31 Oct 2016

FBI throws hand grenade into US election campaign

The FBI has thrown a hand grenade into the US election campaign and Donald Trump has wrapped it in a nuclear device, triggering terrifying scenes at his events.

“Lock her Up” is now Trump’s louder cry than “Vote Trump.” He’s calling Hillary Clinton a criminal, a crooked woman and much else. There are horrible resonances with more extreme political events in US history.

On Saturday night, footage of a man repeatedly screaming “Jew SA”, rather than “USA”, at a Trump rally was widely shared and seen across the country… a cry directing anti-Semitic abuse at the media. He has been admonished by the Republican candidate’s campaign manager – but the fact remains that it’s not the first such chant to emerge from such an event. Previously, his supporters were filmed shouting “Lugenpresse” at journalists – a Nazi-era term of abuse with means “lying press” in German.

Mrs Clinton has undoubtedly made some poor judgements over her use of email, but this is now being ruthlessly used by her political opponents to bash her and is now bringing a vital national institution, the FBI, into disrepute, as the Clinton campaign questions its leader’s political motivations.

The FBI Director’s letter to Congress stating that there is further work needed investigating Mrs Clinton’s email traffic specifies no new evidence, but it does bring focus on the people who have been closest to Hillary, including Huma Abedin and her sexting and now estranged husband.

This is a tender and explosive moment just over a week before the vote and in the midst of early voting in which some 20 million votes have already been cast.

Watch the American news channels and you see the anchors and reporters struggling to stay objective… but this contest has become so polarised, so vile in its language, that some are breaking ranks and calling Trump’s spade a spade.

This is the ugliest time in American politics since the language of the anti-communist witch-hunts of Senator McCarthy’s time. People here by and large want it over, so odious has it become. If this is the election campaign, imagine the inauguration and beyond.

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