If the US presidential election were held today, it would be a dead heat according to a new poll.
‘TIS the season to leak emails.
Regardless of the outcome, the battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will no doubt go down as pretty much the strangest election contest in history.
Leaving aside media manipulation, coughing fits, conspiracy theories and cartoon frogs, arguably the most persistent and troublesome element of the campaign for the Democratic camp has been emails.
And it’s not just Clinton’s troubles with the FBI over her use of a private email server to handle sensitive information during her time as Secretary of State — an issue that has dogged her throughout the race.
So far there have been eight key batches of emails and leaks:
• Hillary Clinton emails — WikiLeaks
• Hillary Clinton emails — Judicial Watch
• Huma Abedin emails — Judicial Watch
• DNC emails round one — WikiLeaks
• State Department emails — Judicial Watch
• George Soros OSF documents — DCLeaks
• DNC emails round two — WikiLeaks
• Colin Powell emails — DCLeaks
Tens of thousands of emails from Clinton’s server, released by WikiLeaks, revealed damning details of the close relationship between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, which allegedly granted special access to donors.
At the same time, conservative legal group Judicial Watch has used freedom of information requests to obtain both Clinton’s State Department emails, recovered by the FBI, as well as emails from the State Department after Clinton’s tenure.
The group has also released a number of emails from Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, which revealed how Clinton was “often confused” and needed hand-holding in her daily schedule during her time in the role.
Meanwhile, in July WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, leading to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz along with three top execs after it emerged the supposedly impartial organisation was attempting to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
A second batch of hacked DNC emails was released by WikiLeaks just this week. Obtained by the anonymous Guccifer 2.0 hacker, the 678 megabytes of data detail internal reports on donors, many of whom received senior diplomatic or political positions.
If all that wasn’t confusing enough, a separate group called DCLeaks, which describes itself as a “project launched by American hacktivists” but remains shrouded in mystery, has been busily leaking damaging info of its own.
Earlier this year, it released a trove of documents from billionaire George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation. The group funds left-wing activist groups around the world including MoveOn.org, which organised violent protests at Trump rallies earlier this year, most notably in Chicago.
And this week, DCLeaks released hacked emails, first published by The Intercept, from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in which he uses colourful language to blast both Trump and the Clintons for attempting to scapegoat him over the email server scandal.
To make matters worse, experts have warned of a looming “October Surprise”, with up to 15,000 emails still to be released that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims will “bring down” Clinton.
While we all wait, here are some of the best emails so far:
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE
• “It might may no difference, but for [Kentucky] and [West Virginia] can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” — DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall on a plot to question Bernie Sanders’ religion, 5 May 2016
• “Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess. Specifically, [Debbie Wasserman Schultz] had to call Bernie directly in order to get the campaign to do things because they’d either ignored or forgotten to something critical.” — DNC national press secretary Mark Paustenbach discusses finding a media ‘angle’ to disparage Sanders, 21 May 2016
• “Reminder fabius at 3:30. Take a nap.” — Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton at 2:21pm ahead of a 3:30pm meeting with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, 11 January 2013
• “Very imp to do that. She’s often confused.” — Huma Abedin to co-worker Monica Hanley, urging her to “go over” her call with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, 26 January 2013
• “I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect. A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still dicking bimbos at home (according to the NYP).” — Colin Powell to friend and party donor Jeffrey Leeds, 26 July 2014
• “You really don’t want to get me into this. I haven’t been asked nor said a word about HRC and won’t unless you all start it.” — Colin Powell to Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, 7 March 2015
• “Been having fun with emailgate … Hillary’s Mafia keeps trying to suck me into it.” — Colin Powell to Beth Jones, 9 March 2015
• “On HD TV she doesn’t look good. She is working herself to death. After speaking at the UN and doing the crummy press conference she flew to SF to go to a paid gig for eBay and then went to Marc’s house to get ready for a money dinner for the Clinton Foundation. I was in Marc’s second house behind it and ducked her so we didn’t turn loose another email story by being seen together. She then flew back east the next morning. She will turn 70 her first year in office.” — Colin Powell to Jeffrey Leeds, 14 March 2015
• “Sheldon Whitehouse, who is a huge Clinton supporter, said they were both giving speeches at the same event a few months back and she could barely climb the podium steps.” — Jeffrey Leeds to Colin Powell, 14 March 2015
• “I think Hillary can’t believe she might not make it. It’s the one prize she wants. She has everything else. And she HATES that the President (‘that man,’ as the Clintons call him) kicked her ass in 2008. She can’t believe it or accept it.” — Jeffrey Leeds to Colin Powell, 14 March 2015
• “HRC may be in serious trouble. And she sounds terrible thing to spin. Worse every day.” — Jeffrey Leeds to Colin Powell, 18 August 2015
• “No one likes her and the criminal thing ain’t over. I don’t think the president would weep if she found herself in real legal trouble. She’ll pummel his legacy if she gets a chance and he knows it.” — Jeffrey Leeds to Colin Powell, 6 March 2016
• “They are going to dick up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine. As long as the stuff is unclassified. I had a secure State.gov machine. Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris. I told you about a gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t [charge] any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill.” — Colin Powell to Jeffrey Leeds, referring to Clinton’s massive speaking fees, 18 August 2015
• “Dumb. She should have done a ‘Full Monty’ at the beginning. She was using email when she took over. They put the personal system in the basement a few months later. The dinner was June 16th. She didn’t need any advice or OK from me; she was already doing it. I gave her written guidance on why and how I had been doing it. I warned her staff three times over the past two years not to try to connect it to me. I am not sure HRC even knew or understood what was going on in the basement.” — Colin Powell, referring to a dinner in 2009 at former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s house, 23 August 2016
• “Spent last week with Cheryl Mills and the HRC team burying the email flap. Madeleine also says she doesn’t remember the dinner conversation or launching such a conversation. Sad thing [is] that HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it. I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.” — Colin Powell to an unnamed confidant, 28 August 2016