FBI bombshell, or storm in a teacup?

Or is it an entirely inappropriate intervention in the political process by a public official?


At the end of the working week we were cruising to a perhaps anticlimactic finish to the presidential campaign when a letter from FBI Director James B. Comey advised Congress that the agency would once again be examining emails related to Clinton’s time as secretary of state. He said:

    the FBI would take “appropriate investigative steps” to determine whether the newly discovered emails contain classified information and to assess whether they are relevant to the Clinton server probe.

More than 1000 emails were found on a computer used by Anthony Weiner and his now estranged wife Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide. Weiner, a former Congressman who resigned in 2011 when the first of what would become multiple sexting scandals were made public, was being investigated by the FBI over illicit text messages he sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.

Here’s The New York Times and The Washington Post. The BBC’s coverage is useful in that it has links to other commentary.

Trump’s view was predictable. Hillary was guilty and should go to jail. The Clinton campaign was naturally upset, to say the least. They emphasised that Comey should “immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining” and were confident nothing new would come up.

John Kass, award-winning columnist in the Chicago Tribune, demanded that the Democrats should ask Hillary Clinton to step aside. He thinks that “having Clinton anywhere near the White House is just not a good idea” and the Clinton’s have only themselves to blame. Vice-presidential nominee, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, should stand in her place.

The Washington Post
takes a different editorial line in The damage Comey’s bad timing could do.

They say that, as they have previously argued, Clinton’s email affair has been greatly overblown.

    According to the previous FBI review, the small amount of classified material that moved through Ms. Clinton’s private server was not clearly marked as such, and no harm to national security has been demonstrated.

    The FBI conducted a thorough investigation for any prosecutable offenses, especially any involving the transmission of classified information. Mr. Comey rightly recommended against bringing charges; he told his staff that the decision was “not a cliff-hanger.” In deference to the reality that the target of the inquiry was a major-party nominee for president, he gave the public a summary of the facts and law behind his decision.

However, they believe that back in July Comey went too far in providing raw FBI material to Congress. Now he faced a dilemma:

    If Mr. Comey failed to tell Congress before Nov. 8 about his decision to review them, he would be accused — again — of a politically motivated coverup. By revealing it, he inevitably creates a cloud of suspicion over Ms. Clinton that, if the case’s history is any guide, is unwarranted. Hence Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s not unreasonable demand that Mr. Comey “immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining.”

Problem is, I think, that the chances of FBI completing a review of the emails in the next five working days are about zero.

Matthew Miller, director of the Justice Department’s public affairs office from 2009 to 2011, argued back in July that when Comey stepped to the lectern to deliver his remarks about Hillary Clinton:

    he violated time-honored Justice Department practices for how such matters are to be handled, set a dangerous precedent for future investigations and committed a gross abuse of his own power. (Emphasis added)

It is important, Miller says, that investigators and prosecutors are not the arbiters of guilt or wrongdoing. That is the role of the courts. Where charges are not laid it is important that investigators do not besmirch the reputations of the subjects of their investigations. These are long-standing guidelines in the Justice Department and the FBI. Comey chose to ignore long-standing guidelines, essentially leaving Clinton guilty, unless she proved her innocence, in a context where he said there was no legal basis to bring charges.

Transparency was chosen over fairness. Miller says:

    Imagine a situation in which the Obama Justice Department investigates major conservative activists such as the Koch brothers for possibly violating the law, but finding no reason to bring charges, the attorney general holds a news conference to outline all of the ways in which she finds their conduct deplorable. A Republican attorney general declining to bring charges against union officials but publicly excoriating their behavior would be similarly objectionable.

    While Clinton shouldn’t have received special treatment, she does not deserve worse treatment from her government than anyone else, either. Yet by inserting himself into the middle of a political campaign and making unprecedented public assertions, that is exactly what Comey provided.

