THE BIG IDEA: Campaigns are supposed to be about the future. It is increasingly obvious that the 2016 election will be all about the past.
-- Donald Trump’s theory of the case is that he must drive Hillary Clinton’s negatives as high as his to win. To accomplish that, he has decided to focus on what he describes as “a range of Clinton-related controversies.” Yesterday he posted a video on Instagram that features Bill smoking a cigar and Hillary laughing over audio of Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey accusing the former president of sexual misconduct.
-- The presumptive Republican nominee has even broached the suicide of White House aide Vincent Foster, something that the conspiracy-minded fever swamps of the Internet continue to claim the Clintons had a hand in. “It’s the one thing with her, whether it’s Whitewater or whether it’s Vince or whether it’s Benghazi. It’s always a mess with Hillary,” Trump told The Post in an interview last week.
Foster’s 1993 death was ruled a suicide by law enforcement and a subsequent federal investigation. Asked about the Foster case, Trump dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics,” Jose A. DelReal and Robert Costa report, “raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.”
Trump called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”
“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide. … I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
Ronald Reagan’s shining city upon a hill, this is not.
-- Leaders in each party seems content to frame 2016 as a choice between the lesser of two evils and a referendum on the character of the other side’s nominee.
A new Roanoke College poll shows Clinton and Trump tied in Virginia at 38 percent. Both candidates have stunningly low favorability ratings: Clinton is viewed positively by 30 percent, compared to 23 percent for Trump. Only one in seven Virginia voters said they would “feel proud” if either candidate was elected president in November. Three in 10 said they would be “disgusted” if Clinton won, compared to 42 percent who said the same of a Trump victory.
-- Clinton’s focus is on using Trump’s history of offensive statements to gin up the Democratic base and the shady elements of his business record to disqualify him in the eyes of independent voters. Her team in Brooklyn continues to amass giant binders of opposition research on the billionaire businessman and may not be able to exhaust all of the hits before November.
The Democratic front-runner showed an increasing willingness to go directly after Trump’s economic record yesterday with a speech in Detroit. “He could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies,” she told a crowd of 3,600 at a union convention. “I mean ask yourself: How could anybody lose money running a casino? Really.”
The Clinton campaign today has press calls, paper statements and messaging events lined up to draw attention to Trump’s statement in 2007 that he was “excited” about the prospect of a housing market crash. It’s a reminder of how much they will try to make this campaign about Trump. (Abby Phillip previews the media blitz.)
-- What’s funny about Trump’s increasing focus on Bill’s sex scandals is how much his tune has changed. Fact Checker Glenn Kessler has an excellent round-up this morning of the many times The Donald defended, praised and expressed sympathy for Clinton as it relates to Monica Lewinsky and other scandals related to his personal misconduct.
- He argued passionately that Clinton should have taken the Fifth, instead of answering questions about his personal life under oath.
- In 1998, he attacked Paula Jones as a loser.
- In 2000, he called Linda Tripp “the personification of evil.”
- As late as 2008, on CNN, Trump argued that Clinton should never have been impeached and that he got into trouble over “something that was totally unimportant.” He said in the same interview that George W. Bush should be impeached for going into Iraq.
- “Trump even suggested that Americans would have been more forgiving if Clinton has slept with more beautiful women,” Kessler notes.
-- Trump's focus on descending into the mud, instead of trying to offer an uplifting vision for where he wants to take the country, is deeply dispiriting for intellectually-honest conservative thought leaders. Here are three fresh examples:
From a veteran of the past three Republican White Houses:
It's only May & Trump is invoking death of Vince Foster ("very fishy"). Predictable, tiresome, kooky. Rs must be so proud of their nominee.— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) May 24, 2016
“As a leader, Trump has succeeded by appealing to stereotypes and ugly hatreds that most American leaders have struggled to repress and contain,” Michael Gerson, George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, writes in his column for today’s Post. “His political universe consists of deceptive experts, of scheming, of criminal Mexicans, of lying politicians and bureaucrats and of disloyal Muslims. Asked to repudiate David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, Trump hesitated, later claiming a ‘bad earpiece.’ Asked to repudiate the vicious anti-Semitism of some of his followers, Trump responded, ‘I don’t have a message to the fans.’ … This is not flirting with the fringes; it is French-kissing them. Every Republican official endorsing Trump should know: This is the company he keeps. This is the company you now keep.”
