THE BIG IDEA:
PALO ALTO, Calif.—“God help us,” George Shultz said yesterday when asked about the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency.
Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state has compiled a 226-page “Blueprint for America,” with contributions from 10 scholars at the Hoover Institution—the conservative-leaning think tank where he is a distinguished fellow.
The book is intended to provide the next president with advice about how to ensure America’s long-term greatness, including sections on the importance of an open immigration system, free trade and entitlement reform.
But it is a little awkward because the GOP nominee is running against each of those three concepts. He also seems uninterested in the finer points of policy-making.
Shultz, who helped shepherd the Cold War toward a peaceful denouement, has not taken a side in the presidential contest. He watched his words very carefully when asked about the election during a two-hour roundtable with a group of reporters here on the campus of Stanford University. But for someone who has devoted the lion’s share of his life to public service, it seems obvious that Trumpism is frustrating, even distressing.
– The production of the “Blueprint” was set in motion long before Trump hijacked the Republican Party, back when putative frontrunner Jeb Bush was hiring policy experts and churning out white papers that hewed closely to conservative orthodoxy.
As an executive at Bechtel in 1980, Shultz contributed a chapter to a similar book intended as a template for Reagan. It drew little notice at the time, but years later Mikhail Gorbachev brought it up at length during a meeting in the Kremlin. It signaled that these statements of core principles can reverberate, even when written outside of government. So Shultz decided to do it again in 2016.
– The 95-year-old feels very strongly that the country’s political system “has gone off the rails.” Svelte and dapper in a powder-blue, checkered sports coat, he explained that “it happened gradually” as a procession of White Houses clawed power and autonomy away from cabinet agencies.
Shultz has as much institutional memory on this as anyone. He is one of only two Americans to hold four cabinet posts. He was Richard Nixon’s secretary of treasury and labor, as well as his OMB director. He tells funny stories about Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower (Shultz worked on his Council of Economic Advisers). Before that, he served as a Marine captain in the Pacific theatre during World War II.
As someone loyal to the executive branch, he criticized the Senate for not allowing prompt up-or-down votes on Barack Obama’s nominees. He said holds and unjustified delays keep the best people from going into the federal government, which adversely effects public policy. “You’re trying to attract ‘A’ players to come into the government,” he explained. “If people weren’t getting blocked, you could get ‘A’ players.”
Then Shultz faulted the administration for not working more closely with congressional leadership, the way Reagan did with Speaker Tip O’Neill. During his years at Foggy Bottom, he said he always made a point to bring members of Congress with him while negotiating treaties that would later require ratification in the Senate (including, crucially, the Geneva Summit in 1985).
“We used to say if you want me in one the landing, then include me on the takeoff,” Shultz recalled. “Get back to the old-fashioned way, and we’ll be able to govern much better!”
He hopes that the next president pursues tax reform and follows the bipartisan model that worked in 1986. “There was an atmosphere of wanting to get something accomplished,” Shultz said. “The country would be much better off.”
– Shultz’s non-endorsement of Trump is just the latest signal of unease within the foreign policy establishment. Kori Schake, who co-authored a chapter in the secretary’s “Blueprint,” was the State Department’s deputy director for policy planning and the National Security Council’s director for defense strategy under Condoleezza Rice. She recently endorsed Hillary Clinton and was among the 50 signatories on last week’s open letter declaring that Trump would be “the most reckless president in American history.”
– Lanhee Chen, who served as Mitt Romney’s policy director in 2012 and advised Marco Rubio during the primaries, believes it is probably best for the long-term health of conservatism if Trump loses in November.
“I would rather not see him win,” Chen, a fellow at Hoover, said during an afternoon session here. “That’s my personal view. If we want to have a discussion about what the conservative movement stands for, the impetus is already there. … The conservative movement has become disembodied from the Republican Party. Now the challenge is: Can you put that genie back in the bottle?”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
– Ken Salazar, former Secretary of the Interior and U.S. senator from Colorado, will chair Clinton’s White House transition team. “Salazar will serve alongside four co-chairs — former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, President of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden, and Maggie Williams, Director of the Institute of Politics, Harvard University,” the campaign said in a statement. “Ed Meier and Ann O’Leary, two top campaign policy advisers, will shift full-time to the Transition team to serve as co-executive directors and manage the project’s day-to-day operations. Heather Boushey, the Executive Director of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will serve as Chief Economist.”
– A fresh Washington Post poll shows Trump trailing by 14 POINTS in VIRGINIA among registered voters (52 percent to 38 percent). From Scott Clement, Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider: “Clinton’s edge dips to seven points among likely voters when third-party candidates are included. … Clinton has the potential to accumulate a nearly insurmountable vote margin in the inner Washington suburbs, leading by 45 points over Trump, compared with Obama’s 26-point edge in 2012. Clinton holds a seven-point edge in the Washington exurbs that include Loudoun and Prince William counties, which split evenly between Obama and Romney. She also appears stronger than Obama in the Tidewater region, which encompasses Norfolk and Virginia Beach, leading Trump by a 2-to-1 margin compared with Obama’s low double-digit victory there four years ago. At least two-thirds of voters in both the D.C. suburbs and Tidewater have a strongly unfavorable view of Trump.”