    The entire exercise seemed designed to protect Comey’s reputation for integrity, while not actually demonstrating integrity. Real integrity is making a decision, conveying it in the ordinary channels, and then taking whatever heat comes. Generations of prosecutors and agents have learned to make the right call without holding a self-congratulatory news conference to talk about it. Comey just taught them a different lesson.

In the latest revelation Justice officials warned Comey in the clearest term that his proposed action would be viewed as influencing an election. Comey knowingly rejected their warnings. ‘Sources’ indicated that he feared a media leak and accusations of a coverup.

Craig Sargeant looks at what Comey needs to do to clean up the mess. Comey would have known that his cryptic language would suggest that there was a real problem here, and help the Republicans. To save his own skin he now needs to assess the emails with sufficient speed so that American voters have that information when they vote.

Nate Silver now has Trump at a 21% chance of winning. That was on the basis of polls taken before the FBI bombshell.

That’s up from about 16% around a week ago. 16.7% is the chance you have of getting your brains blown out when playing Russian roulette.

On Friday night I collected a few bits and pieces of interest during the week before I heard about the FBI bombshell.

Why did Trump run?

Michael D’Antonio knows Trump better than most. He wrote a biography about him after many hours of interviews in 2014. When asked on The World Today why Trump is running, he said:

    I think this a person who has a need for endless amounts of attention and almost a bottomless empty space inside of him.

    And he’s sought to fill it up with wealth and power and notoriety and I think that it was the one thing that was left to try.

It’s a big ego trip, and he says Trump doesn’t understand that the presidency is not like a monarchy. Plus he and his supporters will be very sore losers.

What does Trump really think about the Clintons?

Also during the week an interview turned up from November 2008 showing Trump praising the Clintons with such passion, it raises questions about his true feelings for his Democratic rivals. Here’s the happy foursome:


Sounded as though he really meant it.

The economic implications of a Clinton presidency

Richard Holden writes that once the bookies start paying out you know it’s over. Apparently they are starting to pay out on the US election. So he takes a look at the economic consequences of a Clinton victory. His bottom line:

    Hillary Clinton has different packaging than Bill, the previous Clinton – and some important differences. But [her] proposals are hardly the stuff of the radical left. They are pretty centrist, but should make America a fairer place – with better, growth-boosting infrastructure.

The economic implications of a Trump presidency

David Francis finds that a Trump presidency would hurt both consumers and manufacturers. One study found that in the first year alone, the tariffs on Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican goods would amount to a 30 percent cut in wages. Millions of jobs would disappear, many in retail and services.

59 thoughts on “FBI bombshell, or storm in a teacup?”

  1. Cracker, at no point did I say that Hillary Clinton’s email practices were unproblematic. I’m not sure what is being ‘debunked’.

  2. Before this latest matter arose, there was an article How The Electoral College Can Save Us From Trump And Hillary.

    The Electoral College can appoint anyone who is eligible, not necessarily a candidate. Thing is as far as electing a president is concerned, the US is not strictly a democracy.

    Here’s how it it works.

    Seems when the constitution was put together, it was a union of colonies rather than a country, democracy had a pretty bad name, so the resulting compromise included a means of saving the place from the will of the people.

    The curious thing is that the so-called ‘Electoral College’ is not mentioned in the constitution. Also:

    To minimize the chances of corruption, bribery and backroom deals, electors are prohibited from gathering in one central location to cast their ballots. Thus, electors meet in individual state capitals to vote.

    What this means in part is that there was no need for Comey to interfere before the election. It could have been fixed after the election if it turned out to be a problem. The election process can run through until January.

  3. Thanks for a wide-ranging and precise piece, Brian.

    Having just read the following in The Age online, I’m more puzzled than ever…..

    The FBI has yet to obtain court authority to gain access to the contents of the computer and so are not aware if any of the thousands of emails on the device were classified, whether or not any of them were sent by Clinton or if they were new or duplicates of the thousands of emails already examined by the FBI.

    And FBI officials told reporters it was impossible that the Clinton aspect of the investigation would be resolved before the November 8 election.