"If the Republican Party wants to go in his direction, I guess I’m not a Republican anymore,” Erick Erickson tells Yahoo’s Katie Couric. “Republicans tell me all the time I need to get in line. … I never signed a party oath. … My kids look at Donald Trump and they’re appalled…I don’t want to look at my kids and explain this is the way that the President of the United States behaves. There is a real character issue with Donald Trump that I think disqualifies him from being President.”
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Senior TSA executive ousted. From Ashley Halsey III: “The chief of the Transportation Security Administration’s key intelligence division has been replaced. TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger defended intelligence chief Kelly Hoggan … on Capitol Hill on May 12. On Monday, he announced in a memo to TSA staff that Hoggan had been replaced. Though TSA is best known for the blue-shirted security officers that staff its airport checkpoints, the unseen side of the 60,000 member agency is a vast intelligence network that interacts with other federal intelligence agencies in an effort to protect the nation’s transportation system. The criticism of Hoggan by three whistleblowers … focused on the fact that he had no prior experience in the intelligence arena, that he played a role in punitive reassignments of whistleblowers and that he received $90,000 in bonus pay for his TSA work.”
-- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is under federal investigation. From Matt Zapotosky: Federal prosecutors are investigating campaign contributions to McAuliffe and what they consider to be suspicious personal finances, as part of a public integrity probe that has lasted for more than a year, according to two officials familiar with the inquiry. "Justice Department officials would not confirm or deny the investigation. Many details, including what prompted it, remain unclear, and one official said there is skepticism among prosecutors about whether it will lead to charges. That official said investigators have been scrutinizing McAuliffe’s finances — including personal bank records, tax returns and public disclosure forms that date back many years — and are interested in foreign sources of income."
- The Post's sources say the inquiry includes McAuliffe’s time on the board of the Clinton Foundation, but neither the foundation nor Hillary Clinton is a target of the probe.
- CNN, who first reported the probe, said investigators are interested in a $120,000 donation from Chinese businessman Wang Wenlian, made through his U.S. businesses. "Wang is a donor to both McAuliffe and the foundation," Zapotosky reports. "West Legend Co., the New Jersey affiliate of Rilin Enterprises, a Chinese firm led by Wang, gave $120,000 to McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign and inauguration. His $2 million pledge to the foundation drew attention this year, first from CBS News and then other outlets, because of his connections to the Chinese government — both as a member of the National People’s Congress and as a contractor entrusted to build China’s embassies. ... Wang’s companies ship soybeans through Virginia ports."
- Statement from McAuliffe lawyer Marc Elias: “Neither the Governor nor his former campaign has knowledge of this matter [and] contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful. The Governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it.”
- "The McAuliffe probe is being conducted at least in part by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia, which last year won a conviction against former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on public corruption charges."
-- A scathing congressional report details a troubling pattern of deception by the National Football League: “While the NFL pledged money, held news conferences and issued media releases about its commitment to player health, safety and concussion research, the league also was engaged in a campaign to steer money away from a prominent Boston University researcher and attempted to redirect it to members of its own committee on brain injuries,” Rick Maese reports. That’s one of several takeaways from a 91-page report issued by Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The report charges league officials with trying to influence a major U.S. government research study on football and brain disease after agreeing to an unconditional donation to fund the research: “The report found the NFL’s actions fit a long-standing pattern of attempts to influence the scientific understanding of the consequences of repeated head trauma.’ The NFL attempted to use its ‘unrestricted gift’ as leverage to steer funding away from one of its critics,’ the report stated.” Read the full report here.