– Let’s be real: The Commonwealth keeps moving farther off the map, and it’s going to be VERY hard for Trump to get to 270 without Virginia’s 13 electoral votes. We were in the field Thursday through Sunday night. Here are three remarkable numbers from the crosstabs:
- Two-thirds of Virginians have an unfavorable view of Trump, and 56 percent view Trump in a “strongly unfavorable” light, 13 points higher than for Clinton.
- Tim Kaine helps: He’s viewed favorably by 54 percent of Virginians, compared to 37 percent for Mike Pence.
- Trump leads among Virginia whites by 8 points. Romney won them by 24 points. (And Mitt lost Virginia by 4 points!)
GET SMART FAST:
GET SMART FAST:
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was found guilty of nine counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, after leaking grand jury information to a newspaper in 2009 to embarrass a rival prosecutor. Gov. Tom Wolf urged her to “resign immediately.” (NBC Philadelphia)
- The Ohio secretary of state ruled that Gary Johnson’s name can appear on the November ballot. This could be pivotal. The Plain Dealer notes that recent surveys show Johnson polling between 5 percent and 12 percent in the swing state.
- Gov. Pat McCrory (R) asked the Supreme Court to reinstate North Carolina’s strict voter ID law before the November election, despite a lower court’s ruling that the law was intentionally discriminatory toward African Americans. (Robert Barnes)
- The Obama administration completed its largest single transfer of Guantanamo detainees, moving 15 inmates to the UAE. That brings the prison’s population down to 61, and comes as the president seeks to keep his campaign promise to shutter the military prison before the end of his term. (Dan Lamothe)
- Historic flooding continues to plague southern Louisiana, leaving six dead and displacing thousands across the state. Gov. John Bel Edwards urged people to stay off the streets, saying it is unclear when the dangerous water levels will recede. (Mark Berman and Emma Brown)
- Milwaukee seems to be in a state of tentative calm after two days of protests erupted in the city after the fatal police shooting of an armed 23-year-old black man. Police enforced a citywide curfew for teens under 17, and Sherman Park, the site of much of the rioting, was locked down last night. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- The NYPD arrested a suspect in the killing of a Queens imam and his assistant, after the Muslim men were gunned down in broad daylight. Police said they arrested 35-year-old Oscar Morel after investigators connected him to a hit-and-run that occurred near the site of the shootings. (Abigail Hauslohner)
- An airstrike by a Saudi-led military coalition struck a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen, the latest bombing of a civilian site since peace talks between the nation’s warring factions collapsed last week. Social media reports suggest as many as 20 people may have been killed or wounded in the attacks. (Sudarsan Raghavan)
- Militants from Somalia-based al-Shabab pose a “rising threat” to nations across East Africa, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. The report’s conclusions underscore a shift in assessments about the al Qaeda affiliate, whose threat has been downplayed in the region until recently. (Kevin Sieff)
- Vanderbilt University announced it will erase the word “Confederate” from the stone entrance to one of its dorms, paying a hefty $1.2 million to reimburse the group that purchased naming rights in 1933. The university is the latest in a wave of schools to alter how their campuses display words and images associated with the Civil War. (Nick Anderson)
- A 9-year-old girl in Russia was lauded for receiving 43 mosquito bites, winning the title of “tastiest girl” at the country’s annual mosquito festival. (Katie Mettler)
- A 12-year-old boy who could read and write in several languages before age two — and was studying pre-calculus by his fifth birthday — is about to start his freshman year at Cornell University. He could be the youngest student in the university’s history. (Susan Svrluga)
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO:
– The U.S. continues to dominate in Rio, winning 76 MEDALS – 26 gold, 23 silver, and 27 bronze, as the eleventh day of competition begins. China continues to hold second place with 46 medals, while Great Britain is gaining with 41 medals. (Check out the Post’s live count here.)
– Simone Biles’ quest to win five gold medals in Rio ended on the balance beam Monday, after a somewhat wobbly performance landed her a score of 14.733 – and a third-place finish – in an event she was favored to win. “Simone is also a human being,” veteran coach Martha Karolyi reminded fans after her event. Biles, for her part, didn’t seem to be too bent out of shape: “I think you guys want it more than I do,” she told reporters. (USA Today)
- Ever the good sport, Biles continued to cheer on American teammate Laurie Hernandez, who beat her out for silver. Sanna Wevers of the Netherlands won gold.
– Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dove for gold – literally – in the women’s 400 meter race. Her stunning finish scored her a victory over reigning world champ Allyson Felix (and some pretty nasty track burn too, we assume.) (Rick Maese)
– Three U.S. hurdlers — Devon Allen, Jeff Porter and Ronnie Ash — advanced safely through the 110-meter qualifying heats yesterday, moving on to today’s semifinals. “Allen also plays football for Oregon and missed the 2015 track season after suffering a knee injury in the Rose Bowl,” Des Bieler reports.
DUMPSTER FIRE –> Eleven days after the opening ceremonies, Rio continues to prove itself woefully inadequate at hosting an Olympics. Post columnist Sally Jenkins reviews just a few of the disasters that have roiled the Games:
- “You know those swimming pools … that turned so green? The official explanations don’t add up, according to water expert Joseph Cotruvo, who spent 25 years as the EPA’s director of drinking water standards.” Cotruvo said Rio’s official statements suggest the pools might have gone without adequate disinfecting for FOUR DAYS. From a health standpoint, “That is unconscionable,” he wrote.
