Earlier this week Fox News hosted the “professional dirty trickster” who founded an anti-Hillary Clinton group with the acronym “C.U.N.T.” The day before, it was the attorney who pushed fabricated anti-Clinton stories in the 90s. Last month, it was the woman who has suggested the Clintons may have had her husband killed.
Fox has never had particularly high standards for who they put on air, and it appears there's no source too incredible for Fox to host as long as they are willing to smear the Clintons. And that list is long.
As Joe Conason and Gene Lyons detailed in their book The Hunting of the President, in the 1990s, an array of conservative operatives, right-wing journalists, and opportunists sought to drive the Clintons from the White House. Their backgrounds were often shady, their methods deceitful, and their claims fraudulent.
So who might be the next guest for a network with no standards and an urge to stop a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run? Some of these figures have gone on to extensive careers in the conservative media, while others haven't been in the public eye for decades.
But all have literally unbelievable stories to tell.
The Former FBI Agent Who Claimed Hillary Hung Crack Pipes On The White House Christmas Tree
Gary Aldrich is a former FBI agent who wrote a 1996 book about his time inside the White House during the first three years of the Clinton administration. CNN described the book, produced by a right-wing publisher and flacked by a Republican operative, as filled with “second-hand, unsubstantiated sexual rumors about and bitter attacks against President and Mrs. Clinton,” including ludicrous claims that President Clinton was regularly ditching his Secret Service detail for trysts at a downtown hotel (Aldrich later said that allegation was a “hypothetical”). Aldrich also wrote that on “orders from the First Lady's Office,” the White House Christmas tree was decorated with crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia as well as sex toys and condoms (unsurprisingly, the White House denied the charge).
Aldrich used the notoriety from his book to become a professional conservative. He founded the right-wing Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty in 1997 to support federal whistleblowers (Linda Tripp was among the organization's first clients), but the bulk of the group's spending soon focused on raising money and paying Aldrich's salary. The group was largely silent during the Bush administration, but re-emerged to support tea party groups in 2010. Aldrich has written op-eds for TownHall and the Daily Caller.
The Man Who Says He Was The Clintons' Personal Assassin
Larry Nichols spent years at the heart of the conservative campaign to smear President Clinton. A former jingle writer who became a marketing consultant for the State of Arkansas, he was fired from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority in 1988 for making hundreds of phone calls to Nicaragua contra leaders and their American political supporters on the taxpayer's dime, and apparently held a grudge. Shortly before Bill Clinton's 1990 re-election as governor of Arkansas, Nichols held a press conference announcing he was suing Clinton for allegedly using state funds to conduct affairs with five women. All five women subsequently signed affidavits denying the claims and threatened to sue Nichols, who later issued a statement saying he had wrongfully issued the accusations because he was mad about being fired. But the incident nonetheless ushered in the right-wing focus on Bill Clinton's sex life.
Nichols, who described himself as “smut central” in a 1998 interview, spent years tracking down sketchy rumors about women who had had affairs with the president and trying to peddle them to everyone from supermarket tabloids to major newspapers. Last year, he offered a new explanation for why he had spent years trying to destroy the Clintons -- he claimed to have “beat up women and beat up husbands to protect the Clintons” and even “killed people” for them for money until they turned on him and he had to defend himself.
The Litigious Conspiracy Theorist
As ABC News notes, lawyer Larry Klayman “may be best known for filing numerous lawsuits against the Clinton Administration during the 1990s.” (Klayman is often pointed to as the inspiration for the litigious character “Larry Claypool” on West Wing.) Among his many smears of the Clintons, according to The Week, Klayman has argued “the Clintons orchestrated the murders of several of their associates in the 1990s, a prime reason he has argued Hillary is unfit to be president.” Klayman once suggested in a column for conspiracy website WND - where he serves as a regular columnist - that Obama didn't pick Hillary Clinton as his vice president over concerns Hillary would kill him and usurp the presidency (which is why, in Klayman's estimation, Clinton was hoping to prove Obama was really “born in Kenya”).
