Former Clinton administration press secretary Mike McCurry is quietly waging a campaign to quash coverage on a new tell-all book that exposes Bill and Hillary Clinton’s massive political empire.
McCurry has successfully blocked Politico media reporter Dylan Byers from writing about the bestselling Clinton, Inc., written by Weekly Standard editor Daniel Halper, according to emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
McCurry, who spoke to Halper, now claims that he "only vaguely remembers" the interview. In the emails, McCurry tells Byers to abandon an article about the book.
Byers reached out to Halper on July 25 to say that he "got a call from Mike McCurry," who expressed anger over the book and denied being a source for it.
"I got a call from Mike McCurry who says he only vaguely remembers talking to you briefly for the book, and pretty much slams it …," Byers wrote to Halper.
"I'm not into buying [Hillary Clinton spokesman] Nick Merrill-type quotes shitting on your book but I do think when someone you list as a source comes forward and says this, its relevant," Byers wrote. "Would you like to comment?"
When asked by Halper if McCurry had actually read the book, Byers responded: "I'm not certain. I know he's read the parts where his name is mentioned."
Halper then asked Byers what specific charges by McCurry he should be responding to.
A) That he hardly remembers talking to you, suggesting that reports that he cooperated with you for the book (see Lloyd Grove) are overstated
B) That you did not write the book he advised you to write, but instead wrote an attack on Clinton
C) That it's not a book that deserves to be re-reported by other news orgs
Halper addressed the charge by hinting that McCurry may now be facing backlash within the Clinton organization for opening up in the book.
"Mike is proving one of the main points of my book: If you cross Clinton, Inc., and if you're seen as betraying the company, then you pay a price," Halper wrote. "I'm sorry if Mike's paying a price for talking to me. I wish him well."
"Got it," Byers responded.
However, Byers has yet to run a piece on McCurry’s role in Clinton, Inc.
Asked on Monday by Halper if an article had yet to be published, Byers responded: "No … not sure it will."
McCurry is traveling and could not be reached for comment. Byers did not respond to a request for comment.
Team Clinton has long used its relationships with top reporters to suppress all negative coverage, according to Halper’s book.
"The Clintons have worked hard to build relationships with key media outlets, especially since their defeat in 2008, and have often been hugely successful," Halper writes in Clinton, Inc.
"George Stephanopoulos, who has been known to hold daily calls with Clinton aides, is stationed at ABC, where Donna Brazile is now a regular. (While Stephanopoulos has been ostracized, and his relationship with the Clintons is complicated, recent appearances by President Clinton on the show indicate a kind of cooling.)
"Virginia Moseley, whose husband (Tom Nides) was a top State Department official under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is at CNN, where Paul Begala seems to be back," Halper continues. "At Fox, there’s Doug Schoen and James Carville, who just signed on as a contributor. And of course Chelsea’s still under contract at NBC."
Halper concludes: "Practically all big network and cable television stations have Clinton cronies waiting in the wings. That doesn’t mean the channels will never air a negative Clinton story—but it does suggest that there will be a higher bar to air hurtful segments about Hillary Clinton than for probably any other potential candidate in the next race."
Clinton spokesman Merrill has publicly issued a decree for reporters to not mention Halper’s book, as well as others that reflect poorly on the Clintons, particularly Hillary.
Writers should not be "allowed" to pen books that portray the Clintons in a less than favorable light, Merrill told the Washington Examiner last week.
A peculiar early leak of Halper’s book also points to efforts by Clinton loyalists to derail any negative coverage.
An entire PDF of Halper’s 317-page book was leaked to reporters well before the official release, prompting speculation that the "strange leak," as the Daily Beast put it, was an attempt to muddle publisher HarperCollins’ press strategy.