- “In the open-water events, a Belgian sailor has complained of contracting dysentery, while other athletes are slugging mouthwash to kill any potential bacteria in their throats …”
- Security is a problem, even INSIDE the venue: “On the day of the Opening Ceremonies, Sports Illustrated installed a $10,000 camera on the [stadium] roof … The only people who were supposedly allowed up there were security and specifically accredited personnel. The camera was stolen.”
- The Agence France Presse photo agency has lost 10 cameras, worth an estimated $45,000, from inside venues.
- One photographer had his bag of equipment stolen from him a coffee bar. He later ran into the thief POSING AS HIM in an archery venue security line, wearing his official photo vest.
– A coach of the German canoe slalom team died when his taxi crashed near the Olympic stadium. The 2004 Olympian was just 35. (AP)
– Seven others were injured after a giant television camera plummeted 65 feet to the ground in the middle of Olympic Park. The camera was operated by Olympic Broadcasting Services, which is owned by the International Olympic Committee. (USA Today)
THE DAILY DONALD:
– During a national security speech in Ohio, Trump called for “EXTREME VETTING” of potential immigrants to the U.S. urging an ideological test to screen out individuals who don’t “share our values and respect our people.” From Katie Zezima: “A subdued Trump, delivering what his campaign billed as a major speech on terrorism … said immigration would need to be stopped from ‘some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism,’ but did not specify what they were. Should he be elected president, Trump said he would ask the State Department and DHS to identify those places and stop processing visas for people looking to come to the U.S. from there.”
The principal new initiative would target anyone who believes “sharia law should supplant American law.” “In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test,” Trump told supporters. “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.” (See the Post’s Fact Checker’s take on the speech here.)
– “[Trump] said that under his administration, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay would remain open, human intelligence would be highly valued and foreign combatants would be tried in military commissions,” Karen DeYoung explains. “Immigration officers would be able to immediately deport people visiting the country who ‘preach hate’ and those who immigrate … would be expected to assimilate, he said. ‘Assimilation is not an act of hostility, but an expression of compassion,’ Trump said. ‘Our system of government, and our American culture, is the best in the world and will produce the best outcomes for all who adopt it.’”
– Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid challenged Trump to take a U.S. naturalization test: “He would almost certainly fail, given his general ignorance and weak grasp of basic facts about American history, principles and functioning of our government.”
– Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who has clashed with Trump since his speech at the DNC, said he would happily take the test “alongside” Trump: “I challenge Trump to take the naturalization test with me any day,” Khan wrote in an email to HuffPost. “His is demagoguery and pandering for vote. A divider like Trump can never be the steward of this country.”
– Clinton’s campaign slammed Trump’s remarks as a ploy to escape scrutiny for banning “an entire religion” of people: “His so-called ‘policy’ cannot be taken seriously,” Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan said in a campaign statement. “How can Trump put this forward with a straight face when he opposes marriage equality and selected as his running mate the man who signed an anti-LGBT law in Indiana?”
What’s amazing is the part about “extreme vetting” wasn’t in Trump’s prepared remarks. He ad libbed the phrase.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) August 15, 2016
Many noted that all but one of Trump’s children, plus his wife, would be subjected to the extra scrutiny. And other members of his family:
Including Donald Trump. His mother was born in Scotland. https://t.co/BVhfodHtQk
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) August 15, 2016
Significant note in Trump speech was promising to work with NATO to eradicate terrorism.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 15, 2016
– Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pushed back on reports that he received illegal payments from a former pro-Russia political party in Ukraine: “The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional,” he said in a statement. “It is well known that I do work in the U.S. and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single ‘off-the-books cash payment’ as falsely ‘reported’ by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia.”
– “Manafort’s role in the Ukraine inquiry … serves as a reminder that Trump, who has faced bipartisan criticism for unusually friendly views toward Russia and has sought real estate deals there, has relied on advisers with personal and financial ties to Moscow and the former Soviet Union,” Tom Hamburger and Andrew Roth report. “Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former military officer whom Trump briefly considered naming as a running mate, was paid to give a speech and attend a lavish party with Russian President Vladimir Putin honoring the Kremlin-funded media company, RT Television. Another foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, has said he holds stock in Gazprom, the Russian energy firm, whose stock price has stumbled since the imposition of U.S. sanctions following the Russian invasion of Crimea. [And] Manafort’s Ukraine connections drew scrutiny during last month’s Republican convention, when the party platform committee weakened language that would have called for U.S. military support of Ukraine. Manafort has denied that the campaign played a role, but committee members told The Post that Trump aides were involved.”
