Washington Diary By Arun Kumar follows the US presidential candidates
Uncle Sam’s spooks are in a fix. How to fix the daily cuppa of secret brew for the two aspiring occupants of the White House who call each other “nuts” “unfit” to be their new masters?
“Deny it” to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee found “extremely careless” by the FBI in handling classified material in her previous job, say the Republicans.
“Fake it,” for the loudmouth Donald Trump, the Republican standard bearer, suggested a top Democratic lawmaker.
The present tenant of the White House has “very positive” vibes for his former secretary of state despite her “mistakes” and “very negative” ones for the Manhattan mogul.
But he would let the spooks tell the presidential rivals and their running mates what they must under the law, said Barack Obama hoping that they would not spill the beans.
The spooks aren’t telling what they are cooking up for the “Mogul” and “Evergreen”, as the Secret Service calls the feuding duo, but spin masters of both hues are busy stirring up a pot-boiler.
As FBI probed WikiLeaks’ revelations about how the supposedly neutral Democratic National Committee (DNC) favoured Clinton over ‘ungodly’ Socialist Bernie Sanders, a DNC staffer turned up dead with a bullet in the back.
The murder most foul fuelled a conspiracy theory about a ‘hit job’ with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offering a $20,000 reward for finding the killer saying such things scared his sources.
Meanwhile, as the Democratic computer hack turned out to be much bigger, enveloping even Clinton’s presidential campaign, they were quick to blame it on “a Russian cyber attack”.
Clinton’s never-ending email saga got still longer with a new set of State Department emails obtained by Judicial Watch through a lawsuit revealing shady dealings between her aides and those of her husband Bill Clinton at their family Foundation.
“It’s called pay for play. If emails were never invented, would she be happy”, mocked Trump as emails showed long-time Hillary aides trying to get fat cat Foundation donors access to US diplomats.
Trump also went to town with another report that the Justice Department, which was quick to accept FBI’s recommendation not to charge Clinton over her emails, had denied the agency’s request to probe corruption at the Clinton Foundation.
Then, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump waded into hot water by repeating his charge that “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment” – the right to bear arms.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” he added ominously.
All hell broke loose with Clinton spin masters suggesting that Trump was inciting violence and “hinting at assassination of Hillary Clinton”.
The “dishonest” left-leaning media quickly took up the refrain with the New York Times saying Trump was taking the nation “further into the muck” with a kind of “Wink Wink” that got “Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassinated.”
Then a Republican controlled House task force came out with another damning report suggesting top military spooks had been skewing intelligence reports to paint a rosier picture of the fight against ISIS leading to “widespread dissatisfaction” among analysts.
Jumping on the report, Trump sent the media into a tizzy, calling Obama the “founder” of ISIS and Clinton its “co-founder”. Taking his “sarcastic, but not so sarcastic” comments literally, a horrified CNN kept reporting his “false claim” with “No, he’s not” in brackets.
Amid what Time magazine called a Trump “meltdown”, 75 officials of the disrupter mogul’s own Republican party including 50 National Security guys, asked party chief Reince Priebus to stop funding Trump’s campaign — as if he cared.
“To me that’s okay because I’ll stop fundraising for the party,” retorted the brash billionaire as the news magazine suggested Priebus had told the nominee he’d have been better off playing golf at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Instead Priebus was found campaigning with Trump in the battleground state of Pennsylvania and swallowing a bitter pill — “Low Energy” Jeb Bush’s son George P. Bush curiously endorsing his father’s tormentor.
With pundits painting it as a contest between a “clown” and a “crook,” another rank outsider offered American voters salvation — children’s books author Dr Seuss’ ‘The Cat in the Hat!’ who too has thrown his Lincolnian stovepipe hat into the ring.