The plot to 'gut' Hillary Clinton: dark arts and cheap journalism

Murder, drug trafficking, lesbianism, an undisclosed brain tumour – can any of this really stick?

Column LAST UPDATED AT 13:17 ON Wed 5 Mar 2014
Charles Laurence

HERE we go. The guns of the Republicans’ ‘dark arts’ department are sounding in the opening barrage against Hillary Clinton’s still-to-be-launched 2016 presidential campaign.

This week’s National Enquirer, the supermarket tabloid, announces that a cabal of right-wing plutocrats has assembled a war chest of $500 million to “gut Hillary” at any price.

They are said to be paying snoops to dig up dirt so dirty that Hillary will back down before she even throws her hat in the ring.

Here’s a teaser, already available as a campaign button and bumper sticker: 'Ready Hillary for Prison 2016', and '2016 Hillary for President: Prison or POTUS?'

So far, it seems, the snoops are having trouble scooping fresh poop from soil so ardently sifted since 1992 when Bill Clinton first ran for the White House.

This is all the Enquirer can report: “Sources say operatives are digging up details on at least eight Hillary 'secrets'! They will also try to use a variety of evidence to rip the covers off Hill­ary’s torrid love affairs with both men and women, according to in­siders.”

This is cheap journalism: if you have not got the goods yourself, you report that others are looking for them.

But the Enquirer goes on to list the eight 'secrets' being probed. They are not new.

#1 to #3 concern the first Clinton White House scandal, 'Travelgate', which involved alleged shenanigans at the White House travel office and the mysterious death by shooting of Clinton lawyer Vince Foster.

#4 is Hillary’s alleged lesbian peccadillos. Have the snoops found a witness to a “steamy embrace” in the West Wing?

#5 re-introduces the affair of the blow-job administered to Bill Clinton by intern Monica Lewinsky, suggesting that Hillary masterminded a campaign to smear Lewinsky and her family, had a “revenge” tryst herself, and called the intern a “narcissistic loony toon”.

#6 goes all the way back to one of the more splendid Clinton smears, claiming that when Bill was Governor of Arkansas in the 1980s both he and Hillary were mixed up with a cocaine cartel which landed drugs at a rural airport, and murdered people.

#7 resurrects the story that Hillary tried to talk to the spirit of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. No kidding.

#8 is a “shocking medical secret”, or rather a spin - without evidence so far – on Hillary's fainting spell in December 2012, which left her concussed and raised questions about her fitness at age 66 to run for the presidency. The 'dark arts' plan is to spread rumours that she has an undisclosed brain tumour. Given the Clintons' proven resilience to scandal, this seems a bit like trying to sink a battleship with a pea-shooter.

One of these eight 'secrets' just might have legs, however, particularly for a new generation of voters too young to have paid attention in the 1990s. The sad death of Vince Foster, Arkansas lawyer, old friend of the Clintons and rumoured one-time lover of Hillary’s, has never been fully explained.

He was found dead in a Washington park after apparently shooting himself in the head. Was he murdered? No fingerprints were found on the nearby gun, and no bullet was recovered, suggesting he had been dumped in the park after dying elsewhere. If it was suicide, why? If he was murdered, was it at the behest of the Clintons? If so,why?

The snoops of the dark arts are now said to be tracking, or even to have scored, two crucial letters “missing” from Foster's White House office safe after his death. One, contents unknown, was to the then Attorney General, Janet Reno.

Foster was said to have been depressed to find himself fending off the barrage of allegations hurled at the Clintons, with the inference that he knew them to be true. Does that explain suicide? The favoured spin from the 'Clinton-haters' has always been that Foster knew too much, and had to be got rid of.

The only named source in the Enquirer’s article is Marinka Peschmann, a ghost-writer who had a bestseller with the Hollywood producer Robert Evans’s memoir The Kid Stays in the Picture, later turned into a movie.