– A deep dive on Flynn from Dana Priestr and Greg Miller: “In campaign appearances for Trump, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has cast the presidential race as a continuation of the career he spent battling dangerous enemies in distant wars. ‘The enemy camp in this case is Hillary Rodham Clinton,’ he said at a [Florida rally] …The appearance was only the latest eyebrow-raising episode from Flynn, 56, who was one of the most respected military intelligence officers of his generation but who has spurned the decorum traditionally expected of retired U.S. flag officers and become the only national security figure of his rank and experience to publicly align himself with Trump. Like Trump, Flynn has advocated forging closer ties with Russia. In interviews with [The Post], Flynn acknowledged being paid to give a speech and attend a lavish anniversary party for the Kremlin-controlled RT television network in Moscow last year, where he was seated next to the Russian leader. ‘People went crazy,’ said retired Brig. Gen. Peter B. Zwack … ‘They thought it was so out-of-bounds, so unusual.’”
– A video of Trump being questioned under oath about his incendiary comments on immigration is expected to be released to the public, Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports. The footage comes from a breach-of-contract lawsuit Trump filed against famed chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who terminated plans to open a restaurant at Trump’s Washington hotel after the mogul’s incendiary remarks on Mexican immigrants. The video reportedly contains exchanges in which Trump is questioned about his sharp attacks on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, including Trump’s claim that the U.S.-born judge was biased against him because of his race. It will doubtlessly be fodder for attack ads…
– RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is considering running for another term. From Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “The 44-year-old Priebus, who was first elected in 2011, had led many to believe he would be finished with the high-profile job following a rambunctious campaign season — one that at times has resulted in fierce criticism of Priebus and the committee he leads. Already, several would-be successors, including former Silicon Valley executive Carly Fiorina, have begun de facto campaigns for the chairmanship. But in recent weeks, Priebus has begun telling friends and allies that he’s seriously considering running for reelection. One state party chairman who talked with Priebus over the past week said he was convinced the chairman wanted to come back … Trump is headed for a crushing loss in November.”
Expect a Priebus reelection bid to be met with skepticism by anti-Trump conservatives. “I’m sympathetic to the challenging atmospherics during his tenure, but he took this job voluntarily and has failed on every objective measure,” said Matt David, a former top aide to Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Not only does the RNC not lead, there’s nothing left behind the curtain. It’s the Wizard of Oz and Reince is the ‘Wizard.’”
– Evan McMullin, the former CIA operative who launched a long-shot bid as a conservative alternative to Trump, announced he has qualified to appear on the ballot in Utah. If any reliably-red state looks as though it could be amenable to McMullin — a Mormon who attended BYU — Utah seems like a good place to start.
– Rubio doubled down on his support for Trump during a sit-down with the Miami Herald’s editorial board, continuing to endorse the candidate who he dubbed a “con man” just five months ago. “I’ve stood by everything I ever said in my campaign,” Rubio said, when asked if he would take back the criticisms of his former rival. In fact, Rubio insisted, Trump is “partly why he reversed himself” and chose to seek reelection to the senate. “We’re in a different place now,” the Florida senator told the Herald. “…While the presidency is powerful, there is a balance of power in this country, and a significant amount of it resides in the U.S. Senate. It’s one of the reasons why I seek to run again.”
- Asked if he’d accept the position of secretary of state, Rubio said no: “I’d rather stay in the Senate,” he said. “Not that the secretary of state is not an important job, but there’s more work to be done in the Senate at this point …”
- He also declined to rule out another future presidential bid, though he insisted another Senate term was not the best way to get there (some of his advisers have suggested the opposite, the Herald notes.)
- “I’ve basically gotten into one of the toughest races in the country, on almost the very last second possible …” Rubio said. “The easier thing for me to have done … is just to step out of politics, stay engaged and involved and run again.”
– Trump said he supported Hillary’s candidacy in 2008, calling his now-rival “fantastic” in a previously-unreported Fox News interview. Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski unearths the exchange: “In January 2008, Trump is asked by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto which presidential candidate he prefers. Trump said that he didn’t want to reveal who he was supporting because he wanted them to win. Cavuto interjected, saying, ‘But you gave money when Hillary Clinton was running for Senate, right?’ ‘Well, I support Hillary,’ said Trump. ‘I think she’s fantastic. I supported Rudy. I think Romney is doing a very good job. I mean, there’s — every one of them, they are very…’ Asked again about his preference later in the interview, Trump said, ‘I don’t want to say.’ (In an October 2007 interview on the Howard Stern Show … Trump said he was pushing for [Clinton] to win the 2008 Democratic primary, calling her a good friend of his for whom he’d hosted fundraisers.)”
– “Glenn Beck urges conservatives to understand ‘Black Lives Matter,’” by David Weigel: On Friday, the radio and online host Glenn Beck arrived at the annual RedState Gathering with some hard lessons for conservatives. He could not vote for Trump. He had interviewed the independent #NeverTrump candidate, Evan McMullin, and found him too ‘squishy.’ Despondent about the choice that faced voters, he had begun seriously ‘soul-searching’ and investigating what he did not know about America. Among Beck’s revelations was that the Black Lives Matter movement had a point. Beck, like many conservatives, had criticized the movement as racist and exclusionary. He had led a march in Birmingham, Ala., on the theme of ‘All Lives Matter.’ But since the police shootings in Dallas … Beck had come to view ‘Black Lives Matter’ differently. ‘We’re all speaking different languages and we need to talk to each other,’ [he said].”