GET SMART FAST:
- A Baltimore judge acquitted officer Edward Nero of all criminal charges related to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Nero is the second of six officers to face trial on charges related to Gray’s arrest and death, which prompted riots. The first officer’s trial ended in a hung jury.(Joe Heim and Rachel Weiner)
- In Austria, the Far Right candidate often compared to Trump wound up narrowly losing the presidential election after the absentee ballots were counted. (Anthony Faiola)
- Bayer, the pharmaceutical company, offered to buy Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, potentially generating a giant agrochemicals company with a hand in everything from genetically modified seeds and pesticides to antibiotics. (Renae Merle)
- The Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to Virginia’s redistricting plan, leaving in place a lower court’s decision that creates the possibility of electing a second black U.S. House member from the commonwealth. (Robert Barnes)
- The justices also ruled, 7-1, in favor of a Georgia death row inmate, ordering a new trial for the man after concluding that prosecutors deliberately excluded African Americans from the jury pool. (Robert Barnes)
- China warned Obama “not to spark a fire in Asia” after he announced the lifting of a longstanding embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam. “The U.S. and Vietnam must not spark a ‘regional tinderbox,’ the Communist Party mouthpiece, China Daily, warned in an editorial Tuesday, noting concerns that Obama’s move was meant to ‘curb the rise of China.’” (Simon Denyer)
- Three members of Spain’s Olympic sailing team were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, sparking worries over security in the area less than three months before this summer’s games. (Global Post)
- A wave of coordinated bombings from ISIS killed at least 78 in Syria. The attacks, which targeted strongholds of President Bashar al-Assad, marked the worst violence yet in the country's coastal region. (Liz Sly)
- A United Nations report says damage to the planet is happening more rapidly than previously understood, citing air pollution, water scarcity and climate change. (Chris Mooney)
- The Supreme Court again declined to hear Rod Blagojevich’s appeal of his corruption convictions, refusing without comment a long-shot petition that begged for another look at the ex-Illinois governor’s case. (Reuters)
- Scientists are using a rare breed of sheep from Biblical times to develop a treatments aimed at Tay-Sachs disease. (Eric Velasco)
- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is again appealing his four-game suspension for the “Deflategate” scandal, petitioning the Second Circuit to hear his case en banc. (Cindy Boren)
- Actress Angelina Jolie will be a guest lecturer at the London School of Economics, as part of a master’s program set to begin this fall. (New York Times)
- Archaeologists uncovered remains of an ancient brewery in China's Central Plain, suggesting the Chinese were making barley beer with fairly advanced techniques as early as 3400 B.C. (NPR)
- Indian officials are seeking to extradite a species of excessively defecating flying bugs they blame for turning the Taj Mahal green. (Katie Mettler)
-- Significant: Harry Reid said he would “yell and scream” to stop Hillary from choosing Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown as her running-mate. The retiring senator does not want Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker or Ohio Gov. John Kasich to pick their replacement. “If we have a Republican governor in any of those states, the answer is not only no, but HELL NO," the Senate Minority Leader told MSNBC's Joy Reid. "I would do whatever I can, and most of my Democratic colleagues would say the same thing." Reid cited the lesson of Lloyd Bentsen, the Democratic senator from Texas and 1988 vice presidential nominee, who resigned his seat to become Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary in 1993. "We have never recovered from that," Reid said. "Had we not gone along with that, we could still have a Democratic senator from Texas. So I would yell and scream to stop that!"
-- ALARMING: A 39-year-old woman was raped at knifepoint on a moving Red Line train just before 10 a.m., Dan Morse reports. The suspect, John Prentice Hicks, 39, of Northeast Washington, had his first court appearance yesterday. Authorities say, on April 12, he approached a seated passenger aboard a northbound Red Line train in the Wheaton¬Glenmont area of Montgomery County and began speaking to her. He allegedly pulled out a knife, forced her to a different part of the car, raped her, then ordered her to another area of the car, and forced her to perform a sex act. They apprehended the perp, in part, because he used a SmarTrip card.
-- In other WMATA news, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will appoint a special adviser for oversight. DOT general counsel Kathryn Thomson, who was expected to leave the department soon, will instead stay on and focus solely on fixing the capital region’s troubled transit system. (Lori Aratani)
-- As D.C. struggles to get its act together, London just announced that the Tube will now begin operating 24 hours a day this summer. (Karla Adam)
THE DNC MAKES A CONCESSION TO SANDERS:
-- Bernie will get more slots on the platform-writing committee in Philadelphia. Under a new agreement, Anne Gearan reports, Sanders will appoint five of 15 members, Clinton six, and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will name four. DNC officials say it will give the senator an “unprecedented” say over the official policies of the Democratic Party. Under the bylaws, DWS is technically allowed to pick all the members of the committee.
