Sidney Blumenthal is like the Zelig of the presidential debates. In the first debate on September 26, Trump mentioned Blumenthal’s name three times, and was actually scolded by moderator Lester Holt for avoiding a question about racial healing with a reference to Blumenthal. And during tonight’s debate, Trump brought up Blumenthal again, claiming that he had been the one responsible for sending pictures of then-candidate Obama dressed in Muslim garb, raising questions about his place of birth.
So just who is Blumenthal? He is a journalist and former Bill Clinton campaign aide who still advises Hillary Clinton. During the impeachment saga in 1998, he was called to the grand jury by independent counsel Kenneth Starr to testify on what Bill Clinton had told him about Monica Lewinsky. He helped Hillary during her 2008 presidential campaign but due to his role in spreading negative stories about Obama in the primary, he was barred from working at the State Department when she became Secretary of State. Though he was in private practice, she did rely on his counsel. Of the thousands of emails recently released by the State Department, there are hundreds of messages from him to the candidate, many of which she forwarded to her aides.