Speaking of Obama, Klayman has been trying unsuccessfully to start a “second American Revolution” to oust the current president from office. Why does Klayman want Obama out of office? The list of outrageous things he's said about the president could fill this entire article. He thinks the president's birth certificate is a “fraud”; that Obama is a “Muslim” who is “as much a threat to Jews and Christians as is Hamas”; and that America “has been hijacked by Islam and our president is the leader of this Muslim revolution.” At an October 2013 event in Washington, Klayman called on the crowd to “demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out.”
The Creator Of An Anti-Clinton “Bizarre And Unsubstantiated Documentary”
Pat Matrisciana runs Jeremiah Films, which produced a series of anti-Clinton videos including the 1994 film “The Clinton Chronicles.” Described by The Washington Post as a “bizarre and unsubstantiated documentary” and by The New York Times as “a hodgepodge of sometimes-crazed charges that are thrown off with an air of knowingness but little documentation,” the video was narrated by Nichols, and financed and heavily promoted by conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell. It accuses Bill Clinton of committing treason with the Soviet Union, being behind the supposed murder of White House aide Vince Foster (and perhaps many more Clinton political foes who allegedly died under suspicious circumstances), and protecting an Arkansas-based drug smuggling operation and laundering drug money as governor. As Lyons and Conason note, while many of the film's claims are so ridiculous as to defy examination, “every allegation that could be checked was phony.”
The Ex-Congressman Who Thinks The Clintons May Have Killed 70 People
John LeBoutillier, a former Republican congressman who is employed by Fox News as a contributor, has a long history of pushing absurd conspiracies, particularly about the Clintons. In the 2000s he attempted to co-found a Counter Clinton Library, a “permanent facility that will forever counter the lies and distortions certain to come from the Clinton Liebrary” that he said would serve as “the headquarters of the Stop Hillary Now campaign.” During a 2004 Daily Show segment mocking the proposal, LeBoutillier told then- Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry: “Some people believe that the Clintons have had up to 70 people whacked over the years.”
In 2001, following the disappearance of Federal Bureau of Prisons intern Chandra Levy, LeBoutillier published a series of columns for conservative site Newsmax pinning blame for her disappearance on then-Democratic Representative Gary Condit. (Condit was later cleared by investigators of any involvement in her death.) One column alleged that on Condit's orders, Levy was killed by a leather-wearing black prostitute from the Caribbean whom the congressman had previously patronized.
He was hired by Fox News in 2011.
The Notorious Liar Who Was Paid To Claim A “12-Year Affair” With Bill Clinton
In 1992, cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers ignited a media firestorm during the presidential campaign when she told the supermarket tabloid The Star she had a 12-year affair with Bill Clinton. She later acknowledged that The Star paid her $150,000 for the story; she says she received a total of $500,000 from various outlets. Flowers produced no evidence for the extensive relationship. As Conason and Lyons detail, Flowers, who repeatedly sought an Arkansas state job from Clinton, was not a credible accuser -- club owners who worked with her described her as manipulative and dishonest and indeed she lied about the place her supposed affair with Clinton began, about her education, about her career as an entertainer, about having been kidnapped, and about having a twin sister. Clinton eventually acknowledged having “sexual relations” with her on a single occasion in 1977.
Flowers later attempted to resume her career in the arts, which she has repeatedly attempted to bolster by offering claims about the Clintons. In a 2012 interview, she claimed that Bill Clinton had called her in 2005 and asked to “come by my house and talk to me” -- and that she “had a possible new TV pilot on the way.” She repeated that claim in a 2013 interview, adding that “Bill and I would be together today if it wasn't for politics” and alleging that he had once told her that Hillary Clinton was bisexual.
The Producer Of The Willie Horton Ad
Floyd Brown, one of the producers of the infamous “Willie Horton” ad during the 1988 presidential election, spent most of the 90s crusading against the Clintons. According to his bio on Western Journalism Center -- the odious conspiracy website which he heads -- under Brown's leadership in the 90s, conservative group Citizens United (which he co-founded) “launched the movement that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.”