Sanders’s immediately appointed two controversial figures: James Zogby, a pro-Palestinian activist who serves as president of the Arab-American Institute in Washington and a frequent commentator on Arab-Israeli issues; and Cornel West, a liberal author and racial justice activist who is one of Obama’s highest-profile African American critics.
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- Trump will today headline his first official fundraiser in Albuquerque, kicking off an aggressive push to raise $1 billion for the general election. From Matea Gold: The event, which requires a $10,000 donation and is being hosted in conjunction with the RNC, is being hosted by Kevin R. Daniels, the owner of a funeral services company and a prominent GOP donor. From ABQ, Trump heads to Los Angeles, where investor Thomas Barrack Jr. is hosting a high-priced fundraiser at his home.
-- Out of his depth --> Trump didn't know what LNG was during a sit-down with a coal executive. After meeting with The Donald last week, a leading coal baron praised Trump as “good for coal." Speaking at an industry conference yesterday in Virginia, Robert Murray sid Trump reassured him that he will surround himself with industry-friendly advisers if he's in the White House. “During the meeting, Murray said Trump asked him about numerous facets of U.S. energy policy," according to the write-up in a trade publication called SNL:
- "At one point, Murray said he would suggest lifting obstacles to opening liquefied natural gas, or LNG, export facilities to reduce the supply glut of natural gas in the country. He said that Trump was agreeable with the idea, but then had a question. ‘What's LNG?’ Murray said Trump asked.”
- “He’s all we got,” Murray added of Trump, calling him “the horse to ride.”
-- Clean Up on Aisle 7 --> Trump clarified his position on allowing guns in schools after his disastrous appearance on Fox News Sunday. He called up CNN last night to say that only trained teachers or “school resource officers” should be the ones carrying guns. His remarks come after Clinton accused Trump of wanting to "mandate that every school in America allow guns in classrooms." Trump also backed away from his call to eliminate all gun free zones in schools, saying they would only be eliminated “in some cases.”
-- Does he believe anything he says? --> “Trump acknowledges climate change — at his golf course." From Politico's Ben Schreckinger: “Trump says he is ‘not a big believer in global warming.’ He has called it ‘a total hoax,’ ‘bullshit’ and ‘pseudoscience.’ But he is also trying to build a sea wall designed to protect one of his golf courses from ‘global warming and its effects.’ The New York billionaire is applying for permission to erect a coastal protection works to prevent erosion at his seaside golf resort, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, in County Clare. A permit application for the wall, filed by Trump International ... explicitly cites global warming and its consequences — increased erosion due to rising sea levels and extreme weather this century — as a chief justification for building the structure.”
-- Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he had a “good meeting” with Trump, though he downplayed speculation that he could be chosen as his running mate. "We had never talked except on the phone," Corker said on CNN after yesterday morning's sitdown. "It was more of a get-to-know-each-other kind of meeting.” Corker last month praised Trump's foreign policy speech.
-- Trump also met privately with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a major GOP donor, in an effort to expand his fundraising apparatus. “Woody will support me. He’s a terrific guy, he’s been a friend of mine a long time," Trump told the New York Times.
-- “Trump Boasts of Rapport With Wall St., but the Feeling Is Not Quite Mutual.” From the New York Times’s Susanne Craig: By Trump’s reckoning, his relationship with Wall Street could not be better. “They are dying to do business with me,” he says. “Still, an examination of financial records and interviews show Mr. Trump’s relationship with the financial industry is far more nuanced than he suggests. While some bankers said they had a personal relationship with Mr. Trump, a majority … said they had never met him, and either had not done business with him or would not do so because of past dealings that did not end well. Mr. Trump’s complicated history with Wall Street goes back to the early 1990s, when three of his casinos ran into financial trouble … Creditors often ended up with pennies on the dollar, and the failures soured Mr. Trump’s relationship with a number of banks. At one point, Mr. Trump was responsible for about $900 million personally … Several bankers on Wall Street say they are simply not willing to take on what they almost uniformly referred to as ‘Donald risk.’”