– New York Times, “G.O.P. Urges Trump to Broaden Outreach to Black Voters,” by Jonathan Martin and Yamiche Alcindor: “When [Trump] went to Detroit last week to deliver a speech on his economic proposals, he laid the chronic problems of the heavily black city at the feet of his opponents … But Mr. Trump had no firsthand encounter with the very difficulties he described: He flew into the city on his private plane … and motorcaded on highways past several black neighborhoods before reaching the downtown convention center where he addressed the heavily white Detroit Economic Club. In attempting to fashion a populist message, Mr. Trump has criticized Democrats for doing little to address urban joblessness and despair.” But during his presidential campaign, Trump has not held a single event aimed at black voters in their communities, shunning traditional stops at African-American churches and historically black colleges that have long been campaign trail staples. “Mr. Trump’s mix of provocation and neglect has infuriated black Republicans, who fear that the party’s already dismal standing with African-Americans may sink so low that it barely registers in swing states.”
– Four of the seven student board members on the Yale Republican Club resigned in protest after the group endorsed Trump, the Wall Street Journal reports. Now the disgruntled conservatives have formed a Republican faction of their own, the “Yale New Republicans.” “We believe that if a Republican candidate strays so far from Republican values, that we shouldn’t have to support him or her simply because they are a Republican,” said Michael Fitzgerald, a 19-year-old sophomore and co-chairman of the new group.
– National Review explores why, when it comes to Trump instead of John Boehner, members of the House Freedom Caucus suddenly care more about winning than principle. From Tim Alberta: “In one of the strangest twists of 2016, [the House Freedom Caucus] … known for running toward intra-party fights and winning them by any means necessary — did noticeably little to oppose or obstruct the rise of a Republican who has campaigned on ideas that are antithetical to modern conservatism. … Several months of conversations with Freedom Caucus members reveal a widespread contempt for the GOP nominee. Some, when granted anonymity to speak candidly, describe him as a charlatan who poses a threat to conservatism, and say they have considered announcing they won’t vote for him in November. And yet … 38 of 39 are still behind him … Why? To answer that question is to accept that pragmatism is being practiced by individuals who were willing to shut down the government to prove a philosophical point; to appreciate that congressmen survive by satisfying the whims of their constituents; to understand that Republicans are desperate to avoid blame for a November defeat that many view as inevitable; and to acknowledge that Trump has taken over the Republican party by annexing many of its most conservative voters, proving that their anti-government rage is not necessarily a mandate for ideological purity.”
THE DAILY HILLARY:
– Clinton, campaigning today in Philadelphia, will focus on voter registration efforts, including a post-event canvass in a predominantly African American neighborhood in West Philadelphia. “Ahead of Pennsylvania’s October 11 voter registration deadline, Clinton will affirm her commitment to achieve her goal of registering and committing to vote three million Americans in this campaign,” a campaign official emails. “Hillary for Pennsylvania has announced more than three dozen coordinated campaign and DNC offices in state, with 10 more opening this week, which will serve as organizing hubs to elect Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot in November. Within the last ten days, 3,461 Hillary for Pennsylvania volunteers have fanned out to register voters across Pennsylvania. Hillary for Pennsylvania has made more than 1.3 million phone calls, and volunteers have completed 28,564 hours of activity.” An aide says HRC will mention that Tom Ridge, a former Republican governor, signed that letter last week saying he could not vote for Trump.
– Vice President Biden Joe eviscerated Trump as a dangerous, ill-informed bully at a Scranton campaign rally with Hillary, using his hometown connections to make the case for Clinton to white, working-class Democrats. From Anne Gearan: “Biden’s first campaign appearance on behalf of the Democratic nominee blended blue-collar outreach with stinging rebukes of Trump from a man who, Biden reminded the crowd, travels with his own copies of the nation’s nuclear weapons codes. ‘It used to be a basic bargain,’ that hard work could mean entry into a stable middle-class life, Biden said, voicing a theme of economic angst that Clinton has sought to put at the center of her second run for the White House.”
Biden said Trump has “already made this country less safe” with his incendiary remarks. Noting the Republican’s praise for Putin, he told the crowd Trump “would have loved Stalin.”
“Biden spoke about twice as long as Clinton, delivering a sometimes wandering but always fond endorsement of Clinton as a seasoned public servant who ‘gets it’ about economic changes that have left some parts of the country behind:” Scranton, Biden said, is filled with people defined by “grit, courage and determination to never, ever give up.” “They deserve someone who not only understands them,” he said. “They deserve someone who will be with them.”
– Meanwhile, President Obama headlined a Hillary fundraiser in Martha’s Vineyard, refusing to invoke Trump’s name as he sought to make the case for Clinton as commander-in-chief. His 2008 Democratic primary rival is not “always the flashiest, she’s not always the person who is going to give you a big stem-winder,” Obama acknowledged, but he praised her as a “hardworking, diligent, smart, tenacious leader.” “She’s the person who’s going to do the work,” he said. Obama also urged Democrats not to get complacent with Clinton’s lead in the polls: “If we are not running scared until the day after the election, we are going to be making a grave mistake,” he said. (Greg Jaffe)
— Peter Nicholas (@PeterWSJ) August 15, 2016
– The FBI is expected to send Clinton’s “302” to Congress “in the coming days,” sources tell Matt Zapotosky. A “302” is what bureau insiders call the report on its interview with the former secretary of state. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has pressed FBI director Jim Comey for the entire “investigative file.” But we hear that won’t be forthcoming. Members might possibly get same reports from the bureau’s interviews with Clinton’s aides and others. “The State Department also has asked to review the materials that will be released, though it remains unclear if officials there could put the process on hold,” Zapotosky adds.
