(New Yorker) If you were to map the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy — the networks of conservative donors, operatives, and journalists whom Hillary Clinton insisted were behind the efforts to bring down her husband’s Administration — you’d have to assign Chris Ruddy a position somewhere within it.
Ruddy, who in the nineties was an investigative journalist for the New York Post, wrote two books asking whether the death of the White House aide Vince Foster was an inside job. Ruddy has since become wealthy running Newsmax, a low-brow conservative news website and magazine. “Hillary Has Second Coughing Spell of Day During In-Flight Presser,” a recent headline on the site declared.
Despite his politics, Ruddy seems to have become personally close with Bill Clinton during the George W. Bush Administration. He has given more than a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, defended the Foundation on Newsmax last year, and blogged on the Foundation’s Web site in support of anti-malaria efforts in Africa. When Ruddy put Bill Clinton on the cover of his magazine, Clinton gave him an autographed copy, with the note, “I hope this doesn’t destroy your circulation.”
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All of this has put Ruddy in a strange position in American political life: he is, to use the language of the nineties, at once a certified Friend of Bill’s and a credentialled member of the Conspiracy.
The complexity of this position began to matter more this week, when Ruddy surfaced in the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails that were made public.