This is our favorite scene in the Times piece:
-- Help us find Trump’s money: Last week, Trump’s campaign told my colleague David Fahrenthold that Trump’s famous $6 million fundraiser for veterans had not actually raised $6 million. The real number was more like $4.5 million. But what about the $1 million that Trump had pledged to give out of his own pocket? The Trump campaign said Trump had already given the money out. But they wouldn’t say when, or to whom. Fahrenthold is trying to confirm that Trump actually *did* make those donations. So, to all our readers who work at veterans’ charities – or know people who do – have you heard of any vets’ group that actually got a personal check from Trump himself? Even if the gift was just for $1, David wants to talk to you. He’s at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazingly, with all of the money I have raised for the vets, I have got nothing but bad publicity from the dishonest and disgusting media.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2016
-- Trump polls miserably among Asian Americans. Only 19 percent of Asian-Americans view Trump favorably in a new national survey from groups in the community, compared to 61 percent who view him unfavorably. Clinton, meanwhile, is viewed more favorably than any of her opponents, with a 62 percent approval rating among the group. (AAVS)
-- All but a handful of House Democrats have signed a letter calling on Speaker Paul Ryan to disband the special fetal-tissue panel. They argue the probe is jeopardizing “the integrity of the House and the safety of Americans.” From Mike DeBonis: “The letter represents a new salvo in the partisan warfare over the Select Investigative Panel established in October in response to a series of undercover videos produced by anti-abortion activists. All but two Democrats voted against creating the panel, and Democratic members of the committee have called since then on several occasions for its dissolution. The new letter, signed by 178 of 188 House Democrats, raises the protests to a new level, asking Ryan for a written response to their accusations of harassment, intimidation and McCarthyism on the part of the panel’s Republican members and staff.” More in the abortion wars:
- A federal judge in Cincinnati temporarily blocked implementation of an Ohio law that would defund 28 Planned Parenthood clinics, saying the measure would deprive “thousands of Ohioans of high-quality, affordable health care services and education programs." (Reuters)
- Authorities evacuated a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sarasota, Fla., after cleaning chemicals sickened several people. Seven are being treated at a local hospital. (Mark Berman)
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- Clinton formally declined an invitation to participate in a Fox News debate against Sanders before the California primary. “We believe that Hillary Clinton's time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” a spokeswoman said in a statement last night.
Bernie attacked her for it at a rally last night: “A number of months ago our campaign and her campaign reached an agreement on a number of debates, including one here in California,” Sanders said at a rally. He called it “insulting to the people of California – our largest state – that she is not prepared to have a discussion with me about how we address the major crises we face.”
-- Sanders is leading the liberal fight against Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring bill, breaking with the Obama administration to condemn the bipartisan measure. From Mike DeBonis: Sanders criticized the latest version of the bill, saying the federal oversight board created under the legislation would 'undercut the elected government of Puerto Rico' and could allow bondholders to remain whole as islanders bear the brunt of fiscal austerity. 'The billionaire hedge fund managers on Wall Street cannot get a 100 percent return on their bonds while workers, senior citizens and children are punished,' said Sanders, who campaigned in Puerto Rico last week. 'Wall Street vulture capitalists must not be allowed to get it all.'" It's likely to pass anyway ... even Sanders sympathizers in Congress argue that this is the best deal they could get from a Republican majority.
GAFFE OF THE DAY:
-- VA secretary Robert McDonald compared the length of time veterans wait to receive health care to the length of time people wait for rides at Disneyland. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?” he told reporters at a breakfast yesterday morning. Monday. "What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” (Lisa Rein)
The comment drew swift condemnation from Republicans and veteran service organizations. Later in the day, Democrats began to turn on McDonald: Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the party’s nominee for Senate in Illinois and a former VA official, put out a blistering statement at 8:30 p.m. last night. “Comparing abhorrent wait times to a trip to Disneyland is unbelievably tone-deaf and hurtful to American heroes desperately in need of care,” said Duckworth, noting that she receives her own health care at a VA hospital. “Our troops didn't make us wait before putting their lives at risk to keep us safe, and it is simply not acceptable for the VA to make them wait for the care they have earned.”