– The State Department agreed to provide conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch with ALL official emails recovered from Clinton’s email server, CNN reports. The deal comes after Comey said the agency found “thousands” of emails that were work-related and deleted and had not been turned over to the State Department.
– “Though it is an exaggeration to claim that Ms. Clinton ran her agency as a pay-to-play operation, the latest unearthed emails … nevertheless reveal that the ethical wall she was supposed to have built between herself and her family’s organization was not impermeable enough,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board writes today. “The behavior depicted in the latest emails does not appear to have significantly harmed the conduct of U.S. diplomacy, [or] distracted from Ms. Clinton’s performance … As political scandals go, this is middling, at best. But it suggests that some donors to the Clinton Foundation may have seen their gifts as means to buy access — and it points to much bigger potential problems. Should Ms. Clinton win in November, she will bring to the Oval Office a web of connections and potential conflicts of interest, developed over decades in private, public and, in the case of her family’s philanthropic work, quasi-public activities. Such sloppiness would not be acceptable in the White House.”
– “Huma Abedin’s Overlapping Jobs Renew Focus on Clinton Conflicts,” by Bloomberg’s Ben Brody and Nick Wadhams: “Abedin stepped down from her post as deputy chief of staff at the State Department and Hillary Clinton’s ever-present personal assistant on June 3, 2012. Only she didn’t really leave. Instead, in a reverse twist on a program intended to bring talented outsiders into government, Abedin was immediately rehired as a ‘special government employee.’ She also took paying jobs with the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings, a consulting firm with international clients that was co-founded by a foundation official who also was Bill Clinton’s long-time personal aide. Abedin’s multitasking in the final eight months of Hillary Clinton’s time as the top U.S. diplomat — and her role as intermediary for some of the same players before that — are drawing renewed scrutiny after a conservative watchdog group’s release last week of a new batch of e-mails to and from Clinton aides.”
– Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver was invited to be the “special guest” on a DNC conference call Monday night, pledging the Vermont senator would “actively” campaign on behalf of Clinton in the fall. The move comes as the Democratic Party seeks to thaw relations with Sanders supporters and unite ahead of the November election. “’I think it was a genuine effort on the part of the DNC to make sure Sanders supporters feel welcome,’ Weaver said of the call, during which he said Sanders would also campaign for down-ballot candidates and touted the work done in recent weeks to craft a progressive party platform.” (John Wagner)
– Kansas City Star, “Rockhurst High’s most famous student? Tim Kaine or … Spencer Tracy?” by Rick Montgomery: “For the moment, Rockhurst High School’s most famous alumnus is Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine. Yeah, OK. Honor student, cheerleader, council president. Gets a Harvard law degree and becomes a pol. But most Kansas Citians don’t know about Rockhurst’s connection to a rascal who gained real fame after scoring so-so grades at the Jesuit boys academy a century ago: Spencer Tracy. In 1917 the future two-time Oscar winner spent the final semester of his sophomore year at Rockhurst … Most of what little is known about his time here comes from a letter that Spencer Tracy wrote in 1940 to the motion picture editor of The Kansas City Star. Curtis writes that Tracy ‘entertained the idea of becoming a priest’ while studying at Rockhurst. Maybe here he picked up cues for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Father Flanagan in ‘Boys Town’ in 1938?”
– You heard that right: Tim Kaine was a high school cheerleader. “Now, good grades and early political ambition are practically de rigueur for future pols of America, but not every aspiring officeholder has wielded pom-poms,” Emily Heil writes. “Corroboration of the resume line comes from a 2014 article in a local paper in Greenwood, Miss., written by a high school classmate who recalled how Kaine, as a ‘skinny Irish Catholic kid with wavy dark hair,’ took up cheerleading in their senior year.”
– Wyoming has a primary today –> “Liz Cheney launches a new brand in Wyoming,” by Paul Kane: “Liz Cheney strikes the same combative tone that her father did over more than four decades in the national spotlight … Yet Cheney is also an unabashed supporter of [Trump], whose ideological bearings run directly against much of what Richard B. Cheney stood for … [Now], as she attempts to win elective office in the year of Trump, some are asking: Just who is Liz Cheney? The fierce defender of her dad and former State Department aide in George W. Bush’s administration moved home to Wyoming to run for office but abruptly dropped out of a 2014 Senate bid … Now that she’s running for the House, will she fight for Trump’s ‘America First’ economic theories or champion the more traditional Republican foreign policy espoused by her father as Bush’s controversial vice president? The answer remains to be seen. For now she’s trying to fuse parts of her father’s national security mantle with some of Trump’s economic views on trade and immigration, possibly creating a ‘Liz Cheney Republican’ brand.”