While his hatred of the Clintons animated his work during the 1990s, during the Obama era, Brown has smoothly transitioned his brand of smear-mongering to the current president. Prior to the 2008 election, Brown sought to discredit Obama as weak on crime and terrorism, releasing an ad claiming Obama “was enrolled in school as a Muslim while living in Indonesia.” Brown, like a few others on this list, is convinced the current president “is a Muslim” that “hates Christianity” and has a "forged" birth certificate.
He recently joined the board of a super PAC with fellow conspiracy theorists Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi from WND.
The Right-Wing Investigator Too Unethical For Newt Gingrich
While there is no shortage of people on the right who have forged lucrative careers in politics and media solely based on their willingness to forward absurd smears of the Clintons, Republican activist David Bossie's lack of standards has actually landed him in hot water. In 1998, Bossie was criticized by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and ousted as chief investigator for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform after he was involved in leaking selectively edited transcripts of former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell's prison conversations, excluding comments by Hubbell explaining that Hillary had done nothing wrong.
Leaking faulty information to the press during the Clinton years was one of Bossie's defining traits during the Clinton years -- as Democratic stategist James Carville put it, “He made collective fools out of about 80 percent of the national press corps.” Bossie and fellow listmate Floyd Brown's tactics were so shady during the 1992 presidential campaign that George H.W. Bush filed an FEC complaint against their group to distance his campaign from their sleaze.
Since 2001, Bossie has been president of Citizens United, the conservative group that regularly releases shoddy “documentaries” smearing Democrats and progressives. Bossie has been on Fox News as recently as last month, so his presence on the network during a potential Clinton run is all but inevitable.
The Former Newsweek Editor Turned Clownish Fabulist
Former Newsweek and New York Times Magazine editor Ed Klein has spent much of the past decade publishing gossipy, error-laden books about Democratic politicians. His 2005 book about Hillary Clinton, The Truth About Hillary, was so odious it earned heavy condemnations from conservative writers like NY Post columnist John Podhoretz, who labeled it “one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through.” Klein earned that distinction by, among other things, suggesting that Hillary is a secret lesbian and that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill raped Hillary (to say nothing of the numerous lazy factual errors in the book).
His next political book was a painfully embarrassing 2010 “satirical” novel co-authored with fellow list-mate John LeBoutillier. The book rehashed countless outlandish conspiracy theories about President Obama and featured the president's foreskin as a central plot device. In 2012, Klein was heavily promoted by conservative outlets for a thinly-sourced, factually-deficient (a common theme in his work) book about President Obama called The Amateur. While Donald Trump felt that it was “the best book I've read on how Barack Obama is wrecking our country,” NY Times book reviewer Janet Maslin labeled it the product of “an inept, arrogant ideologue who maintains an absurdly high opinion of his own talents even as he blatantly fails to achieve his goals.”
The Lawyer Turned Benghazi Hoaxster
Victoria Toensing and her husband Joseph diGenova (who appeared on Fox Tuesday night) are Republican legal partners who specialize in congressional investigations. During the late 90s they were quoted or appeared on television to castigate President Clinton hundreds of times during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, leading to Rep Bill Clay (D-MO) to criticize them for “relentless self-promotion and non-stop mugging” that made them “so closely aligned with the President's critics and so personally identified with the scandal itself as to have relinquished the air of impartiality, non-partisanship, and professionalism.” They also represented Republicans under investigation and served as outside counsel for Republican congressional investigations.
More recently, Toensing has made several appearances on Fox News to promote falsehoods and conspiracies related to the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. She represents Gregory Hicks, a State Department official who has alleged that a team in Tripoli that wanted to respond to the attacks was ordered to “stand down” (numerous investigations and testimony from several military officers including the one who was supposedly given the “stand down” order have confirmed that no such order was ever given").