HRC also broke with McDonald: “We owe our veterans more than the excessive wait times we’ve seen,” spokesman Brian Fallon said on Bloomberg TV, when asked about the Disneyland comment.
Republicans had a field day:
Appalled & outraged that VA Sec would make the callous comparison btwn brave vets waiting for care & Disneyland tourists waiting in line— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) May 23, 2016
Because veterans aren't waiting for health care at Space Mountain. https://t.co/g2ozycmTxK— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 23, 2016
Maybe the VA could introduce Fastpasses?— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) May 23, 2016
-- “Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to entice dozens of people fired by his administration to agree not to sue him or the agency, a practice that may run afoul of a ban on severance pay for state workers," the Houston Chronicle's Brian M. Rosenthal reports. "Bush, a first-term Republican (Jeb's son), has directed the General Land Office to keep at least 40 people on the payroll for as long as five months after ending their employment … The ex-staffers did not have to use vacation time and, in fact, continued to accrue more time for as long as they were on the payroll. In return, they agreed in writing not to sue the agency or discuss the deal. Many of the recipients were top aides to former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson who were fired during an agency ‘reboot’ in which Bush replaced more than 100 employees.” Such separation arrangements are not allowed in the Texas government, where there is no employee severance.
-- More Lone Star State intrigue: Ted Cruz recorded a phone pitch for state Senate candidate Bryan Hughes, making a rare foray into the local race. In the 30-second robocall, Cruz urges voters to cast ballots for Hughes in Senate District 1, where he is vying with a fellow state representative to replace a retiring state senator. (Texas Tribune)
-- “China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works,” by Simon Denyer: “First there was the Berlin Wall. Now there is the Great Firewall of China, not a physical barrier preventing people from leaving, but a virtual one, preventing information harmful to the Communist Party from entering the country. Just as one fell, so will the other be eventually dismantled, because information, like people, cannot be held back forever. Or so the argument goes. But try telling that to Beijing. Far from knocking down the world’s largest system of censorship, China in fact is moving ever more confidently in the opposite direction, strengthening the wall’s legal foundations, closing breaches and reinforcing its control … China is trumpeting its vision of ‘Internet sovereignty’ as a model for the world and is moving to make it a legal reality at home. At the same time — confounding Western skeptics — the Internet is nonetheless thriving in China, with nearly 700 million users, putting almost 1 in 4 of the world’s online population behind the Great Firewall.”
-- “Love in the time of climate change: Grizzlies and polar bears are now mating,” by Adam Popescu: “Most Alaskans and Canadians have a bear story — tales of fearsome grizzlies, even polar bears. But a mix of the two? They’re known as pizzlies or grolars, and they’re a fusion of the Arctic white bear and their brown cousins. It’s a blend that’s been turning up more and more in parts of Alaska and Western Canada. Textbooks say these two species aren’t supposed to inhabit the same environments. But as the Arctic warms, sea ice is shrinking and the tundra is expanding. And the bears’ disparate populations are meeting, mating and creating a new breed that’s capable of reproducing. ... And what may be most surprising about this, researchers say, is the role interbreeding plays in the futures of endangered species — or, as the case may be with polar bears, accelerating their end.”
-- “Young Muslim American women try to succeed in politics in ways their fathers couldn’t,” by Pamela Constable: “When Raaheela Ahmed knocks on doors to meet potential voters, she covers her black headscarf with a floppy hat so people won’t be distracted from what she has to say. Poised and self-confident at 22, Ahmed is one of a group of young Muslim women, all children of immigrants, who are entering electoral politics in the Maryland suburbs. Eager to help counter the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been part of the 2016 presidential contest, they say they feel emboldened by their American upbringing and the encouragement of male Muslim mentors … [Hamza] Khan, a Pakistani American, grew up in Montgomery County and said the Muslim elite there has long been dominated by South Asian entrepreneurs. He is actively working to open the political arena to other Muslim groups, and especially to women. ‘We have nearly 100,000 Muslims in the county … but their political influence is zero,’ he said. ‘Few of them have faith in the democratic process, and many come from patriarchal societies. This is a battle to empower Muslim women.’”