    Further complicating matters, Abedin has told people she is unsure how her emails could have ended up on a device she viewed as her estranged husband’s computer.

    Abedin had said she was not a regular user of the computer, and even when she agreed to turn over emails to the State Department for federal records purposes, her lawyers did not search it for materials, not believing any of her messages to be there, The Washington Post reported.

    If the FBI hasn’t yet been allowed to read the emails, what is the basis of the Director’s concern??

    Has he seen the metadata ??
    George Brandis: please advise !

  4. You’ve got me scratching my head big-time, Ambigulous.

    One thing is now clear. The damage is done and there is no chance of any finality before the election.

    To return to the Trey Gowdy link, Cracker.

    It’s interesting and all very well, but it doesn’t make Hillary Clinton guilty of any crimes. What it does do is highlight the folly of Comey putting so much out there for public comment and debate.

    I’m glad it’s not happening here, and to that extent it’s not our problem. Except that it is.

  5. Perhaps the report is incorrect?
    It might be more advisable to rely on US opinions and sources, as you did, Brian.

  6. Cracker, at no point did I say that Hillary Clinton’s email practices were unproblematic. I’m not sure what is being ‘debunked’.

    Not your words Brian, some of the words you chose to publish.

    What it does do is highlight the folly of Comey putting so much out there for public comment and debate.

    ?? Keep here lies secret ??
    I would argue the House of Review is there to expose just this.
    I also believe that lying to The Senate is a crime, the same crime that you called for Brandis to be punished for with way, way way less obvious evidence.

  7. Ops, another typo, ” her lies ” .
    ” her lies ” under oath to the People of America, like Bill did.

  8. On trade policy, both are basically identical as far as I can see.
    I’m obviously happy if anyone can show either is more pro free trade than the other.

  9. I don’t know if I’m missing something but I cannot work out what the big deal is with these emails. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice both used private emails at times (Hillary Clinton asked Powell for advice) and both had some mistakes when classified mail was wrongly sent to the private emails. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/04/colin-powell-condoleezza-rice-private-email-accounts-classified-hillary-clinton?0p19G=c

    Why haven’t they been investigated? Brian are you able to enlighten me?

  10. Val, personally I’ve come in late on the fine detail of the emails and still don’t know enough to have an opinion about them. Got that, Cracker? I’ve got no opinion on them.

    What I did know is that the FBI had investigated them and had found insufficient evidence to press charges. So that should have been the end of it.

    But head FBI honcho took it upon himself to give her what was in effect a public dressing down, effectively saying, I don’t have enough evidence to prosecute, but that doesn’t mean you’re entirely clean.

    Which was an extraordinary thing to do in the justice system of any modern democracy, and as I said in the post, in direct contradiction to Justice Department and FBI guidelines. But note, they were only guidelines, albeit with a long and strong tradition of practice, apparently.

    Cracker, in Australia and the UK:

    there are currently no laws stating that lying in parliament is a criminal offence and no legal consequences for politicians who are found to have strayed from the truth in their statements.

    It used to be a convention that politicians doing so would resign or be sacked.

    In Brandis case it is straight transactional stuff where Laura Tingle thinks it is straightforward that he should resign. I’m inclined to believe her.

    I’ve researched Trey Gowdy a bit, and he’s clearly been a hotshit prosecuting attorney that you wouldn’t want to mess with. He’s clearly right wing, a Southern Baptist, probably inflexible in his ideas and understanding, and convinced that he’s right. From his bio, I suspect he doesn’t have a passport. Hillary I believe visited 112 countries when she was Secretary of State and set new standards for hard work.

    All that jetlag can mess with your mind. I started to worry about her as far back as 2008, when she claimed she’d been under fire getting off a plane in the Balkans. There was a video that showed no such thing.

    There is a difference between lying and saying something that is untrue or didn’t happen. Psychologists have a fair bit to say about all that, and I wouldn’t comment on what Hillary said unless I knew a lot more about it.

    As for Bill, he used a form of words that was consonant with the truth of what it seems actually happened, but was misleading.

    So it’s a tangled web, and Cracker, I think people who go around making accusations with insufficient knowledge or understanding diminish themselves, as well as adding to the net sum of human grief.

  11. Your getting yourself all tangled up there Bunchy. Republicans having failed in every way and are desperate to have something to hang on Clinton. Frankly I think she did the country a favour, for had here system been merged with the rest of US government emails, her every email would have been open to the world and US enemies years earlier at the hands so Snowden, and others. It turns out that Clinton’s emails were invisible to hackers, because they did not know of her system. That is a good thing, which they probably should do more of.

    The reality? Republicans are miserable losers.

  12. I’m no great supporter of Clinton, (though I would definitely prefer her over Trump, who I think is a complete and utter nutter), but it sounds to me that a rogue Republican Head of the FBI is trying to influence the outcome of a Presidential election in favour of the Republicans. The first thing Clinton should do on Inauguration Day, after she’s sworn in, is sack him.

  13. In the end Comey’s motivation doesn’t matter, the effect of what he did is a partisan act. He’s gone out on a limb and it should be cut off if Clinton wins.

  14. What a mess. I thought that we would finally get some relief from the theatre until this came up. Now I’m ready for another shite-storm: it has to be on the cards.

    I watched Gowdy in action. I was reminded of a rabid dog and that Malfoy character in the Harry Potter series. it was clear that he was taking a lot of free kicks and was clearly campaigning for the Republicans. Scary.

    Even scarier if our pollies start taking the same tools to electoral war.

    Cracker: Politicians lying? Happens frequently I think. But if you disagree please let me know. let me know.

  15. ABC News Radio reports FBI now has court order allowing it to examine the device.

    Presumably FBI obliged to make an interim report public, before Election Day.

    I would advise heavy use of: “allegedly”, “apparently”, “no emails not previously sighted”, etc.

  16. Geoff Henderson,

    I share your feelings about the farce.

    The latest is enough to make anyone lose their sense of Huma


  17. Ambigulous, the problem with “no emails not previously sighted” is that Clinton destroyed some emails, so there could be some turn up that are new.

    Wikileaks has also promised to release more for everyone to see, so it’s a mess.

    Also if Hillary wins there is every prospect that the Republicans will try to impeach her, whether there is a decent case or not.

  18. It’s worth having a read of Politifacts’ article on the latest email controversy. It covers the main controversy also and actually looks no big deal.

    Hillary did nothing illegal, co-operated with the inquiry.

    Comey said the Justice Department shouldn’t prosecute Clinton because there isn’t enough evidence that she intentionally mishandled classified information. FBI investigators didn’t find vast quantities of exposed classified material, and they also did not turn up evidence that Clinton intended to be disloyal to the United States or that she intended to obstruct justice.

    However, he called Clinton’s email setup “extremely careless.”

    On Trump’s PolitiFact scorecard, he’s got 55 Pants on Fire, 106 False and 61 Mostly false. Clinton has 7, 29 and 40 respectively in those categories.

    Who should the American people trust?

  19. Yes, Brian.

    My advice would be to say “no emails not previously sighted” only if it were true.

    Just heard a reporter on ABC News Radio saying there are about 650,000 emails to look through. That’s a lot of sexting, Mr Weiner.

  20. Brian that new keyboard might be dodgy: I’m sure you meant to say Clinton’s pants-on-fire was 7%, not 7,29.

    BilB – 650,000 emails is incredible. That is 1,780 emails per day for one year, or say 5 years it’s 356 email per day every day. A 12 hour day is 720 minutes so you’d be getting 2 minutes per email, foregoing meals, meetings and toilet breaks.
    I can’t guess how long it would take to trawl through those…

  21. “On Trump’s PolitiFact scorecard, he’s got 55 Pants on Fire, 106 False and 61 Mostly false. Clinton has 7, 29 [7%] and 40 respectively in those categories.”

    I think I said previously that if Trump gets in, or even close, it says something terrible and scary about America.

  22. Hey Geoff, there was nothing wrong with the keyboard, but how it is displayed could be better.

    I wrote a space after 7. It’s the number not the percentage. With Hillary they found 7 ‘pants on fire’ porkies as against 55 for Trump. They found 29 ‘false’ for Hillary as against 106 for Trump. And they found 40 ‘mostly false’ for Hillary, as against 61 for Trump.

    On the positive scale they found 13 statements by Trump that they investigated true, whereas for Hillary it was 69.

    In percentage terms 70% of Trump’s statements investigated were found to be false, as against 26% of Clinton’s, and they seemed to investigate a lot more of Trump’s.

  23. Geoff,

    I think they’re likely to have hundreds of persons working on this. Prioritise those emails that are to or from Hillary. Look at those to or from Huma that seem work-related.

    Ignore advertising emails, news items from NYT, buy/sell suggestions from share brokers, weather reports, reviews from TripAdvisor, Mayoral campaign letters, late notices from NY Public Library, crude jokes, shopping lists and notes to self.

    Leave for a while the Anthony sexting material, if any. Let him stew.

    OK, I think the FBI now has sufficient advice from me to be going on with…….. Let’s see how they go, eh?

  24. On Radio National’s PM tonight:

    Professor Richard Painter was the chief White House ethics lawyer for George W Bush

    He wants the FBI director James Comey investigated for trying to influence the election outcome.

    Painter has been a Republican for 30 years. This time he says he’s voting for Clinton, because Trump is unelectable.

    He’s a lawyer and an ethicist, with experience in advising government. Basically he wants Comey charged.

    He thinks Comey’s only option now is to issue a retraction of his letter.

    My suspicion is that Trey Gowdey has got Comey scared witless. It’s when a bully comes up against a bigger bully. Gowdey is a Congressman from South Carolina, and seems ferociously good in the attack dog role.

  25. It is so sad watching the slow suicide of the former United States.

    …. and it is worrying that when it does collapse in its own heap of ordure, unpleasant people will get their hands on at least part of the U.S. nuclear and chemical arsenal.

    Many ordinary Americans are fed up with what their present elite has failed to deliver and the very real harm they have inflicted. They want Change. Any change! Change now! That’s why I think Trump ( = Berlesconi, Mark II) has a good chance of “winning”. Unfortunately, those same ordinary Americans will be disappointed and furious if their wish is fulfilled. (Not that Clinton would do them any good).

    As for the email hullabaloo: what is the intrinsic difference between that and a bunch of frantic congressmen getting into tizzy by sniffing the dress of a young White House intern a few years back?

    Those same ones who are squawking over emails were quite happy to have a deserter and a dangerously incompetent fool as their president – twice.

    So, when the USA goes down in a heap, where do we in Australia stand? Yeah, I know, the moral weaklings who pretend to be our leaders will rush off to the next big thing: China – but then what?

  26. What a silly-billy I was.
    The FBI won’t be looking at the emails one-by-one.

    New York Times online:

    The F.B.I. on Monday began loading a trove of emails belonging to a top aide to Hillary Clinton into a special computer program that would allow bureau analysts to determine whether they contain classified information, law enforcement officials said.

    The software should allow them to learn relatively quickly how many emails are copies of messages they have already read as part of the investigation into the use of Mrs. Clinton’s private server. The F.B.I. completed that investigation in July and, along with prosecutors, decided not to bring any charges against Mrs. Clinton or her aides.

    “This is not a manpower issue,” said one senior law enforcement official. “It’s an issue of getting the emails into a program that can allow agents to look at them.”

    Of course they’ll use some special software…… might have had it written in recent weeks??

    NSA likely has similar software packages, but not allowed to use them on domestic (internal to US) emails???

  27. Ambiguous yeah I should have thought of that. Universities use software programs to detect plagiarism so this should not be too great a challenge technically.
    However they have to have installed all the previous emails and then install all the “new” emails to enable commonality to be detected. Now they will find a lot of emails sent to the same person(s) might trigger large numbers of false positives. All those will need to be re-assessed.
    Secondly through all this they need to preserve the chain of evidence if there is any chance of successful prosecution.

    GB yep, sad to watch the US in decay. Makes me think of the Romans…

    Good luck to those taking a punt today. Sign on a local shop today reads: “Trump to come second”

  28. There was a marvellous interview by Richard Fidler with American journalist Charles Lewis yesterday, who in the 1980s left a promising career in television current affairs to establish an independent, not-for-profit news organisation, the Center for Public Integrity.

    That was before the latest kerfuffle.

    He says the political and media sectors are a circus, basically unreal, irrational, awash with money and beyond repair. Yes, they spoke of “decay” and it goes back a long time.

    A tipping point was perhaps when the Supreme Court equated money with free speech. He says the entire congress is drawn from the top 5% in wealth. The place is awash with money and consequent obligation.

    The only modest hope was in crowd funding, employed by Bernie Sanders, and I think by Obama in 2008.

  29. There used to be October Surprises.

    This year there’s October Surprise Fatigue.

    Because……..this just popped up, folks:

    The word “explosive” has been rendered meaningless in this US presidential election – so I’ll just state this baldly. The FBI is investigating a deliberate, years-long Russian effort by which Moscow co-opted Donald Trump, and the Republican Party candidate had, until very recently, a super-secret internet server, which carried heavy, two-way traffic between his Manhattan tower and a Russian bank with close ties to the Kremlin.

    In a campaign without filters, in which the improbable has proved likely, it has become difficult to rule out anything as impossible.

    If you ever saw the National Enquirer with its bizarre, preposterous headlines, you may be forgiven for suspecting that that august journal has been writing the US election script since about March 2016.

  30. Brian said: “A tipping point was perhaps when the Supreme Court equated money with free speech. He says the entire congress is drawn from the top 5% in wealth. The place is awash with money and consequent obligation.”

    Is the us priming itself for a massive socio/political upheaval? If the 95% work out they have been hoodwinked for the past 100+ years there will be a reaction within 20 years. Another film like “Network” of 1978. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINDtlPXmmE might trigger it.

    Even if I am wrong for the time being I think there will be a considerable fall-out from this election and the insights it has given the whole world into the US political system.

  31. The share market has tanked for the second day in a row, in fear of a Trump victory, and the Mexican Peso is dropping like a stone.

    This would have real world consequences far beyond Brexit.

    The US political system was a system cobbled together to bring 13 former British colonies into a union, back in the 18th century when there was no concept of the USA as a nation, and not a lot of good federal models of government to go on. I doubt whether the political system there is up to moving forward creatively.

    Any way in news today, Bruce Schapiro says there are political/ideological factions within the FBI and Justice Departments.

    There was also an analysis of Christian voting polls. Apparently Mormons have deserted Trump big time, also Catholics, largely. Evangelicals were still for Trump, but men markedly more than women.

    Perhaps the Electoral College will appoint someone else, but they would have to be willing to take the job, and I think anyone suitable wouldn’t under those circumstances.

  32. A Pole I spoke to recently pointed with pride to the peaceful surge of Solidarnosc in the 1980s, eventually leading to Round Table and transition in 1989, with peaceful changes in Hungary, East Germany, etc.

    He worries about the U.S. populace, seemingly armed to the teeth.

  33. Romania was another story.

    Depends on whether or not the military or secret police are prepared to shoot. Eastern European regimes had to decide if they wanted another Tienanmen Square event.

  34. Brief mention on Radio National that FBI now says it has no reason to change its conclusion on Mrs Clinton’s private emails, having examined Mr Weiner’s.

    I can’t find confirmation yet.

  35. Thanks Ambiguous & Brian
    I think a lot of damage has been done that won’t be repaired before the election.
    I have not been so disturbed by US direction since the Cold War.
    The campaign has been rancid and dishonest beyond belief.

    Will our election style mimic the US?

  36. Probably not, Geoff, because our system is more democratic and I think the parties have a greater respect for democracy, and elections are run by the AEC rather than partisan state governments.

    However, to the extent that the far right hold sway in the LNP, and people like Brandis openly disrespect and seek to hound from office people like the Solicitor General and Gillian Triggs at the HRC, we have a problem.

    New post up now.

  37. Up till the Obama election the US Congress and Senate used to behave like a collection of independents who could work out deals to get things done in conjunction with the President. However, at the start of the Obama era the Republicans became disciplined and very obstructive and the Tea party began using the primaries to take over the Republican party.
    The best fix might be for the US to switch to Aus Senate style proportional preference voting for both congress and the senate. The result would be a congress and senate that no party could dominate and at least some chance that bargains could be struck. It would also make it possible for the tired old parties to be replaced with new parties that were more in line with the needs of modern America.

  38. Zoot some wry ironical levity to punctuate the end of the campaign at least.
    I followed a link from your post and found this excerpt from Rolling Stone:

    ” But now is the moment for every last American to decide what it truly means to be a citizen. You can be reluctant about Hillary Clinton. You don’t even have to vote for her (though I did, without doubt or hesitation).

    What you cannot do is vote for Donald Trump and pretend that this is just another election, and he is just another candidate. It is your minimum duty as a citizen not to support a racist, sexist, unqualified, dishonest, corrupt manchild who celebrates everything that’s ugly about America and not a single thing that’s great about it.

    No matter how left out or left behind you feel, voting for Trump is nothing short of a moral failure. It’s a vicious act against the human beings, mostly women and people of color, who would suffer miserably under his presidency.”

    My American wife and her family shudder at the thought of a Trump victory, but say they know people who do support him. I guess we will see what happens over the next few days.

  39. I can’t believe Trump will get in so I’m only slightly worried about that. I am more concerned about the behaviour of the US governance if Trump fails.
    If the Republicans carry out their threats to oppose all Democrat Bills and move to impeach Clinton that will be very destructive for the US.
    I would expect their dollar will plummet and their allies will reconsider their position. China will be thrilled and be encouraged to spread its influence further. America will be reconfigured on a global scale. Maybe that will be good in the longer term. Might even see US boat people arriving here…

  40. You Simply Could Not Make This Stuff Up

    Fairfax reports that voting has been completed in

    *** Dixville Notch***

    …. be careful what you cut a notch in, is my advice.

    You simply should not make this almighty Stuff-up, too.

  41. Impeachment is a long, slow process. Needs proof of “high crimes and misdemeanours” I think. Must the crimes have been committed while President?

    E.g. Watergate burglary, Ellsberg break-in, Oval Office cover-up… (Richard Milhous Nixon). or

    Lying under oath (William Jefferson Clinton)

    US dollar could slide.
    Alliances? ANZUS untouched by Nixon’s almost-impeachment.
    Realpolitik may rule.

    Chinese belligerence is more worrying to me than US election follies. Recall, if you will, McGovern’s disastrous campaign in 1972. Did the Democratic Party splinter afterwards? No.

    My guess is the Republicans are likely to re-group very swiftly, whether The Donald wins or loses.

  42. Ambigulous – maybe you are right. But I think this time the fabric is torn.

    Yep, she aced Trump in Dixville – 4 votes to 2.

  43. I have of late, (but wherefore I know not) lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition; that this goodly frame the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o’er hanging firmament, this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire: why, it appeareth no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seem to say so.

    from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

  44. Yes JD it does.

    Well now we have to see what happens when this peculiar man goes to task.
    I am at the same time a little relieved that Hillary did not make it. A bit too dynastic.
    I look forward to some informative articles from historians with some perspective who might give some context to this scary (to me anyway) outcome.

    Brian, your son John poses a great question.

  45. Not a problem at all, Geoff, but I thought I had to correct the record.

    Actually my No. 2 son is not a man of many words, but when he speaks he often nails it!

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