– “Promises unfulfilled: How a State Department plan to stabilize Iraq broke apart,” by Jeff Gerth/ProPublica and Joby Warrick: “A week before the last U.S. soldiers left his country in December 2011, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to Washington to meet the team that would help shape Iraq’s future once the troops and tanks were gone. … [Then-Secretary of State] Clinton spoke of how her department’s civilian experts could help Iraqis avoid a return to terrorism and sectarian bloodshed. Less than three years later, [however], the relatively calm Iraq that Maliki had led in 2011 was gone. Clinton’s political foes would later seek to blame her, together with President Obama, for the Islamic State’s stunning takeover … But an intensive review of the record during Clinton’s tenure presents a broader picture of missteps and miscalculations by multiple actors … that left Iraqi security forces weakened and vulnerable to the Islamic State’s 2014 surge”:
- “Documents and interviews point to ambitious plans by State Department officials to take control of dozens of military-run programs in Iraq … But the State Department scrapped or truncated many of the plans, sometimes at the behest of a skeptical Congress and other times on orders from the White House … “
- Meanwhile, current and former Obama administration officials defend Clinton as one of the most vocal advocates for a muscular U.S. presence in Iraq after the withdrawal deadline: “She was seized with this,” recalled Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. “She recognized that AQI was down but not out, and pressed the Iraqis, and us, to keep taking the fight to them.”
– “How a land use plan for the California desert turned climate change allies into foes,” by Chris Mooney: “Giant solar arrays such as Desert Sunlight not only generate vast amounts of power, but they also do not require any fuel or produce any carbon emissions — advancing the ambitious climate goals of California and the United States alike. But lately, those lofty goals have run into a more earthly reality — large-scale solar projects require vast amounts of land, land that also is home to many animal and plant species, most iconic among them a slow-moving herbivore called the desert tortoise. The creature is so highly regarded by the conservation community … that groups that might otherwise regard themselves as allies of clean energy find themselves at odds with the solar industry. [Now], the two sides are squaring off on a U.S. Bureau of Land Management plan to allocate some 10 million acres of public land in the California desert for conservation, recreation and clean-energy installations like Desert Sunlight.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
ZIGNAL LABS VISUAL: A look at Clinton’s hashtag cloud shows how the trolls and haters are out-tweeting her supporters:
This selfie of Paula Jones with Trump is recirculating on Twitter:
— CC (@ChristiChat) August 15, 2016
Bob Corker must be glad that he’s not Trump’s running-mate right now….
— Molly O’Toole (@mollymotoole) August 15, 2016
Biden took over Clinton’s Instagram feed — here, they’re stopping by Biden’s childhood home:
Here’s another photo from their visit:
— Ken Thomas (@KThomasDC) August 15, 2016
Monday’s Twitter spat:
When your kids & grandkids ask you what you did to defeat the Clinton mob, what will you tell them?
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) August 15, 2016
I’ll say, “I voted for Ted Cruz while infotainment hacks chased clicks and ratings with Trump.” https://t.co/b2pPDHbDsv
— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) August 15, 2016
A piece of trivia from the host of “Face the Nation”:
Sen. Goldwater at age 9 emptied a revolver into his ceiling to celebrate July 4th. Was punished because he shot father’s whiskey stash.
— John Dickerson (@jdickerson) August 15, 2016
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
– WSJ, “Only in Washington: Have Your Lawyer Tell My Lawyer to Tell Me What You Think,” by Andrew Ackerman: “At the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where two of the five seats are vacant, the remaining commissioners are experiencing a level of gridlock remarkable even for Washington. They have largely stopped speaking to one another. About work. Not only are the commissioners restricted from one-on-one meetings, they try not to get caught alone anywhere in the building … [and] deploy aides to shuttle back and forth between their offices relaying points and counterpoints. The uncomfortable silences coming from the CFTC’s offices are a result of the Government in the Sunshine Act, passed in the wake of Watergate … designed to prevent regulators from making deals on policy in proverbial backrooms. It effectively says a majority of a commission can’t deliberate outside an open public meeting. With two of five CFTC seats vacant, however, any two commissioners in one place constitutes a majority—which blurs the line between merely discussing policy and actually deciding it.”