-- “‘That is not the son I raised’: How a British citizen became one of the most notorious members of ISIS,” by Adam Goldman and Souad Mekhennet: “The last member of the group of British jailers who supervised the torture and killing of Western hostages held by the Islamic State has been identified as a 27-year-old Londoner [El Shafee Elsheikh,] who traveled to Syria in 2012.” Elsheikh’s mother, Maha Elgizouli, said for most of his life, her son was a regular Londoner. When Elsheikh was 21 he an Ethiopian woman but reportedly became frustrated when she was unable to move to London to be with him. The following year, Elgizouli started to notice changes in her son after a friend introduced him to the teachings of a radical West London imam. She once caught him watching a video of the imam espousing virtues of dying in the name of God. “Shafee, you want to go and be a dead Muslim?” She asked. “No mummy,” he replied. Elgizouli said she later confronted the imam, slapping him in the face. “What have you done to my son?” she asked.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Some perspective from one of the judges on Trump's Supreme Court shortlist:
Okay, so at least we're not Kosovo.— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) May 24, 2016
As news broke about a federal investigation into Terry McAuliffe, here is a reminder of his past association with Trump:
A sample of reaction to the Macker news:
I'd say Terry is totally out for Veep.— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 23, 2016
Just what the Clintons needed about now! FBI, Macker & CGI.— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) May 23, 2016
That sound you hear is Obamaworld eye-rolling.https://t.co/lQ4SpTeSqq
With the blurring of gender lines in public accommodations, perhaps Terry McAuliffe & Hillary would be allowed to share a prison cell.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) May 23, 2016
Terry McAuliffe will probably go down for having failed to collect DC hotel tax when he was renting out the Lincoln Bedroom.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 23, 2016
Response to Officer Nero's acquittal in Baltimore. From a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement:
#FreddieGray should be alive today.— deray mckesson (@deray) May 23, 2016
From the city's congressman:
Following Mr. Gray’s death, the citizens of Baltimore demanded justice & it is clear that the wheels of justice are turning.— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) May 23, 2016
From the family:
Coming out of courthouse, #FreddieGray's twin sister Fredericka visibly upset. She declined to comment.— Kevin Rector (@RectorSun) May 23, 2016
Tessa Hill-Aston of NAACP calming down Westley West, who was part of the group pic.twitter.com/fS9I6Rq8va— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) May 23, 2016
From the police union:
Statement regarding acquittal of BPD Officer Edward Nero pic.twitter.com/JK4RGXavKE— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) May 23, 2016
Protesters shouted at Nero's family:
Stuart Rothenberg left Roll Call to start his own web site:
I have terminated my 24 year relationship with Roll Call. Moving my column to https://t.co/r0QfpG5D07. New column coming tomorrow.— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) May 23, 2016
President Obama dined with Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam. The two shared a meal as part of an episode for Bourdain’s show, which will air on CNN in September. (David Nakamura has more.)
Total cost of bun Cha dinner with the President: $6.00 . I picked up the check . #Hanoi— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) May 23, 2016
Obama also fed fish in Hanoi:
Conservatives are not impressed with Obama's Vietnam trip:
Obama in Vietnam, then at Hiroshima. Next--Richmond.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) May 23, 2016
@jpodhoretz or Verdun— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) May 23, 2016
Monday's thoughts on the #NeverTrump movement -- is it like Game of Thrones?