Peschmann is now a “freelance investigative journalist” who has written two anti-Hillary books, The Whistleblower: How the Clinton White House Stayed in Power to Reemerge in the Obama White House and on the World Stage (punchy titles aren't her strong point) and Following Orders: The Death of Vince Foster, Clinton White House Lawyer. It is on Peschmann's website that the 'Ready Hillary for Prison' buttons and bumper stickers are for sale.

The Enquirer uses material from Peschmann's books alleging that the Reno letter would be a “smoking gun” that proves that Hillary, without proper authority, ordered the 1993 FBI/ATF raid on the Branch Davidian religious cult at Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 74 men, women and children.

Peschmann allegedly told The Enquirer:"The orders to raid Waco were from Hillary, but Janet Reno took the fall, and Vince Foster was devastated by what happened. I’m sure those doc­uments were destroyed. [But] if copies were to emerge today, they could de­stroy Hillary.”

Peschmann used her website yesterday both to promote her books and to distance herself from the 'Plot to Destroy Hillary'. However, she wrote: "I hope [the plot] is true because I could use some back-up getting the info on Hillary out that is documented in my books…The fact is no dirty tricks are required when it comes to Hillary - the truth is damaging enough.”

Hmmm… As 2016 looms, Peschmann might like to research the case of David Brock.

Brock was the star investigator of the ‘Clinton-haters’ and as a ‘journalist’ he notched up a formidable string of scoops just when Clinton scandals were among the hottest stories on earth.

He broke the Whitewater story and his cover article for yhe American Spectator, His Cheating Heart, triumphantly introduced Bill Clinton the serial adulterer. The magazine’s circulation rose from 70,000 to over 300,000.

But in July, 1997, Brock wrote an article for the magazine Esquire, headlined Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man, in which he recanted much of what he had written previously, criticised his own “reporting methods” and admitted that he had been part of the right-wing plot, the Arkansas Project, to bring down the Clintons.

In a second article for Esquire, he offered a formal apology to the Clintons. He has since written two books detailing the media manipulations and falsehoods of the campaign he spearheaded.

The Enquirer, in its own way, is fun and sometimes even right. Even if its story of a plot against Hillary was dreamed up in a bar, there is certain to be a well-funded campaign to smear her. But why should we believe a word from Peschmann or any other of Brock’s “right wing road warriors” sure to cash in on 2016? · 

Disqus - noscript

What "Whitewater Story"? Millions spent on Congressional enquiries & probing resulting precisely SFA. The Clintons were an unsavoury pair but compared to those that came afterwards they were Pyramus & Thisbe.

I’m the investigative journalist Charles Laurence recently hammered in his article The plot to ‘gut’ Hillary Clinton: dark arts and cheap journalism. He was addressing a National Enquirer story that claimed there is a secret right-wing cabal that is plotting to spend $500 million to destroy Hillary Clinton’s quest to become president. The Enquirer asserted I was Secret #1 and Secret #2 out of 8 shocking secrets.

I didn't write the Enquirer article, I was just quoted in it. Just the same Mr. Laurence lumped me in with the rest of the co-conspirators in the alleged cabal. Mr. Laurence’s article also attacked me personally as well as the Enquirer. In this reply, I’ll focus on some facts to show how inaccurate and wrong Mr. Laurence is—about me and about Hillary Clinton. The Enquirer can decide for itself whether to respond.

For starters, Mr. Laurence states that the Enquirer engages in “cheap” journalism. Yet he inaccurately portrays me as a cohort of former right-wing hitman David Brock who “broke the Whitewater story” and “triumphantly introduced Bill Clinton the serial adulterer.” Having cast aspersions on my professional reputation, Mr. Laurence asks readers, “But why should we believe a word from Peschmann or any other of Brock’s “right wing road warriors” sure to cash in on 2016?”

Where do I begin? First, it is totally inaccurate of Mr. Laurence to portray me as a pawn or cohort of Mr. Brock. Do I have a relationship to Mr. Brock? No. I have never met or spoken to him. Neither am I working with any highly funded right-wing group. Indeed, I work as an independent journalist, not employed by any group. Some time ago, Brock jumped from the “right” to the “left” where he now collects a salary from the well funded Media Matters, an organization interestingly started by the subject of the Enquirer article, Hillary Clinton.

Had Lawrence contacted me to comment, as is typical practice for journalists, I could have saved him the embarrassment of such sloppy inaccuracies and far-out assertions.

Mr. Laurence could learn a thing or two about investigative journalism from the Enquirer (whom he is so quick to deride) since one of the writers of the article at least had the temerity to call me and ask some pointed questions, for which I gave direct and provable answers based on over a decade of interviews and research.

Am I cashing in as Mr. Laurence contends? Well, unlike David Brock, whose organization is funded by billionaire fans of Hillary Clinton like George Soros, I pull no salary from my journalism. Getting a book out and published on the Clinton White House was tough stuff, a long and arduous journey. The Clintons don’t like it when you write accurately about them. There were publishers who refused to read my book proposals or review the evidence I had compiled. Sound farfetched? Au contraire. The public, was finally, thankfully, able to witness (again) how hard it is to report the truth about the Clintons during Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential bid.

Remember when Politico reported, Clinton Campaign kills negative story? GQ Magazine was instructed to kill the piece they were writing on the infighting in Hillary’s campaign or lose access to Bill Clinton for their “Man of the Year” December issue. GQ Magazine caved and spiked the story. That was not the first time the public could see in real-time the hardball tag-team media control, the Clintons wield to keep the truth from the public.

Mr. Laurence can also verify this with journalist and author Michael Isikoff. Newsweek killed one of his stories too. A really big one that changed the course of history after the Drudge Report dared to do what the mainstream press would not do and published an “anti” Clinton story that led to that impeachment thing.

Wow. Newsweek really blew it when they protected the Clintons. As Marlon Brando said in one of the most famous scenes in film history in that movie classic, On the Waterfront, “I could have been a contender.”

Instead of being silenced or succumbing to censorship (which was a lucrative option … where is the $500 million right-wing cabal when you need them?) I did my books myself, which I alone painstakingly researched, sourced and wrote. Mr. Laurence suggests mercenary intent because I “promote” my books and sell Hillary 2016 campaign—Prison or POTUS? merchandise on my website (marinkapeschmann.com) as a public service to alert people to look at Hillary’s suppressed record of dodging criminal indictments instead of believing the fantastical spin her well-paid handlers pump out. Yes, I do promote my books. Most authors do.

Concerned about self-promotion for profit, Mr. Laurence might notice he makes an exception for himself at his website (charleslaurence.com) where he promotes his book, The Social Agent. He makes another exception, too, for Hillary Clinton. Clinton received “a near record advance of about $8 million dollars” from Simon & Schuster for Living History, a book which Hillary did not write herself butreportedly paid three ghostwriters to prepare, start to finish.

So, I don’t publish for money or enjoy a cabal’s support. I’m just willing to ask questions no one wants to ask. Report information others are evidentially to afraid to touch. This makes people vested in the status quo uncomfortable. My Clinton books, The Whistleblower: How the Clinton White House Stayed in Power to Reemerge in the Obama White House and World Stage and also Following Orders, Death of Vince Foster, Clinton White House are based on a over a decade of research and interviews. I have nothing against Hillary Clinton personally, but facts compel me to report an accurate account of the Clintons record. The public has a right to know.

Yet, Mr. Laurence with his vaporous research erroneously wrote: “The Enquirer uses material from Peschmann's books alleging that the Reno letter would be a “smoking gun” that proves that Hillary, without proper authority, ordered the 1993 FBI/ATF raid on the Branch Davidian religious cult at Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 74 men, women and children.”

If he had bothered to read either of my Clinton books, he would know what he wrote was inaccurate. For future vetting and reference my website also links to over 400 source items for my book, The Whistleblower, in the endnote section.

Mr. Laurence wrote that “Peschmann used her website yesterday both to promote her books and to distance herself from the 'Plot to Destroy Hillary'.” All I did is what most professional journalists do. After the National Enquirer’s “world exclusive” article came out, I published clarifying facts with documentation. I have no direct knowledge of this alleged anti-Hillary $500 million plot. I hope it is true. There’s no scandal in that, unless you want facts suppressed, which is the case if you defend Hillary Clinton.

Was I trying to distance myself from the Enquirer? The Enquirer wrote, “Peschmann also believes that Foster’s death triggered a massive cover-up by the Clinton administration and declared: “Hillary should not be in the White House. She should be in jail.”

Why would I distance myself from that? I have concluded that Hillary Clinton should be in jail. My conclusion is supported by the Congressional record and multiple congressionally funded Office of Independent Counsel investigations, which detailed unprosecuted crimes during the Clinton White House era. I’ve also had extensive access with the person who was “officially” determined to have been the last person to have seen Vince Foster alive—she served in Hillary’s White House counsel’s office.

Examples abound to support my conclusion and my quote. I’ll offer one here, as reported in my bookFollowing Orders: Death of Vince Foster, Clinton White House Lawyer.

“The Senate Whitewater Committee called [the Vince Foster investigation] a ‘sham.’ The Committee found that [Hillary's] counsel’s office, government lawyers, ‘who were supposed to protect public interest in a proper investigation and faithful execution of the laws, instead interfered and obstructed various federal investigations. Unquestionably, the Department of Justice and Park Police were authorized to conduct this investigation, and White House officials owed them a duty to cooperate. Instead, law enforcement officials were confronted at every turn with concerted efforts to deny them access to evidence in Mr. Foster’s office. The committee concluded: “The actions of these senior White House officials constitute a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct,” or as it would be called for everyday Americans, obstruction of justice.”

A highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct is another term for obstruction of justice. Attempting to lead a government investigation astray is a crime. Neither Hillary nor any of her staff were held accountable. This is only one example of many where Hillary Clinton has escaped prosecution.

What America needs is an honest prosecutor, judiciary, and attorney general, who adherers to the rule of law—and does not succumb to the court of public opinion influenced by biased journalists who report left versus right as opposed to right versus wrong, to promote corrupt public figures like Hillary Clinton.

I intend to continue to study the facts, not the media persona or spin, and to write what is true and accurate. Mr. Laurence may find my doggedness a liability; I find his relationship to facts sadly wanting—but all too common. I wish him luck defending the indefensible Hillary Clinton as she moves into the 2016 election cycle.

I would, however, like to thank The Week’s editors for allowing me speak on behalf of my journalistic integrity. As for the content of my work, I hope they will publish an excerpt from the prologue of my book, Following Orders, permitting readers to decide who is credible and who is not.

Regarding the National Enquirer they, too, may well provide proof that an alleged deep-pocketed anti-Clinton cabal exists, as they eventually did when former Democrat presidential contender John Edwards was heading into a primary. I hope the Enquirer's editors will be as gracious as The Weeklyhas been in allowing me to address their readership directly.

Even if the anti-Hillary cabal identified by the Enquirer does exist, I don't think Hillary and crew are that concerned...they may already be a day late and a billion dollars or so short. I’ve been hearing that the super PAC seeking Hillary’s nomination is expected to start the campaign with about a billion-seven in their war chest. If so, that $500 million cabal will just be a speed bump on Hillary’s path to POTUS. If so I hope the cabal has a little extra space in their decommissioned missile silo escape site. I may need an eight-year or more vacation. All I can say to the alleged anti-Hillary cabal is to please call me … soon.

--- Marinka Peschmann