– The New Yorker, “Ivanka and Jared’s Power Play,” by Lizzie Widdicombe: “Ivanka and Jared are an unlikely couple to represent the ticked-off populism that has emerged as Trump’s Presidential theme. Sleek, tall, and patrician … they are known for being almost spookily presentable. [Now], there is something Murdochian in the way that Kushner seems to be relishing his newfound role as a billionaire outsider, tweaking the more delicate sensibilities that he was once immersed in. Ivanka, [meanwhile], appears to take less delight in the campaign … According to friends, she disagrees with things her father has said during the campaign, but she prefers to register her complaints in private. … To publicly break with one’s father—or father-in-law—isn’t easy. And for Ivanka and Jared it would be more than just awkward. It would be intolerable: viewed as a betrayal, grounds for banishment and reprisal. They would lose their position and their fortunes. Doing so would require acting against their own self-interest, as well as the interest of their families. And that’s not something that they tend to do …”
– CNBC, “Transcribers’ agony: Frustrated not by what Trump says but how he says it,” by Daniel Libit: “Few conventions in political campaign coverage are as straightforward and unassailable as quoting a public figure verbatim. And yet, as with many other parameters of the process, [Trump] has complicated this, too. His unscripted speaking style, with its spasmodic, self-interrupting sentence structure, has increasingly come to overwhelm the human brains and tape recorders attempting to quote him. Trump’s crimes against phonology are multifarious: He often speaks in long, run-on sentences, with frequent asides. He pauses after subordinate clauses. He frequently quotes people saying things that aren’t actual quotes. And he repeats words and phrases, sometimes with slight variations, in the same sentence. To untangle the jumble, his stenographers are increasingly reliant on a punctuation known as the ‘em dash’ (—) … Trump is, simply put, a transcriptionist’s worst nightmare: severely unintelligible, and yet, incredibly important to understand.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“IOC Calls Daily Beast Sex Article ‘Unacceptable,’ Author Sent Home From Rio,” from OutSports: “The International Olympic Committee has condemned as ‘simply unacceptable’ a since-deleted story on the Daily Beast where a straight reporter posed as gay on Grindr to do a feature … at the Olympics. His focus was on the success he had connecting with gay athletes on Grindr. In his original version of the article, [the reporter] listed specific identifying information that allowed for some gay athletes to be identified with near-certainty. After an uproar online over outing athletes — including some from countries where homosexuality is illegal — the Daily Beast removed the identifying information.” The IOC indicated in an email that the writer of the article is no longer in Rio.
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Clinton Foundation pushed State Dept. on Bill Clinton speech in North Korea,” from the Washington Examiner: “A Clinton Foundation official pushed Hillary Clinton’s State Department to approve a request for Bill Clinton to speak at a North Korean industrial complex accused of funding the country’s rogue nuclear program. The invitation was facilitated by Tony Rodham, the brother of the Democratic nominee, who had entered now-defunct business partnerships with the Clinton bundler named as a ‘go-between’ for the speech hosts and the secretary of state. The latest records to emerge from that case, which were obtained by the Washington Examiner, offer additional insight into the effort to persuade Bill Clinton to deliver remarks in the communist country …”
On the campaign trail: Clinton is in Philadelphia; Kaine is in Fayetteville, N.C. Trump is in West Bend, Wis.; Pence is in Albuquerque and Roswell, N.M.
At the White House: Obama is in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
– Another “searing hot” day before temps level out a bit – we hope. In the meantime, the Capital Weather Gang forecasts another triple-digit scorcher: “This August heat is on a serious repeat — we’re making yet another run toward 100 degrees in D.C. today. It’s still muggy, but morning clouds could slow the temperature incline, and afternoon thunderstorms could also provide some relief. Tomorrow isn’t quite as hot and humid, and then temperatures creep up by the end of the week. Thunderstorms are possible this weekend, but the good news is highs should only be in the 80s to low 90s.
– Jeffrey E. Thompson, the Washington businessman who poured more than $3 million into city, state and federal elections, including the illegal financing of Vincent Gray’s 2010 mayoral bid, has been sentenced to three months in prison. His sentencing helps bring to a close a nearly five-year investigation, Mike DeBonis, Ann E. Marimow and Rachel Weiner report. “The probe also revealed illegal spending by Thompson on the 2006 D.C. mayoral race and a host of D.C. Council races, as well as several congressional campaigns and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid.”
– The Nationals beat the Rockies 5-4.
– Maryland rescue workers found a sixth body buried in the rubble of a Silver Spring apartment, after the building was nearly leveled by a powerful fire and explosion last week. Officials said they are continuing to search in anticipation of a seventh victim. (Dan Morse)
– D.C. police are investigating a widely-shared video depicting a black woman being lifted off her feet by a police officer. In the video, the woman’s shoulders are held against a police cruiser with her sneakers dangling, as an officer says “Yes, you did. I saw it.” Footage of the incident, which occurred outside Howard Theater at 7th and T streets NW, was shared more than 3,000 times on Twitter. (Victoria St. Martin)
Click to watch:
So this just happened. I’m TIRED. he literally hopped out and did this immediately to her. No CONVO. Dawg. WTF pic.twitter.com/tf1HpF78up
— Mac. (@MacAndCheeks) August 15, 2016
Here was the department’s response on Twitter:
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) August 15, 2016
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson accused “left-wing reporters” of “literally” beating Trump supporters. “The voters want someone that’s going to fight back because they are tired of seeing left-wing reporters literally beat Trump supporters into submission into supporting policies they don’t agree with,” she said on Fox Business. “It just shuts them down and that’s not what they’re seeing in this campaign.” Remember, this is the same woman who said over the weekend that Obama invaded Afghanistan and who blamed the current president for Captain Khan dying in Iraq (even though he was killed in a suicide bomb years before he took office.)
Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson says reporters “literally beat Trump supporters” pic.twitter.com/tV8vtIBcgV
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) August 15, 2016
This gif of a cat reacting to Trump on TV is going crazy on Facebook (click to watch):
tfw you see trump on tv pic.twitter.com/2xl53GdlMA
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) August 15, 2016
Trump said Clinton lacks the “physical stamina” to be president:
Funny or Die imagined Trump’s border wall proposal as an action movie:
Why did Comedy Central cancel Larry Wilmore’s show?
Gabby Douglas responded to social media criticism during Olympics:
Finally, watch as EMS workers remove a cup stuck on a squirrel’s head: