off the books because the Obama administration banned him. Then–White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — who in the 1990s nicknamed Blumenthal “G.K.” for “grassy knoll” — knew to keep the conspiracy-minded aide at arm’s length. It probably never occurred to him that Clinton would go to such lengths to keep her factotum on the team.
But what does it say about Clinton that she just can’t do without her pet? Part of the answer is that Blumenthal is a legendary sycophant. But the means of his sycophancy are more relevant. He serves as Clinton’s enabler: a rumor-mongering Wormtongue whispering confirmation of the vast right-wing conspiracy that the Nixonian Clinton sees everywhere. Even as a journalist, Blumenthal played this role. He urged the Clinton administration to craft a dossier on the conspiracy driving negative coverage of the Clintons, including in such right-wing rags as the Washington Post.
When Blumenthal finally landed a job in the Clinton White House, the most frequently told joke in Washington was about how he could finally collect his back pay. One of his chief tasks in the White House was to lie to reporters about the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the independent counsel’s investigation. He infamously claimed that a grand jury had interrogated him about private conversations with journalists. He made it up.