For a movement that is small, out of touch, and not influential, Never Trump sure gets a lot of ink spilled about it.— Mike Warren (@MichaelRWarren) May 23, 2016
Three women lawmakers found themselves on the same flight:
Barbara Lee posted a beautiful photo of the San Francisco Bay:
Twitter had questions about this photo of Marco Rubio:
Roy Cooper, running for N.C. governor, is selling this T-shirt on his swag shop:
omg whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy pic.twitter.com/7PEunY4cTX— Fiddler (@cFidd) May 23, 2016
Speaking of shirts, if you want to show support for Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld, here's your chance:
Finally, this is the oldest known photo of the Capitol:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“The Legal System Uses an Algorithm to Predict If People Might Be Future Criminals. It's Biased Against Blacks.” From Mother Jones: Risk assessment “scores” are used to inform decisions about who can be set free at every stage of the criminal justice system – and they’re becoming increasingly common. The Justice Department now encourages their use ... And a landmark sentencing reform bill pending in Congress would mandate the use of such assessments in federal prisons. But in 2014, Eric Holder warned the risk scores might be injecting bias into the courts, citing concerns that ‘they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.'”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Black Market Ride-Sharing Explodes In Austin After Voters Drive Out Uber And Lyft,” from The Federalist: “Almost as soon as Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin two weeks ago, a black market for unregulated ride-sharing emerged to meet the huge demand for transportation here. Tens of thousands of riders and drivers are now connecting through Facebook and Craigslist, sidestepping onerous city regulations passed late last year aimed at traditional ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft that required drivers to be fingerprinted … If that weren’t absurd enough, the city’s transportation department recently floated the idea of deregulating the local taxi cab industry to ‘level the playing field’ with ridesharing companies.”
On the campaign trail: Here's the rundown:
- Clinton: Los Angeles, Commerce, Riverside, Calif.
- Sanders: Anaheim, Riverside, San Bernardino, Calif.
- Trump: Albuquerque, N.M.
At the White House: President Obama is in Vietnam. Vice President Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Dacian Julien Ciolos of Romania. In the afternoon, Biden speaks at the convening of the the White House Gun Violence Prevention task force.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 10 a.m.
Driving the day on the House side is a Judiciary Committee hearing about whether to impeach the head of the IRS: The only two witnesses are Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has led the charge for impeachment, and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a Senate candidate. Democrats plan to make the case that this is a waste of time and would require a full-blown investigation that could not come close to wrapping up by the end of this session of Congress, Lisa Rein previews. Republicans have introduced four articles of impeachment against Commissioner John Koskinen. "The Senate has shown no appetite to convict Koskinen if he were impeached," Rein notes. "Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) made that clear last week.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’m not going to — I’m not a betting man.” – Paul Ryan, asked whether he’d bet money on Trump winning (Politico’s Glenn Thrush)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The weather reversal we’ve been waiting for has ARRIVED! The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Morning clouds should give way to mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures this afternoon, peaking in the upper 70s to low 80s. Dew points drop into the lower 50s which translates into comfortably low humidity, and will allow things to dry out.”
But why has it been so darn awful out lately? "So far this May, D.C. has had a record number of rainy days (19 of 23) and the coolest high temperatures since 1882. This May’s afternoon highs are running an incredible 15 degrees cooler than last May’s. And we still haven’t hit 80 degrees," Jason Samenow reports. "There’s a very simple explanation. The storm track has been stuck over the Mid-Atlantic, continuously cycling weather system after weather system through the region — like a conveyor belt."
This animation shows the jet stream taking different shapes and forms this May, but almost always flowing over the D.C. area:
-- The Nationals lost to the New York Mets 7-1.
-- Republican lawmakers in Virginia filed a legal challenge to Gov. McAuliffe’s sweeping order that restores voting rights to more than 200,000 felons. The case contends that McAuliffe’s executive action exceeded his authority by reinstating ex-cons and asks that the state reverse the decision before November’s election. (Laura Vozzella)
-- The University of Maryland is investigating whether campus police used excessive force after officers used pepper spray to break up a college graduation party made up of predominantly black students. (Susan Svrluga)
-- Four families of Latino immigrants are suing their landlord after he threatened to evict anyone who is an undocumented immigrant. Advocates said the federal suit could set a national precedent in fair-housing law. (Patricia Sullivan)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Priorities USA hammered Trump for refusing to release his tax returns:
Funny or Die revamped Senate Republicans' Wes Anderson spoof with text highlighting members' conservative views. Watch it here.
Bill Clinton got heckled:
John Oliver talked about 2016 primaries and caucuses (warning: adult language, content):
John Kerry greeted the public in Hanoi:
Watch Paul Ryan's commencement speech at Carthage College:
Here are six of the biggest moments from the Billboard Music Awards: