Hillary Clinton unveiled another new line of attack on Donald Trump today, "seizing on the controversy surrounding the now-defunct Trump University to argue that he is attempting to defraud the country," reported Abby Phillip.
"His own employees testified that Trump U. -- you can't make this up -- that Trump U. was a fraudulent scheme where Donald Trump enriched himself at the expense of hard-working people," Clinton said. "This is just more evidence that Donald Trump himself is a fraud."
"He is trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump U.," she added.
That isn't the only front Clinton is trying to open this week: tomorrow, she'll deliver what her campaign is calling a major foreign policy speech, focused in part "on what she will describe as the threat Trump poses to national security," reported Anne Gearan.
"The speech Thursday in San Diego marks a turning point toward an argument that, by design, has not been as large a part of the primary campaign as Democrats expect it to be in the general election campaign. Although Clinton cast herself as by far the more experienced and qualified person to be commander in chief when campaigning against her rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, she often tried not to feed liberal suspicions that she is a hawk."
Of course, they're not the target audience here. The demographics Clinton is trying to reach, say her backers, include "moderate Republicans and independents...suburban women turned off by Clinton but unwilling to support Trump, and some white men."
Of course, the Clinton team still has to woo liberals somehow. And so a new push is underway, report Abby Phillip and Karen Tumulty:
"Even as Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to insist he can win the Democratic nomination, several prominent liberals have lined up behind front-runner Hillary Clinton in recent days — signaling that the time is now to begin unifying the party to take on Republican Donald Trump.
"In endorsements of Clinton this week, California Gov. Jerry Brown and an influential environmental group, the NRDC Action Fund, argued that Democrats must stop fighting each other over their party’s nomination. Brown wrote in an open letter that Clinton offers the best chance to defeat Trump’s 'dangerous' candidacy, while the fund, a political affiliate of the National Resources Defense Council, wrote that liberal groups must rally around Clinton because Trump’s policies would 'take us back 100 years.'
"Both efforts seemed aimed at bolstering Clinton in California, an enormous liberal state that Clinton could lose next Tuesday even as she is expected to effectively clinch the nomination in other states.
"...Perhaps the biggest sign that a new effort is underway among liberals to begin healing fissures within the party comes from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the heroine of the left. Although Warren still has not endorsed Clinton — and remains the lone Democratic woman in the Senate not to do so — she has stepped up her attacks on Trump, and her advisers have begun communicating regularly with the Clinton campaign.
It's a...sensitive operation. "The effort is a delicate one given the ardor of Sanders’s most steadfast fans — and their insistence that he can still win the nomination. Sanders is already preparing supporters to reject any pronouncements of Clinton as the party’s presumptive nominee next Tuesday, when primary results in New Jersey are expected to bring her total of pledged delegates (those won in nominating contests) and superdelegates (party leaders and elected officials who may back the candidate of their choosing) past the 2,383 she needs to secure the nomination.
"...Democrats had largely accepted that Sanders was unlikely to concede the race until after the last votes are counted June 14, when the final nominating contest will take place in the District of Columbia.
"But the latest rumblings among progressives this week reflect a new level of worry about Clinton’s weaknesses heading into the fall and the need for her to shore up her support in the party’s liberal wing — starting now."
Speaking of progressive rumblings: "At a news conference today, Bernie Sanders revealed that the DNC had actually vetoed his nomination of a key labor ally [to a convention committee], and said he was told not to pick anyone else from the labor movement.
"'What we heard from the DNC was that they did not want representatives of labor unions on the platform-drafting committee,' he said. 'That’s correct.'
"...In an interview Wednesday, DNC platform committee spokeswoman Dana Vickers Shelley confirmed that the DNC had not wanted labor leaders on the platform drafting committee, limiting labor's presence to Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union.
"'Because union leadership was represented on the full platform committee, a decision was made no union leadership would be represented on the platform drafting committee,' said Vickers Shelley. 'That was communicated to the campaigns, and they understood our rationale.'" Since RoseAnn DeMoro, the National Nurses United representative whose nomination was nixed, is calling the DNC's move a "set-up" that "fed into the 'Bernie bro' narrative and meme," it appears the message may have been a bit lost in translation.
BATTLEGROUND UPDATE: GUESSTIMATING THE 'TRUMP EFFECT'
Objectively, given the numbers right now, it is very, very unlikely that Democrats have a shot at taking back the House this year. But unlikely isn't impossible. There's no question the battlefield looks a lot more promising for the party than it did six months ago — the question is whether they can get their troops in place in time to launch a real offensive.
"Republicans are on the verge of formally nominating Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who remains deeply unpopular among minorities, women and younger voters — just the kind of voters Democrats need to win House seats in swing districts," report Ed O'Keefe and Mike DeBonis.
"Democrats have scrambled to convince enough credible, well-funded candidates to enter key races that could flip control of the chamber — and time is fast running out to recruit more.
(Some GOP candidates are facing the 'Trump effect' this year)
"Party leaders in Washington had so written off the idea of retaking the majority that a 'Majority Project' launched last fall was aimed at elections in 2022 — after the next round of congressional redistricting. Trump’s rise to presumptive GOP nominee sparked a scramble in recent months to recruit Democratic candidates, even in some Republican-leaning districts.
"Democratic consultants think that Trump’s rise has, broadly speaking, tilted the House battlefield in their favor by firming up candidates’ chances in battleground districts, allowing resources to be focused on more marginal seats. Trump, they say, has accelerated the party’s 'demographic pivot' into more affluent, better educated, suburban districts. But there are gaping holes that could cost them gains.
"'It’s unlikely that Democrats win back the House, but we can’t completely rule it out,' said Nathan Gonzales, editor of the Rothenberg & Gonzales political report. 'Donald Trump puts enough volatility into the national political environment that we have to keep an open mind to lots of different scenarios.'"
(But not to every campaign scenario. We're pretty sure the only people who think Texas is in play for Hillary Clinton, or California for Donald Trump, are Clinton and Trump themselves. (Actually scratch that. Deep down, they probably don't buy it either.)
—Another Trump fundraiser update: Sean Hannity defended Donald Trump's handling of money raised for veterans; one of those donations went to a group with long ties to the Fox host, reports David Fahrenthold.
—Mark Cuban is questioning whether Trump is actually a billionaire. You'll be hearing a lot more of this attack. Because it's the sort of attack that's seemed to really make an impression this year (not necessarily with voters. With Donald Trump.)
—That didn't last long: Two weeks after their sitdown truce, the Megyn Kelly-Donald Trump accord is showing its first sign of cracking, reports Callum Borchers: "Kelly on Tuesday criticized the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for injecting ethnicity into his complaints about the federal judge presiding over a Trump University lawsuit. (Kelly: "Listen, you can say that there's no merits to the case, and Trump will get his day in court. But to go after the judge as a, quote, 'Mexican' and 'hater' takes it to a different level.") As of this typing, no response yet from Trump.
—A PGA event is abandoning the Trump-owned golf course where the event has been held for the past five decades to move to Mexico, reported the Miami Herald.
—Clinton's campaign announced that it had raised $27 million for her campaign in May and had $42 million cash on hand. (Note: as of this moment, we're still waiting on Sanders and Trump numbers.)
—Over the past three decades, Donald Trump has been involved in about 3,500 lawsuits, reported USA Today. (Yes, that's three thousand, five hundred legal actions, including roughly 1,900 where he or his companies were the plaintiff and 1,300 where he or his companies were the defendant.)
Last night, the judge one of those cases case tried to "re-seal" some of the newly-released Trump University records so they could be redacted. And today, the Trump campaign tried to contain the fallout from the release of the Trump U. "playbook" with a new video featuring testimonials by some former students:
(Conservative Trump critics quickly noted that none of the people in the video actually seemed to be making a living in the real estate industry, the only subject taught at Trump U.)
—The French Revolution is taking shape. There are supporters like Erick Erickson, who wrote today that the hurdles facing a potential independent conservative candidate make his campaign "a nearly insurmountable improbability. And still I would vote for David French or even write him in."
All the normal political rules apply. The conventional wisdom has been right. An underdog can't win. Right?— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 1, 2016
There are skeptics.
And there are those asking "who"? Like, say, Donald Trump's social media manager:
Bill Kristol chooses David French, for Independent Presidential Run. Have you EVER heard of him? #Trump2016— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) May 31, 2016
—Some of Donald Trump's thoughts on the upcoming British vote on European economic integration went viral Wednesday:
Meanwhile, efforts continue to boost his foreign policy cred on a different front: there were fresh reports today that a pre-convention trip to Israel might still be in the works.
—Today we learned: There is a seersucker lobby. Of course there is a seersucker lobby. (Which reminds us of a not-unrelated fun fact: the Senate's dormant Seersucker Thursday tradition made an inexplicable comeback last year.)
National Seersucker Day in the Senate now has a PR firm working on its behalf.— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) June 1, 2016
—Also in #ThisTown: A former Pentagon official didn't like the fact that a neighbor's nanny was parking on his street. So he apparently stole her license plate. Three times. (Even for DC, this story is a deeply weird one.)
—Spotted today in New Jersey, before Clinton headed west:
Which brings us to a campaign #protip...no, scratch that — a life #protip...
Cory Booker: "I hate to contradict Bon Jovi but, dear God, Hillary Clinton you give love a good name"— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 1, 2016
...Don't do that.
YOUR DAILY TRAIL PIT STOP: This, on the other hand, is ok. Probably. If you can't click: It's a video. In which there is dancing, sort of, to celebrate a visit to...New Jersey. (No judgment.)
With Secretary Clinton in Newark. pic.twitter.com/w9Z7Gc482i— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 1, 2016