Donald Trump is "a national disgrace and an international pariah" who gave voice to a "racist" movement to question President Barack Obama's citizenship, former secretary of state Colin Powell tapped on his keyboard.
Hillary Clinton, he typed in an email to another friend, is a "greedy, not transformational" figure who messes up everything she touches because of her "hubris" and has a husband still, well, entertaining "bimbos" while she is away.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter are "idiots" flacking their new book, and the Iraq War was mishandled from the get-go by the Defense Department's top officials.
Other than that, the retired general and statesman wrote in one exchange, "alls well with the Powells."
That probably was not the case Wednesday, as the respected former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff became the latest chess piece in what appears to be nothing less than a full-bore attempt by the Russian government to embarrass the America body politic.
The Powell disclosures — more than two years' worth, ending last month — were posted on a site that analysts have linked to the Russian government.
They come as the FBI is probing the extent to which Moscow is carrying out an unprecedented digital campaign to potentially undermine confidence in the political process here.
The nation's top national security officials warned Wednesday that the United States is prepared to respond to whoever is behind the hacks of political organizations such as the Democratic National Committee.
"Nobody should think that there's a free pass," said Lisa Monaco, President Obama's adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, when asked at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference about the hacks linked to Russia.
A Powell spokeswoman attested to the authenticity of the emails. "We have confirmed that the general has been hacked and that these are his emails," Peggy Cifrino said. "We have no other comment at this time."
Powell's emails were posted on a once-obscure website, DCLeaks, which appeared in mid 2016 to publish material hacked from "top-ranking officials and their influence agents." The site claims it was launched by "American hacktivists who respect and appreciate freedom of speech, human rights and government of the people."
But analysts at cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect who have scoured the site say that its registration and Web hosting data align with a known Russian military intelligence hacker group dubbed Fancy Bear.
The Powell emails were assembled and posted under password protection Tuesday night. BuzzFeed and the Intercept led the way, and reporters found an unvarnished reflection on Election 2016, U.S. war efforts in Iraq, attempts by Powell to disassociate himself from Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, and a plea from one of Obama's former Cabinet members that Powell join the race for president.
Trump receives the brunt of Powell's harsh words, but a 2014 email to a Democratic donor about Clinton is the definition of damned with faint praise:
"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 d- - - - - - bimbos at home (according to the NYP)." The reference, presumably is to a story in the New York Post.
But Powell reserved his greatest disdain for Trump.
Of the birther movement, which Trump led earlier this decade by publicly questioning whether Obama was born in the United States, Powell said its underpinnings were clear.
"Yup, the whole birther movement was racist," Powell wrote to journalist and former aide Emily Miller on Aug. 21. "That's what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn't keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim."
In another email to Miller on Aug. 21, Powell scoffs at Trump's apparent effort to reach out to African Americans in recent weeks and says Trump takes them "for idiots."
"He is at 1% black voters and will drop. He takes us for idiots," Powell wrote. "He can never overcome what he tried to do to Obama with his search for the birth certificate hoping to force Obama out of the presidency."
Powell endorsed Obama in both of his campaigns.
"It is time to start ignoring him. You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen," he wrote to CNN's Fareed Zakaria in December 2015 in reference to Trump.
He expressed sympathy for Clinton about repeated investigations by congressional Republicans into the deadly attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya. He called it a "stupid witch hunt" in an email to his successor at State, Condoleezza Rice.
But he bristled at attempts by Clinton and Democratic officials to compare his use of private emails while in the office to her use of a private server.
"I have told Hilleary's minions repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try," he wrote in May to Democratic consultant Vernon Jordan. "The media isn't fooled and she is getting crucified. The differences are profound and they know it."
In another email he added: "Everything Clinton touches she kind of screws up with hubris."